From the first few minutes of the show, I knew Clare Barron’s new play “Dance Nation” deserved its hype. In an opening scene, a group of dancers stands at attention at the center of their small studio in Liverpool, Ohio; arms straight at their sides, faces frozen in abject terror, waiting for Dance Teacher Pat to tell them to move their bodies. This is a team of 13-year-old competition dancers heading to the Star Power USA competition, vying for a chance to make it to nationals in Tampa, Florida. (Along their way are stops in Akron, Ohio, and the “Boogie Down Grand Prix”). In this scene, a dancer asks to leave briefly to use the bathroom, and flees the stage like she’s committed a crime. “Sorry,” she stammers, and then resumes her post on the dance floor.
“Dance Nation” by Clare Barron. Photograph by Joan Marcus.
The son of a painter and a set designer, director/choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot was, it seems, destined to have a life in the theater. Born and raised in Tours, in central France, in 1960, he studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire Nacional de Région de Tours before joining the Rosella Hightower International School of Dance in Cannes.Continue Reading
One would think that a dance inspired by the events of the January 6 insurrection—yes, a dance!—would not be the ideal stuff of theater, but the eight members of Laurie Sefton Creates (formerly Clairobscur Dance Company), succeeded in giving life to Sefton’s premiere “Herd. Person?”, while the dance, itself, was occasionally problematic.Continue Reading