Rob McElhenney and Kylie Shea in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Photo: FXX

When you think of a dance show, you probably don't think of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But the 13th season finale episode that aired last week, which was titled "Mac Finds His Pride," proved that any TV show can become a dance show for a day if you get the right people involved!

Actor Rob McElhenney isn't one for shying away from a challenge. He's played Mac, one of the main characters on the It's Always Sunny,  since the show began in 2005. A few years back, he gained over 50 pounds for the show, just because he thought it would be a good joke if his character Mac, looked worse and worse as the show developed. And now, he's done the opposite, training for months to get his body ready for a challenging, show-stopping 5-minute contemporary dance.

As he deals with the imprisonment of his father (played by Gregory Scott Cummins), Mac decides that instead of trying to find words to describe his inner struggles and emotions, he will perform dance piece at the jail in front of his father and all of the other inmates. (Side note: what a great message - someone on TV finding a constructive and artistic way to express themselves).  Not only does Mac use the dance to communicate all of his anger and hurt towards his father, but he also uses it to express his sexuality and come out to his father as a gay man. It's a highly emotionally charged and exquisitely executed piece.

Shockingly enough, it's actually him performing. To begin the process of getting ready for such a demanding moment, he worked with trainer Arin Babaian, who also helped Channing Tatum prepare for his role in Magic Mike. After building enough strength and stamina to dance for several hours a day, he brought in Alison Faulk (whose dance tutorials you can find right here on DancePlug) and Leo Moctezuma (who has danced alongside P!nk and the Spice Girls) to choreograph the piece. For a partner, he chose ballerina Kylie Shea, from Seattle's Spectrum Dance Theater. And the rain is giving us major Pina Bausch vibes.

McElhenney didn't think he could pull it off. In an interview with Vulture, he says: "I have zero ability to dance" and talking about the choreographers: "They were so patient. it got to the point where I was looking forward to working with them at the end of each day. It didn't feel like work or exercise that I didn't want to do." Well, Rob, as millions of viewers will agree, you pulled it off.

Photo: FXX

About the author

Anne Luben has performed works by notable choreographers such as Donald McKayle, Bill T. Jones, Jiri Kylian, Idan Cohen, Alex Ketley, and Summer Lee Rhatigan, among others.