Discover the Vibrant World of “Dance Nation” by Clare Barron at Silver Spring Stage

Dance Nation, acclaimed by The New York Times as a “glorious” play by “the insanely talented playwright Clare Barron,” was recognized as a finalist in Drama by the Pulitzer Prize committee in 2019. The committee described the play as “a refreshingly unorthodox play” that captures the essence of dancing, while delving into the physical and emotional transformations of its adolescent characters as they navigate the complexities of growing up.

Now, Dance Nation is set to grace the Silver Spring Stage on weekends from March 8th to 24th.

The narrative of Dance Nation revolves around a group of teenage competitive dancers striving for success at the Boogie Down Grand Prix in Tampa Bay. However, beyond the intricacies of choreography, Barron’s play explores themes of ambition and intensity, with a unique twist of having adult actors portray younger characters. 

“The question of how much power we have and what it costs to have it is at the heart of Dance Nation,” said director Lee Blaser. “At times, the girls in this play seem very much in control of their bodies and how they use them in dance performance. In other moments, they are shocked by how much control they don’t have, whether because of the external pressures of a parent or a dance teacher, or because they’re betrayed by something as internal as their own hormones. This tension between what we want for our bodies and what they are capable of is something that we can all relate to, regardless of our age.”

“I wish I had seen a show like this as a much younger woman,” said producer Liz Butterworth. “The way the girls in the show are surprised, delighted, confused, and frightened by their preteen bodies is intensely relatable.”

Tristin Evans, who plays Sofia, said Barron’s decision to have adults play the dancers is “absolutely brilliant. It creates an artistic juxtaposition for both the audience and the actors, where we all get to bear witness to the intense joys, challenges, and unknowns of adolescence while simultaneously celebrating the people that we become as we age into ourselves.”

And it was just “a lot of fun,” said Boneza Valdez Hanchock, who plays Ashlee. “There’s something so liberating about having the opportunity to get in touch with your inner child. It’s a poignant and at times wild coming-of-age story that truly encapsulates the confusion, rage, sadness, fun, and hilarity of being 13.”

“I’m so impressed that Silver Spring Stage is putting on a show like this,” said Butterworth. “It’s honestly rare to see a theatre, community or professional, that truly embodies the values they set upon. Especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion, which is not just limited to casting but also the members of the board, the production teams, and the quality of stories being told throughout the season.”

Tickets for Dance Nation range from $23.25 to $26.25, fees included, and are available for purchase on Silver Spring Stage’s website.

Graphic Courtesy of Silver Spring Stage

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