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DANCE NATION to Open at Temple Theater in September

Dance Nation is a hilarious, touching, and sometimes unsettling journey designed to bring back and validate the flood of feelings that adolescence drives in all of us.

DANCE NATION to Open at Temple Theater in September

Eat. Sleep. Dance. Win. For one Liverpool, Ohio dance team, all the terror, confidence, paradox, uncertainty and awkwardness of pre-adolescence is channeled into a powerful desire: Dance. Set in the mid-90s, this darkly satirical Pulitzer Prize nominated play by Clare Barron follows a group of preteen dance students as they prepare for competition, their longing to feel connected and powerful simmering alongside the overwhelming wants and needs associated with the mysteries of growing up.

DANCE NATION will be performed live and in person from September 22 to October 2, 2022, at Tomlinson Theater, 1301 W. Norris St., Philadelphia, PA. Tickets can be purchased through this ticketing link.

Do the raw emotions that possessed your adolescent self continue to haunt your adult life? Playwright Clare Barron asks performers and audiences to consider this a "ghost play," where 13-year-old characters are haunted by the specters of the grown-ups they will become. While her casting notes invite actors of all ages to fill the roles, director Suli Holum shares that she loves the "incredible power" that comes in casting college-aged actors, each relatively fresh from the reeling feeling that the characters experience.

"It creates a particular bond in the ensemble," Holum says, "and more than anything, it's a thrill to direct this play in this setting because Clare has written a play that everyone on the team is so excited to be doing, with a perfect balance of humor, lyricism and deep emotional life." Holum says Barron's choice to present characters existing in the liminal space between childhood and adulthood allows her to tell a universal story about belonging, and how we rely on both birth and chosen families to support us as we figure out who we are. It's something that is not unique to adolescence and yet somehow never felt more keenly than during that tumultuous time.

One critical piece of support in the rehearsal room is intimacy coordinator Eli Lynn, who Holum says is an "absolutely essential" support for her cast and creative team. Lynn, who also works as a fight director, collaborates with directors and actors to choreograph safe and believable moments of intimacy or vulnerability on stage, while cultivating an environment that allows artists to advocate for themselves instead of feeling pressured to push through potential trauma or harm.

DANCE NATION is a hilarious, touching, and sometimes unsettling journey designed to bring back and validate the flood of feelings that adolescence drives in all of us.

The play will be presented with ASL interpretation during the 7:30 performance on Saturday, Oct 1.

Content Warning: DANCE NATION includes strong language, characters engaged in self-touch, characters in various states of undress, and graphic discussion of genitalia and bodies. It also includes discussions of rape and suicide.

Temple University is currently hosting events in compliance with regional, city-wide and CDC guidelines, and is following the city of Philadelphia's Aug. 13, 2021 mandate requiring full vaccination at higher education institutions for all students, staff, faculty and contractors (unless specifically exempt). We encourage audience members to be masked, and recommend audiences be prepared for the possibility of mandatory masking if protocols change. Visit the university's COVID-19 Resource Hub, or check Temple Theaters' website or social media accounts for updates before attending your performance.

Production Team

Director: Suli Holum

Scenic Designer: Andrew Robinson

Costume Designer: Becky Wetzel

Lighting Designer: Liam Schaffer

Sound Designer: Liz Filios

Props Master: Shannon O'Brien

Intimacy Coordinator: Eli Lynn

Stage Manager: Miranda Watkins

Cast

Dance Teacher Pat: Christopher Berbano

Maeve: Emily Bowden

Amina: Eun Bi Hahm

Zuzu: Journee Lutz

Ashlee: Lysia Mogford

Connie: Maria Mohajir

Luke: Teo Nouvé

Sofia: Sophie Stringer

Moms/Vanessa: Ashley Sydnor

Understudies: Chris Foye (Amina), Prior Mendoza (Ashlee), Grace Newell (Moms/Vanessa), Ellie Racunas (Sofia), Evan Sleppy (Dance Teacher Pat), Brianna Tucker (Maeve), Gabriella Velasquez (Zuzu), Jayson Williams (Luke)


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