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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Clara 76

Television: "Dancemoms" on Lifetime

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missyr

I watch this show, but I mostly skip through the parent/Abby drama and just watch the girls perform. I think they are really talented little girls and I enjoy watching them dance. I couldn't care less about the mom drama.

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GretchenStar

In fact, when Paige said, "I like the flexed foot..." and demonstrated the move, Abby cut her off and said, "I saw that. I want to hear what she did WRONG." \\

 

I misheard because I thought Paige was correcting a flexed foot and Abby said "I saw that, what else?". It's not bad to train dancers to be able to find things that could be improved - it'll help their own dancing. And these girls (with the exception of maybe MacKenzie) are old enough that they should be able to do so without turning it into a bullyfest. However, it should be done in a respectful manner, such as "what do you think could be improved?" rather than "what did Chloe do wrong?" Students providing corrections should be specific - for instance, rather than Maddie just saying the transitions could be better, what about the transitions could be better? And each student should have the opportunity to receive corrections and to give corrections.

 

In my experience, students are frequently reluctant to correct each other, especially if they are friends. Even if they are teens and older. But it is an important part of learning. Maybe watching Youtube videos and having students provide corrections would be a good alternative - after all, the dancers in the videos can't hear the corrections but the students still get the chance to develop a critical eye. (My problem is that most of the time, I can't "turn off" that critical eye!).

 

After watching Victor and Angel in Miami for the past several weeks and how they coach their students (with the exception of the last episode), and now watching Abby Lee, it's like night and day. I've mentioned before that I've encountered ballet teachers like Abby Lee (albeit a little less extreme, but the yelling corrections seems about right), but it really is unbearable. ALDC can't be the only competition studio in that area, is it? And it's getting really obvious that things are staged. I doubt Abby Lee tried to cancel Maddie's solo (before the competition weekend) - it felt like Abby Lee thought she could pressure Maddie to perform. And then once they got to the competition - to not inform the competition that Maddie was not going to perform? I felt that it was done intentionally so that Maddie's name would be called, she would freak out, and create more drama. I don't think it would be that difficult to tell the competition if a dancer was pulling out, so that they wouldn't call the kid's name. (Also, don't you have to hand them the music for each number? Wouldn't the organizers have noticed they didn't have music for contestant # xyz?)

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Momof3darlings

Ok, that's another made for TV moment. At the competitions, we've attended over many, many years names are never called. Numbers are. There may be one or two that call by name, but the majority do not. Even when giving awards, they will announce the placement by number and by Song. I will say again just for clarity, that this is for competitions in my area and the ones my DD2's studio went to.

 

And here's where the kicker is: the numbers aren't called simply because they are in order and next. The dancers go backstage in groups (say 12-14 lyrical) and the competition stage person will walk around asking their number (noting costume on their program) as you go backstage. They will ask you backstage if you are ready or tell you that you are next. If the dancers are all there and ready, then yes, numbers go in order. But in most cases, that does not happen. They know that the larger studios may not have had dancers ready who had quick changes so they do not expect to go in numerical order. They just expect that XYZ division goes in the correct time period. So that whole, call number 123 out loud was staged. Now what I have heard, is the music table announce that they need music for dancers 1, 2 and 3 but in most cases they actually call the studio name. I do believe there is a penalty for scratching and if so there is no way AL would have taken it other than just for TV show.

 

I'll also note that in most cases the studio name is not called by the announcer either like they do on TV. The dancers in Top 10 are asked to speak and tell their school, and their choreographer as they get their award. Some programs have a list of the studios up front with a code for you to find them in the program, some show the studio name next to the entry and some simply list the dancer's name and solo name. While you get to know whose dancers are whose along the way, for us, we learned which studio dances came from at awards because that was the only place name was mentioned.

 

I don't really watch anymore except when DD3 is sitting in the room watching and I'm reading or on the laptop, but I will say that it will be interesting to see how AL fares. I agree with her moms. The choreography was awful in the 1st show, just awful. And the girls are growing up. I saw a bit of that natural ackwardness, lowering of extension, less strength that can happen as kids mature just as other kids can strengthen. I see Nia getting stronger, but noted some dropped leg height in both Maddie and Chloe. It'll shift again as they grow but I just found it interesting to see.

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snp1221

My daughter has been a competition dancer for 3 years. A dancer's name/number is only called if he or she checks in with the stage manager. If Abby told them that Maddie's solo was scratched, or if Maddie never checked in, her routine would not be called. It was definitely a moment staged to create more drama for the tv show.

 

I have never heard of a penalty for scratching other than the entry fee is not refunded and the routine is not allowed to advance to that competition's Nationals, so it can be a waste of money and opportunity (since a solo is what qualifies a dancer for title and scholarships). Most studios have scratched a routine here and there, and honestly -- none of the other studios or spectators normally notice, or much care, that it has happened. It's truly a non-event.

 

I do agree that teaching a dancer to be critical, or or to critique, is important, but I'd much rather they do as you suggested and watch youtube videos to practice than to do it on each other. Perhaps this ideology is coming from our experience on a small competition team of 40ish dancers who have to be together for many hours per week, and so need to get along and cultivate positive working relationships. They do not compete against one another for spots or roles, but rather must work as a team to perfect their group dances, so we parents spend a good deal fo time teaching them to be supportive and encouraging, and we do not allow them to make disaparging remarks toward, or about, one another. I think this is also the mindest that Christie was referring to in her mini-interview during the "critique" clips on the show. I do realize that not all studios or dance situations are the same, of course.

Edited by snp1221

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3girls1dancer

Most of us agree this show is awful. I've watched partial episodes a few times because my DD and her friends find it entertaining. They literally laugh and understand that it is all fake. Most often my DD just fast forwards to watch the dancing. It literally gives me a stomach ache though! As a mom I have experienced a little of the drama televised on this show. This parental aggression exists in all activities children are involved in (soccer, wrestling, choir, theater, dance, academics, etc). Like others, I think our society has hit an all time low in televising this behavior, real or not.

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kr12

Did you guys see the "ballet" group dance? Done in jazz shoes complete with chin stands...

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gavotteindmajor

 

I've given up on seeing actual ballet in this show for a while...

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caitydancer

I watch this show but just to see the dancers preform. The drama can get repetitive and ridiculous. I think a lot of the drama is scripted though. That girl Kendall from last season? They said she went over to Candy Apples when in reality, she is still dancing at Abby Lee's. Kendall's mom even confirmed it on Twitter. So that pretty much proves that the majority of the drama is just for TV.

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aa1999

Yes, in this past episode when Paige was crying in the dressing room after doing her solo, the tears looked very fake to me. Some of it must be scripted and exaggerated.

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Mobadt

We know of a girl who happened to go to one of the competitions where Abby Lee was, and I just found out that she says she watched every dancer do a solo, even though on this particular episode, the constant fight was that only 3 girls were doing a solo. So it would seem they definitely make some of this up.

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kr12

If you look at the Starbound results...Brooke beat Payton and got 2nd place at this competition... I'm surprised they didn't show it to make a Brooke vs Payton rivalry...

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ballet valet

Payton's category was listed as a teen novice soloist. I doubt that she has had 2 years or less of training. Curious?!

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sk8jdgca

depending on the competition, Novice is less than 2 years of competing--or never competed in a solo - not amount of years training

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stinger784

I am almost convinced after this last week's episode that Jill has an earpiece and is told what to say. Abby's reactions are too comical to be genuine after she speaks. Either a lot of coaching or the earpiece.

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