by Tristan J. Shuler

Playwright's Horizons Dance Nation will have you leaving the theater asking "What the f*** just happened?" because it's just THAT courageous and original. This new play takes on the realities of a group of 13-year-old girls (and one boy) and what they encounter on their way to competing at regional dance contests. You won't see anything like it anytime soon.

5 Reasons It's Awesome:

1. Unconventional Casting. The play is predominantly about 13-year-old dance competitors and their moms and yet the cast is filled with actors aged 20-something to 60-something actors of all different races. And it's never discussed, nor does it need to be. It's BEAUTIFUL. It's America. The adult actors do such a great job channeling the essence of these 13-year-old girls that you don't question it once. It's theatre, and we come to see something creative and original which there is no lack of here. Dance is ageless!

2. Beauty of the Female (and Male) Bodies. The play tackles female sexuality and  the confidence that emerges from that, stemming from these girls in just the beginning stages of puberty. The honesty and shamelessness of it all is honestly something we need more of in the media to normalize that taboo topic. And you won't soon forget the final monologue. #PussyPower

Photos: Joan Marcus

3. Hilarious Monologues. Almost all of playwright's Clare Barron's monologues deserve an applause. Whether it's the lost soul of Maeve letting her odd imagination take her into flight or another girl marveling at how much of a goddess she is with her "perfect ass that just popped out like that," these monologues will have you actually LOL-ing.

4. The Realness. Thomas Jay Ryan as Dance Teacher Pat (and yes, we refer to him as "Dance Teacher Pat" the entire play) is truly the manifestation of every pretentious arts teacher you've ever had. Interrupt him or forget your hair tie in ballet and the whole class will then have to wait for you in silence. And we will wait. In hysterical silence. 

5. The Hungry Vampire Sexy Dance Scene. No spoilers! You're going to need to just get your tickets and experience this one for yourself.

Dance Nation runs until July 1.