Published: 2/15/2022 3:29:30 PM
Modified: 2/15/2022 3:27:36 PM
Theatre KAPOW continues its 14th season and return to the stage with the New Hampshire premiere of Clare Barron’s Pulitzer Prize-finalist play, Dance Nation. The show will be performed at two venues: Bank of New Hampshire Stage in Concord from Feb. 18 through 20, and the Derry Opera House on Feb. 25 and 26.
Somewhere in America, an army of pre-teen, competitive dancers plots to unleash their power and take over the world. But in this unapologetically candid portrayal of the mysteries of adolescence, these young dancers have more than choreography on their minds. Each plié and jeté puts them one step further from childhood and one step closer to discovering their own identities amidst a raucous pageant of ferocious ambition. A refreshingly unorthodox play, Clare Barron’s Dance Nation conveys the joy and abandon of dancing, alongside the changes to body and mind of its preteen characters as they peer over the precipice toward adulthood.
“Just reading Dance Nation was like being struck by lightning. It’s bold, intense, and fierce. It’s filled with an adolescent urgency, joy, and terror that truly feels like a force of nature,” said Wanda Strukus, the director. “And layered into all this incredible energy is an irresistible theatrical challenge: the playwright demands that the 13-to-14-year-old competition dancers in the play be played by adult actors – adolescent angst bubbling up inside adult bodies. So the cast and production team and I have undertaken this magnificent project: to create the raging, pre-pubescent, inner inferno of ‘I want my life to start!’ while dancing our legs off, competition-smiling our faces off, and navigating the unpredictable tides of pre-teen relationships: As adults. It’s fantastic!”
To encourage conversation about the themes presented in Dance Nation, KAPOW will host a post-show panel discussion after the Feb. 20 matinee performance. Panelists include Jennifer Thorn; professor of gender studies from Saint Anselm College; Sarah Pilotte, program director at the Crisis Center of Central NH; and a faculty member from Melissa Hoffman Dance Center. The discussion is sponsored by Joan Brodsky and the New Hampshire Dance Collaborative.
Dance Nation features a women-led artistic team and the most diverse cast theatre KAPOW has assembled in its 14 seasons. The ensemble of performers includes Deirdre Bridge, Carey Cahoon, Raphael Campos, Katie Collins, Tajoura Davis, Lali Haines, Gary Locke, Rachael Chapin Longo, and Helen Hy-Yuen Swanson. The show is directed by Wanda Strukus, assistant directed by Heidi Krantz, stage managed by Kayla Williams, and choreographed by Lorraine Chapman. Longtime KAPOW collaborator Tayva Young will be providing the lighting design Barbara Holbrook is working with KAPOW for the first time as costume designer.
Performances are Feb. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage in Concord.
Performances then continue on Feb. 25 and 26 at 7.30 p.m. at the Derry Opera House in Derry.
For the safety and comfort of all who attend our shows, all patrons must present either proof of vaccination (or a recent negative COVID-19 test) and wear a suitable face covering in order to enter the theatre. For tickets or more information, visit tkapow.com.