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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: "Dancemoms" on Lifetime

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I finally got around to watching Episode 4 (I think Episode 5 is the most recent one), where Paige (the blonde) said that she would rather be at home eating chips and Vivi Anne commented that her mom wants her to dance more than she does (?). Had a couple of thoughts after watching the show:


* Hearing the music for your solo the night before your competition is probably a really bad idea. Like super bad, especially if you are doing a solo for the very first time. It was just astonishing - they really couldn't get the music any earlier?!


* Kelly (Paige's mom) telling Paige that she did a good job, from the parts that she did remember - good. Kelly blaming the fact that Paige didn't hear the music until the night before - um... not sure. Though it is true that Paige should have gotten her music earlier and been able to rehearse with it (I would say that was 100% Abby Lee's responsibility as the teacher), the fact that Kelly used this excuse was problematic for me. It sounds like Kelly is making excuses and pinning the blame on Abby Lee which, again, I do acknowledge it was Abby Lee's responsibility, but parents really should try refraining from making it a battle - daughter and mom vs the dance teacher. (See also Christi below).


* Christi being ultra-focused on Maddie and constantly criticizing Abby Lee is just unhealthy. I agree that it's not fair when a teacher has favorites. I hate it too. But if you are so unhappy that your daughter is playing second fiddle, and also affecting your daughter's emotional health (because I'm sure Chloe LOVES it when her mom spends all her time talking about Maddie), then why don't you leave? You are never going to get what you "need" from the studio, and if you don't trust Abby Lee as a teacher, then that's it. Either trust her (which also means allowing her to give Maddie two solos) and stay, or don't and leave.


* Cathy not wanting to ride the bus, stay at the competition for all the girls, etc. On some level, I agree. Vivi Anne is not really part of the team, given that she is younger (and less technically proficient) than the other girls (excluding Mackenzie). On the other hand, Abby Lee is making her part of the "team" (even if she is not in group numbers), and with that comes all the fun duties of being a member of the team. If you don't like it, well, then you are free to leave. Why doesn't Cathy just hire a teacher (at her own studio) to train Vivi Anne, instead of driving 2 hours to be part of this team that she doesn't want to be part of? I mean, other than the fact that there would be no reality show cameras following you around?


I guess the message of the episode is if you don't trust the teacher, then you should leave, because almost every single conflict came down to that. And this can be applied to dance studios everywhere! Many times, parents and students think that they know better than the teachers, and that creates a lot of friction between all parties. IMHO, there is no singular teacher who is the best/greatest teacher - the best teacher for you is the one who you will listen to and who can help you grow and succeed.

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After being on vacation with family, DD and I have caught up on the episodes. Thoughts:

-As much as I dislike Abby Lee and her teaching methods, choreography, behavior, etc., I do believe that she was right in:

1) dismissing children from class for not dressing appropriately. Re class dress, our school and probably most schools have certain dress stipulations and the teachers will ask you to sit out of class if you do not have shoes or tights. This is a safety issue, as dancers could injure themselves without proper attire. Could Abby have been nicer about it? Probably, but then it wouldn't be a reality show, would it? Plus the parent was out of control.

2) giving Maddie two solos and allowing them to be performed. Casting decisions are entirely up to the teacher and/or AD and should not be questioned. This is a business and these competitions are a way for Abby to drum up business. She has to put her best performers on. Chloe's mother was wrong to get in Maddie's mother's face about this. This was not Maddie's mother's decision.


-Agree with Gretchenstar. Christy is damaging her own child by obsessing over Maddie. Very unhealthy.


-Cathy is a nut, plain and simple. Sometimes I think she is worse than Abby. I also think that she is trying to get her own show. Her daughter, Vivi, is completely uninterested in dance. But then again, several of the other moms are pretty nutty too!

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Can someone clarify what the casting director from Telsey said to Maddie and her mom last week? I missed part of it. It seemed like he just told them to 'come into the office' (kind of thing) whenever they are in NY - followed by a series of compliments on how talented Maddie is and how she has that 'star' quality they see in kids coming through the NY office.


I found it interesting that Maddie's mom kept saying throughout the episode how happy she was that (XYZ) from Telsey is '..coming to see Maddie." Do you think this situation was set up? In a way, I do....aside from Telsey getting some press for appearing on the show, why would a CD from NYC travel all the way to Pittsburgh unless there was a child semi-worthy of seeing?...just a thought (I do think Maddie is talented; unlike some of the other girls, she seems to truly love what she's doing and has tremendous stage presence)


I also found it very humorous how they edited the episode to show him (sorry, forget his name) making several 'disgusted' faces when the moms were dancing.

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I think it was set up as a way for the agency to promote the fact they are doing Annie auditions. The show is supposed to open next fall on Broadway.

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I agree, set-up. We have a dance talent agency here and there are open calls regularly and announcements of this person or that coming into town but you go to them for open calls. They don't come to you unless there is a connection of sorts with a studio owner to use the studio and see their own students in lieu of rental fees.

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Abby Lee may have some students who have made it to Broadway, but her help had to have been very limited if she didn't think at all about having her girls run through some lines in preparation for a Broadway agent.


Like everything on this show, it looks extremely unprofessional, unorganized, hastily put together, last-minute, and made-up as they go along. Nothing has a set pattern or pace.


Who wants their kid's first audition for a Broadway agent to be the time when they are told what they have to do for the audition?!

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I was also surprised by the lack of preparation for the agent. Usually, the agent makes the sides (parts of the script) available in advance to potential auditioners. Even if the audition is a cold reading, the kids still need to be coached on how to introduce themselves to the agent, how to answer the agent's questions, and how to read through scenes. It did look like an unorganized mess for the other students, which is why I believe the agent was there to consider only one student, Maddie.


Speaking of lack of preparation, when do these kids actually take classes and receive dance instruction? I have seen lots of rehearsals for competition routines, but other than the tap class, I have not seen any other classes. Where do they learn their leaps, pirouettes, flips, er-uh, technique? Maybe the classes are not as exciting to film for the show?

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Classes likely have people in them who didn't sign a contract to be on TV so impossible to show on TV much.

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I have not seen the episode with Telsy casting yet, but it may be a set up or they maybe doing auditions around the country looking for kids for Annie. DD's first national audition was done locally for Lion King because Binder casting does regional auditions for the show pretty regularly. I have never seen Telsy on the road (mostly NYC, LA and occassionaly Boston) but they may when looking for kids for specific show.

What makes me think it was arranged is there are no children's parts on broadway (and very few adult parts) that need kids who cannot sing. Kids are way too expensive (check an equity contract) for a show to have kids who only dance and cannot contribute to the chorus singing, and they have to be able to sing well. For DD all the broadway and tour auditions she did started with singing - then at call backs they would have her dance. Annie requires good dancers but requires very good singers and singing girls are a dime a dozen. For example DD auditioned for a developmental contract for a musical production of A Little Princess - day two of an open call she was number 124 and kids with agents don't go to open calls so they may see another 100 plus girls with agents before they start open calls.

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OK, a curling iron burn does NOT make such an audible sound, regardless of whether it's a sober mom or a drunk mom wielding it. If she was "rolling up the cord" as she claimed, then the iron was not still hot enough to even sting you a little bit.


Making such a big deal out of third place is pretty ridiculous.


So, besides the crying, this show is almost as hilarious as the "Razzle Dazzle" trailer.



I really love your quote in your signature line. . . but I really must disagree with you. Did you think Paige's crying when she froze on stage was fake? She was set up for that. . .not given enough time to practice while other kids got requisite time.



No a curling iron wouldn't make that noise but have you been burned with a curling iron? It actually is very hot. .. I am a straight-haired girl who has a long history with curling iron burns. She could have disconnected the cord and then been rolling the cord. So it's really possible that it had just been unplugged. I really don't think that those were fake tears.


I just feel a level of concern and compassion for all of these kids.


I guess I just made the assumption that curling irons are like clothes irons, where you let them cool for a little bit. And now that you say it, I guess if the heat could alter your hair, it could surely burn you. But the kids are really quite sweet and down to earth. They just want to dance and they try to avoid drama. Even Chloe said, regarding the "competition" between her and Maddie, "When Maddie's dancing, it should be about Maddie and when I'm dancing it should be about me." But is that the reason it's called Dance MOMS?

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I need a Dance Moms methadone clinic. ;) I don't understand the judging part of competitions. Is it about dance? The missing kids dance...won? Why? It seemed a totally ridiculous number to me. Maybe if adults did it there might be meaning, but a kid number would...win? I don't understand. The show might be staged, but those competitions are real, right?

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Maybe someone can enlighten me on something ...


Both Chloe's mom and Abby have said that Chloe could have her national title taken away if she leaves the studio. Does that only pertain to one year? What if she leaves next year? How can someone lose a title they have rightfully won? Does that title belong to the dancer or the studio?

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