Imagine a hybrid of A Chorus Line, Fame and any “R” rated coming of age show/movie with middle-schoolers and you would have something similar to TheatreLab’s production of DANCE NATION by Clare Barron. The play sort of jumps in and out of the minds and lives of pre-pubescents that make up a competitive dance team. There is a lot of confusion, discussion and acting out surrounding sex, ability and what the future holds.
Maggie Roop deftly takes this well-chosen cast and brings the essence of tween-hood to life with raunchy realness. The cast, like the tweens they portray, see-saws easily from child-like innocence to adults as the script demands. Choreographer, Nicole Morris-Anastasi (who also plays Sophia) is able to make a big show move beautifully in this little space- an impressive feat all by itself.
I loved it.
And if you like in-your-face, cutting edge theatre you will too.
Side note: Everything I have seen at TheatreLab this season has exceeded my expectations. This company has grown into a artistic tour de force in Richmond, delivering thought provoking theatre at its best. It deserves attention. If you have yet to see a play there- get online and buy some tickets already.