Dance Nation
Closed 1h 45m
Dance Nation
75

Dance Nation NYC Reviews and Tickets

75%
(115 Reviews)
Positive
72%
Mixed
24%
Negative
4%
Members say
Ambitious, Edgy, Quirky, Clever, Great acting

About the Show

Somewhere in America, an army of pre-teen competitive dancers plots to take over the world. And if their new routine is good enough, they’ll claw their way to the top at the Boogie Down Grand Prix in Tampa Bay.

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Member Reviews (115)

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87
Great writing, Edgy, Relevant, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a raw edgy look at what it’s like to be a teen age girl. Sweet. Shocking. Insightful. Sad. Honest. Beautiful.

Don't see it if You’re a misogynist or have no empathy.

88
Clever, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if you liked The Wolves & want a daring, shrewd, original, poignant story of preadolescence played by the most earnest & fearless cast anywhere

Don't see it if you'll be uncomfortable w/a stark, unrelenting portrayal of pre-teen girls, w/all the angst, awkwardness, blood & unfiltered feelings intact

Critic Reviews (25)

The New York Times
May 8th, 2018

“Conjures the passionate ambivalence of early adolescence with such being-there sharpness and poignancy that you’re not sure whether to cringe, cry or roar with happiness...Blazingly original and unsettlingly familiar...Cuts to the bone...A fearless cast, directed and choreographed with gloriously rough magic...The fact that the actresses playing these girls are adults...makes this latest work a memory play — and a reminder of how impossible it is to escape the way we were.”
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Time Out New York
May 8th, 2018

"Ferociously funny...Barron’s riotous, rattling, sensational new play...The kids are played by adults of varying ages...They sometimes break out of their time frame to share perspectives they will have years later. The effect of this doubleness is often hilarious—the actors’ dance skills also vary—but also poignant...Wondrous ensemble cast...Sharp direction...Has a pussy-power message, it is anything but fearless. It embraces fear, hugs it tight, and channels it into a queasy kind of triumph.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 8th, 2018

“If you were ever a 13-year-old girl, Clare Barron’s daring, raw ‘Dance Nation' will probably hit you hard. If you weren’t, the play might feel like strange, even somewhat disturbing terrain, but I’d urge you to venture in all the same...A brave, visceral, excitingly off-kilter barbaric yawp of a play. It’s angry and it’s sad. It’s brash and it’s funny. And it gets at something excruciatingly tender: the burden of modesty on young American women.”
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New York Daily News
May 8th, 2018

“Fearless and funny but frustrating...Avoids the typical pitfalls when adult actors play pre-teens...The work is bold, with ample profanity and flashes of nudity. But it trips up because it's too freewheeling for its own good...Subjects are raised and quickly abandoned. The tone shifts willy nilly...It's okay for a play to be messy, but Barron's work self-sabotages...Despite flaws, the show is uniformly terrifically acted...Most effective and eloquent when it's silent.”
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BroadwayWorld
May 9th, 2018

“The seriousness with which each battle is approached is one of the things that makes playwright Barron’s exhilarating ‘Dance Nation’ so good, especially in director/choreographer Evans' spot-on production. The point isn't to watch the play hoping they win. You just want to see them all get out of it alive...The young girls - and one boy...are all played by adults...thus we see the parallels between the issues they face as children and those that await them in adulthood.”
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Lighting & Sound America
May 10th, 2018

"What seems at first like a cutesy affectation soon comes across as the only sensible way of presenting a play about young people that includes nudity and frank discussions of puberty and sexuality...The director's skill with the material is especially fortunate, since the script has it ragged moments and dead ends, as well bits of humor that don't quite land...The cast is totally on their playwright's wavelength."
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Talkin' Broadway
May 8th, 2018

“Zuzu forgets her steps and freezes at a competition, setting up all kinds of trust and self-image conflicts that lack payoff. It's that kind of sloppiness that bothers me, along with the too-in-your-face sexuality...That said, Barron and Evans do conjure up some convincing moments...Barron has provocative things to say about how society turns many kids' formative years into nightmares...But teen bonding, peer shaming, and authority-figure bullying? You'll have a better time at 'Mean Girls.'"
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New York Stage Review
May 8th, 2018

“The playwright interweaves her very funny play with topics that some might find out of bounds...Be prepared to be challenged...By presenting us with a wildly non-realistic dance team, Barron can slather on layers of fun, satire and incisive social commentary. The wildly nontraditional casting works well, with director Lee Sunday Evans perfectly illuminating the lives of the characters and providing the amusingly artless choreography as well. The cast is universally fine."
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New York Stage Review
May 8th, 2018

“Perhaps the blazing highlight of this quirky, frequently compelling play is an extraordinary monologue by Ashlee...Evans’s staging unobtrusively and smoothly melds the play’s innumerable shifts in tone. The ensemble easily performs the sudden emotional leaps and fouettes that the playwright demands from them...I’ll bet that plenty of women will recognize their younger selves and their anxieties from those youthful times whirling around within Barron’s unusually intense sweet and sour drama."
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TheaterScene.net
May 9th, 2018

“An unsatisfying synthesis of satire, allegory and feminism...More of an agenda driven fantastical tract rather than a well-crafted play...Evans faithfully presents Barron’s alienating vision with flair...The talented, likeable and distinctive company all offer vigorous characterizations...'Dance Moms' might appear to have been an inspiration...The simple themes of that program here have been forcefully infused with sociological trimmings and activist sensibilities for little theatrical impact.”
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Theater Pizzazz
May 8th, 2018

“It takes off regularly for the melodramatic and fanciful. Unfortunately, its flights don’t always land smoothly...Where ‘Dance Nation’ gets into trouble is when it has its characters wax anthemic...Evans is right in tune with the play’s humor...Evans is wise to tread lightly, not pandering to the easy laugh...'Dance Nation' intrigues with its probing into the heads of putative thirteen-year-olds sitting atop older bodies. But when it takes itself too seriously, it quickly loses its charm.”
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CurtainUp
May 11th, 2018

“No play on the NY boards is fiercer or more original...A good deal more than it seems at first blush, largely because Barron dares to use nonconventional casting...Beyond the blood and gore, there are tender moments...There's much to enjoy in the ensemble acting...’Dance Nation’ escapes feeling like already explored territory. This is theater given a fresh edge and feeling. For the most part it works well enough to make it worth seeing.”
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Front Mezz Junkies
May 24th, 2018

"A strange and mysterious beast, loud and hilarious, dark and disturbing, presenting itself as one thing, while becoming quite another few things in its magical next movement. It’s highly entertaining and wondrously funny, while also being drenched in the sweat of something quite powerful and aggressive...'Dance Nation' is complex and unique, invigorating your soul and your heart, while forcing your brain to do some masterful dance flips to wrap itself around all the layers presented."
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Exeunt Magazine
May 9th, 2018

"The little moments where 'Dance Nation' captures adolescence beautifully are strong and achingly poignant...But the play doesn’t succeed in either striking an emotionally realistic tone or using its stylization to generate insight, and the characters didn’t feel whole to me. And for a play about power and competition, it often feels physically timid; I wish Barron and Evans had found a more compelling way to stage the compelling questions 'Dance Nation' raises."
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T
May 14th, 2018

"Under Lee Sunday Evans’ crisp direction, with her alluring choreography, and with the care of the all-female production team, the cast delivers authentic performances...It is best for the intensity and the diction of this chorus to be experienced firsthand by the audience. Some might find the tone exhilarating while some might find the rant a tad impolite. Either way, the performance is powerful and authentic and represents the beginning of the evolution into adulthood."
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Broadway Blog
May 9th, 2018

“A non-apologetic, visceral play about girls growing into women...A 105-minute explosion of theatricality, draws from a multitude of performing styles with a primal underbelly thanks to director/choreographer Evans...But it is Barron’s supercharged script, wildly veering on adolescent emotional tangents, that catapults the play into a realm of exceptional theatricality...Evans doesn’t attempt to tame Barron’s script. Instead, she embraces it full-throttle.”
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C
May 8th, 2018

“Clare Barron’s sometimes hilarious, often bracing meditation on pre-adolescence...The award-winning playwright’s brilliant conceit, brought to full-bodied life by director/choreographer Evans, is to have these young ladies portrayed by actresses ranging from their 20s to their 60s...All of the girls are equally well-drawn...Conversely, Barron is slightly less successful with her other (admittedly more minor) characters, especially the two men in the play.”
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Theatre's Leiter Side
May 8th, 2018

"Gritty language, situations, and brief but total nudity might deter some parents from taking their own 13-year-olds to see it. Given its stark candor, and its focus on emergent female empowerment, however, they may find the play's depiction of the kids' concerns both bracing and enlightening…'Dance Nation''s combination of realism and surrealism, satire and polemic, may not be to everybody's taste. I thought much of its humor unfunny, its structure clumsy, and its eccentric style…off-putting."
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DC Theatre Scene
May 8th, 2018

“A surprise, and a shock, and a delight...Not really about dancing. It is a funny, sharp and very blunt look at adolescent girls – portrayed by a terrific cast made up of actors as old as 60...At its most entertaining and revealing in between the actual dancing...There are also some unusually explicit scenes that present adolescence at its most awkward, adventurous and messy...Funny, and a little shocking, and a bit weird, but also, somehow, very stirring.”
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Times Square Chronicles
May 9th, 2018

“Explores the adolescence of girls and one boy...However as a woman, I was lost in translation...The acting is well done...Evans’s direction, keeps this piece moving and her choreography is perfectly awful...A lot of laughter by men and not so much by women. Maybe that is because we really do not want to relive this...‘Dance Nation’ felt like sabotage, since this is written by a women, but who is it for?”
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The Wrap
May 8th, 2018

“The dancers’ ages range from 20 to 60...Our preconceptions about these dancers will quickly change...And our keeping track of those changes is just one of the small, quirky pleasures of Clare Barron’s new play...Watching ‘Dance Nation’ unfold, you’re not immediately sure of anything, and it’s a delight to have your sense of reality completely thrown off several times in a matter of minutes...Talented ensemble.”
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Stage Left
May 20th, 2018

"This hilarious and unsettling new play is refreshingly weird and thrillingly honest; I have never seen anything like it, and that is a purposeful and rewarding aim of Ms. Barron’s exquisite writing...This ordered chaos is expertly directed and choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans, who transposes the naturalistic force of Ms. Barron’s words to the stage amid flights of supernatural fancy, seamlessly managing tone throughout and crafting grounded and rounded characters."
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Daily Beast
May 8th, 2018

"The play’s refreshingly confrontational feminism is underlined by the occasional, gliding presence of the moon, the female principle itself...Retreats from too much animosity and burrows instead into hearts and minds and ultimately provides individual portraits of the girls, and a picture of group dynamics that feel very real, if a little plodding and predictable. The presence of a boy remains a mystery throughout, but it’s heartening to hear him and Pat loudly voice their female allyship.”
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Diandra Reviews it All
May 9th, 2018

“Hilarious, thoughtful, and shows that being 13 is 100% a sentimental ride, but being a 13 year old girl can feel like an emotional odyssey...Barron’s writing is not only witty, but a confrontation of how society’s stapling of little girls as ‘too emotional’ or dismissing them as ‘feeling too much’...You will cry and you will laugh as you see a batch of 13 year old girls be so present in their heart and learn how to strengthen that presence.”
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Show Showdown
June 8th, 2018

"The fine cast captures the tail end of childhood very well without slopping into parody...'Dance Nation' is so loving of and respectful to its young, female characters...I had absolutely no trouble believing these grownups as the tweens they were playing...Not as cleanly structured as 'The Wolves,' and prone to more experimental leaps in form and presentation, 'Dance Nation' is, as a result, a little chillier and harder to follow at times. Still, it's wonderful, engaging, and worth a look."
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