Tuesday, February 19, 2019

DANCE NATION: A Play About [Very Dirty] Dancing Nymphets

Here’s part of the plot summary for Dance Nation (2018) that’s posted on Playwrights Horizons:

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. But in Clare Barron’s raucous pageant of ambition and ferocity, these young dancers have more than choreography on their minds [...].

Here’s an excerpt from the “Notes on casting, etc”: All characters except Dance Teacher Pat and The Moms are between the ages of 11 and 14 years old. However, they should be played by adult actors (for the most part) [...]

With that in mind, here's some relevant parts of Dance Nation:

1. In the play, references are made to the “little girls” having “little bodies”. 

2. In scene 4: “THE GIRLS are changing into their street clothes. They get completely, uninhibitedly butt-ass naked in front of each other as they talk [...]

3. Teen masturbation is a motif in the play. For example, also in scene 4, SOFIA asked AMINA, the star dancer, “Did you do it?” 
AMINA: Huh? 
SOFIA makes a gesture like she’s thwacking a pussy.
AMINA: I tried
SOFIA: You tried?
AMINA: Nothing happened
SOFIA: Nothing happened???!!!
AMINA: I don’t know why. I really tried!
SOFIA: What did you do? ASHLEE: Wait. What’s happening?
CONNIE (To ASHLEE.) She’s teaching Amina how to masturbate. 

Subsequently, SOFIA informed AMINA that she’s supposed to think about something while masturbating. CONNIE shared that she thinks about Luke, the only male dancer on the team. But à la some of the teen rape fantasies described in My Secret Garden, ASHLEE shared: "I mostly think about someone being really mad at me. And pinning me to the ground. And like. Yelling."

4. In scene 8, while DANCE TEACHER PAT is out of the room, Amina instructs the other nymphets: 

And move your pussy into fifth position
Dimi plié and…
Bend at the pussy...and...bring your pussy back up…

5. Subsequently, ASHLEE shared that she would show the audience her “epic” ass but that she’s only thirteen. In addition, she related that men like to “stroke” her ass and that she has “a really nice face” and “great tits”.

As the other nymphets stare in “awe”, ASHLEE continues:

[...] and you’re going to cum just by eating my cunt, the taste of my cum is going to make you cum because it’ll be the greatest sexual pleasure you have ever known [...] That’s what I’ve got inside this tiny fucking body of mine [...] 

Now we know why it states in the "Note on casting, etc": 

All characters except Dance Teacher Pat and The Moms are between the ages of 11 and 14 years old. However, they should be played by adult actors (for the most part) [...] There is no need for any of the actors to resemble teenagers. (In fact, please resist this impulse!)

6. In scene 9, DANCE TEACHER PAT, “a grown-ass man”, swats AMINA’s butt. AMINA is “horrified” but “she loves it’ too:

He sort of swats her butt. It’s not sexual???????? But also weird and uncomfortable for a  grown-ass man to be swatting a thirteen-year-old’s butt. AMINA is horrified. And also, she loves it. 

7. In scene 11, in a effort to motivate the other nymphets who are nervous about competing against a dance team that has "advanced-level boys", SOFIA exclaimed:


8. By scene 13: AMINA [is] on her stomach. A pillow between her legs. [...] AMINA [successfully] masturbates.

9. And lastly, in scene 14, there’s a bit of teen lipstick lesbianism:
ASHLEE blows on CONNIE’s upper lip. She kisses her on the mouth.

Interestingly, Sara Holdren wrote in her New York Magazine theater review of Dance Nation

“If you were a thirteen-year-old girl, Clare Barron’s daring, raw Dance Nation will probably hit you hard...It’s a brave, visceral, excitingly off-kilter barbaric yawp of a play...And it gets at something excruciatingly tender: the burden of modesty on [very] young American women.” 

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