Savage recalls the Gore Vidal quote: “Every time a friend
succeeds, I die a little.” She says, “Dance Nation is a really
honest portrayal of what it is to be inside a very genuine friendship, where
you can still feel tremendous jealousy for your friend’s success. It’s honest
and also pathetic in a way.”
There is an important role for sound and lighting in this
production to help capture the intensity of young girls, particularly in the
heightened environment of the dance school. Savage speaks of colour palettes
and even the choice of microphones: details that will help to harbour the
whirlwind of youth but also make room for the confessional nature required to
showcase Barron’s distortion of memory.
“I really like the anarchic quality of it actually,” Savage says.
“It’s a weird mix of the real pageant, the anxiety and tension [that comes
with] kicking in sync and not missing a beat for the dance performance and
choreography, but on the other side of it it’s just kind of anarchy and a kind
of punk. I like the contradiction.
“Often as a director you feel like you need to make things make
sense. By doing that, you’re smoothing edges out, or you’re trying to mould
things into a coherent whole. [With Dance Nation] I’m just interested in
exploring the messiness of it. That’s not in a disparaging way at all, [I mean
it] in the best possible way.
“I want to push further into the messiness.”
21 February – 7 March