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DANCE NATION Announced At Rec Room

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Dance Nation is the 2017 winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the largest and oldest international playwriting prize for women writers.

Rec Room Arts will begin the 2022 season with the Houston premiere of Dance Nation, Clare Barron's award-winning play about pre-teen competitive dancers and the burden of adolescence. Sophia Watt will direct the production, with choreography by Skye Bronfenbrenner. Preview performances begin January 20, with an official opening on Saturday, January 22. Performances will run through February 5.

Dance Nation is the 2017 winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the largest and oldest international playwriting prize for women writers. In addition, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was founded in Houston by Houstonians. "I'm thrilled that Rec Room is able to present a winner of the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in the hometown of the prize," said Matt Hune. Dance Nation is also a 2019 Pulitzer Prize Finalist and winner of the 2015 Relentless Award. "After the long hiatus it is exhilarating to be back in rehearsal with this outstanding cast rehearsing such an ambitious, raucous, and ferocious show," said Sophia Watt.

"This is a play about thirteen-year-old girls," described Clare Barron. "It's also a play about women, ambition, and desire. I wanted to write this play because I wanted to present a different picture of teenage girls onstage. One where trauma wasn't the central narrative. One where 'being the best' was."

The complete cast of Dance Nation features actors of all ages portraying adolescent girls and includes Callina Anderson (Zuzu), Elizabeth Marshall Black (Dance Mom), Lisa Fairchild (Sofia), Elizabeth Keel (Mave), Anjana Menon (Connie), Sophia Mobbs (Amina), and Shannon Uphold (Ashlee). Avery Vonn Kenyatta (Luke) and Greg Cote (Luke) are also in the cast.

Dance Nation will feature scenic and lighting design by Stefan Azizi, costume design by Juan Saracay, and sound design by Gage Baker. Madison Sutton is the production stage manager.

Rec Room Arts is committed to welcome audiences back to its beloved downtown home. To play our part in helping to protect everyone as we return, Rec Room has made renovations and upgrades to the bar, lobby, and theatre. In addition, proof of complete vaccination and negative weekly COVID-19 tests will be required for all artists and staff. So long as COVID-19 cases continue to transmit, audiences will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon entry. A complete vaccination means having received a final FDA or WHO vaccination dose at least 14 days before the performance date. Face masks will be required inside the building except when actively eating or drinking. All policies are subject to change and are dependent on CDC guidance.


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