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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Clara 76

Television: "Dancemoms" on Lifetime

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Curandera

I hope you explained to your daughter who is glad she "never went to a competition studio," that her statement was an over generalization and that not every competition studio is going to have inappropriate costumes and require their dancers to dance out of town with strep.

 

My dd has been on the team for 6 years and never worn a costume I didn't approve of. No belly was ever shown, no thigh-high stockings. Not even a 2-piece. We saw the costumes before they were ordered.

 

My dd has performed while not feeling her best but never with strep and only if she thought she could do it. She knew it would be okay if she didn't. We've seen plenty of routines at competitions where a dancer was missing. You could tell from formations. That's life.

 

I am sure that not every ballet dancer at your non-competition studio was in top notch health for the Winter Nutcracker performance or their Spring recital but they danced anyway.

 

I would never let my dd perform with strep and it is more of a shame that that girl's mother let the studio owner decide what her daugther should or should not do.

 

This show is an extreme example of a completely dysfunctional competition studio. I know of several documentaries of dysfunctional professional ballet schools where girls are starved, yelled at, demoralized and overworked. Extreme happens everywhere.

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hi there

I think what surprised me the most is how young these girls on the show are. While my dd went to a traditional ballet school with no competition, I just can't see how the girls are ready for that at such a young age. I can see that level of commitment at 12 or 13, but 7! That seems crazy to me. I guess because the ballet studio is so particular about when you can begin to wear pointe shoes, and requires such emphasis on the tiniest movements, I just crack up at the thought of the 7 year olds being such divas! Plus the expense, they are putting this money in for what may or may not be a career. I wonder about the burnout of a 10 year old.

 

Will this show feature other studios, or will it be 100% Abby Lee? I wonder...

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Curandera

My dd performed 2 solos when she was 7 - a ballet solo (in flats) and a jazz solo. It really wasn't much more expensive than regular classes and we only went to 3 competitions in the Spring. She was there for a 1/2 a day at each event. Yes, her technique was lousy but she was absolutely adorable. I remember at one competition, she was the first one out there at 7:45 a.m. The stage was dark and the curtains were closed.

 

When they started, they announced her, the curtains opened and the lights slowly came up to this absolutely beautiful little girl standing in first in a white tutu with black satin trim, her hair in a bun and little pearl tiara. The dozen or so people in the audience "awwed." My daughter lit up like a fire fly. She went home with a plastic trophy, a ribbon for best costume and a love for the stage that has only grown with time.

 

At age 13, she loves dance more than ever and we are taking the appropriate steps to get her the right training.

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Clara 76

It's good to present both sides of the competition coin :) However, let's not let this thread veer too far off track, and let's keep this discussion about "Dancemoms" the tv show. :)

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boxwoodgirl

Curandera says in Post 61 of this discussion, "Extremes happen everywhere." I think that's right, and good to remember when watching shows such as this. What interests me most about shows like this is that, while they do show an extreme that most of us would not be party to, they may hit a nerve about choices we've made that we wonder about. I know that I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating choices surrounding ballet. "Are we doing the right thing for our daughter?" constantly runs through my mind. Everybody's line that they draw is different. One person's idea of child abuse is another person's idea of facilitating their daughter's dreams. It's not the black-and-white of "good/evil" that these shows portray that is interesting to me; it's the gray choices that we all are making every day.

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Momof3darlings
One of the moms did say that she pays the salary of the instructor. So, she needs the moms to keep her business afloat.

 

Unfortunately this has nothing to do with her paying an instructor's salary. This statement has become the buzz word of a new generation of consumers who have begun to use the phrase too loosely and too often for "I'm paying you so you need to do what I say or I'm leaving". It has replaced the old "customer is always right" thought process but instead of coming from the business, comes from the consumer.

 

While this show was definitely over the top, and issues brought forth from the show something to talk about. Let's make sure we stay on the topic of the show and against generalizations of any kind or even blind's eye of judgement. As an example, many a ballet student has performed sick, injured or ailing at the annual Nutcracker, RDA festival or Spring Show. Nor is it unusal for kids of young ages to compete and perform in many, many activities weekly. That's why there is rec football, t-ball, gymnastics, swim team, piano jury, etc. etc.

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ncdance

I was surprised she wants to do a brand new routine for every competition. What is the point? My daughter did very limited competitions several years ago, and no one knew how long any group had been rehearsing their numbers. How would they even have time to get costumes, much less rehearse in them before competing (which they obviously didn't)?

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mom2

On the topic of students and extremes...

 

You know, I just remembered something. A few years ago there was a show called "Two-a-days." It followed a football coach and his team over 2 or 3 seasons. The title reflected the fact that the young men had two gruelling practices per day. The physical challenges they had were pretty tough, and so was the coach.

 

Did any of you see that show, and do you see parallels?

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123dancinggirl

I have to admit I was glued to the tv during Dance Moms...

a few things really bothered me.

1. the posters on the walls of the studio emphasized the importance of winning.---but the studio should REALLY be emphasizing doing your best, learning as much as possible, and loving the dance

2. I understand tough teachers (i do take ballet after all! :) ). but the fact that abby lee made a pyramid of the girls was appalling! Why does she concentrate so much on being better than everyone (which is impossible), when she should emphasize fixing your own mistakes and NOT comparing so that the students listen to corrections instead of wasting energy on being upset over someone else's abilities?

3. Where is the artistry?!

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pondering

I used to watch that restaurant show with Gordon Ramsay where he would he would help restaurant owners turn their businesses around. (I think it has been reincarnated and is currently on with the chef from "Restaurant Impossible". ) There was frequently a lot of drama, and they loved to show the filth and dirt and spoilage in the various restaurant kitchens before Gordon would ride in and clean everything up and save the day. There was also a British version on BBCA that was much less dramatic with far less explosive personalities. I had actually thought that the show accurately portrayed the restaurants and their personnel and issues before and after Ramsey's intervention until I read an article where those on the U. S. show detailed how they were provided scripts and that most of the incidents were manufactured. And then I realized there was nothing "real" about reality TV.

 

I thought that Dance Moms seemed very scripted and staged. I suspect that most of the incidents were manufactured (except for where the headpiece fell foreward - that was all too real to me - been there , seen that). It's too bad that the producers decided to focus on and portray two-dimensional, over-the-top, "make my baby a star" dance mom personalities because the real deal, the real studio moms, are far more funny, quirky, frustrated, and interesting, and most of all, supportive, not only of their DK's, but also the DK's of other mothers, and each other. It would be a far more interesting show if it actually reflected "dance mom" reality.

 

My studio mom days are past but I miss them and I miss many of those studio moms who understood so much about the life of a mom of a serious dancer.

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calamitous

"I was surprised she wants to do a brand new routine for every competition. What is the point?"

 

ncdance - I would think this is directly related to the TV show and needing to show the kids doing different dances each week. I woud also suspect that the dances are choreographed by others not just Abby, and the kids may have been learning them for much longer than a week. When DD was on a reality show, none of the dances were choreographed by the kids, even though they woudl say they were on the show, rather professional choreographers were brought in and worked with the groups. That was probably the best part of being on the show for DD - she got to meet several dance professionals from both coasts.

Since the kids on this show are so young this may not matter in the long run, but for the make my kid a star parents it does get them seen by others.

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sonny72

One thing that has me perplexed...in the background in the studio you see a Vince Lombardi quote"Winning isn't everything...it's the only thing" . I am wondering if people who have been in competition schools have seen things like this? I can understand that in competitions based around art, you can have set criteria to a point, technique, etc...but in the end if all factors are equal, it comes down solely to the taste of the judge, correct? While you can work hard on your number, and do everything right, it isn't a matter of defeating someone.

 

This is not a slam by any means. I just don't quite understand. My daughter who is an aspiring writer is preparing to submit a story for a scholarship. She must prepare her story, have be grammatically correct, etc., but she has a major factor she can't control which is whether her creative vision is going to be what the judges want. I understand putting your best foot forward(no pun intended), but if you put the kids out there and they do everything correct, and don't get first place because in the judging they like another teams costumes better, how is that any responsibility of the kids?

 

I am just curious. I am hoping most of this stuff is scripted. I have 2 boys in sports, and while I have seen parents like the parents here, I wouldn't let them play for a coach like this Abbey person.

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ncdance

That makes sense, calamitous. I guess I forgot a "reality show" is not "real".

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Momof3darlings

sonny-in direct response to your question from our personal experience. Winning is congratulated at DD2's studio when they do win. But winning has not, in her 3 years there, been discussed as what the goal is even though in recent years they have been very successful on the "winning" spectrum. The photos on the wall are of the studio dancers on stage at different venues and an occasional dance quote. The goal discussed with the students is placing in the highest scoring level, which in most cases is the Platinum level although each competition can call that level different things. Winning is not discussed but it is congratulated. By aiming for Platinum level, the SOs are working to make sure the choreographic content and the technical level are high enough to score in the top scoring level and if they achieve that then they will sometimes win. What is discussed alot is personal best and increasing the level of intensity and technique each year.

 

You cannot control the judges, you cannot control which other strong studios come to a given competition and therefore you cannot control if you win or not other than to prepare the routines so that they have a chance at winning. The rest is subjective. Because of the way the competitions are now beginning to be structured (dividing into small vs. large studios, number of hours per week in technical instruction determining if you are recreational or not), one can sway the results a bit based on the competitions you enter and make your studio appear as if it has alot of wins when it truly is going to smaller competitions to get them. You see that happen in all types of competition though, if you've read the YAGP threads, there are always questions about whether or not going to this regional or that one might help you secure a spot to NY easier. And in both cases, that is the wrong reason to enter competitions to begin with. The process is what is important, not the results. The results are icing on the cake, or should be.

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bruyere
A few years ago there was a show called "Two-a-days."

Did any of you see that show, and do you see parallels?

 

I do recall the show and the following one Varsity, Inc. Two-a-days and even three-a-days are common in high school football. Grueling practices in inclimate conditions are part of the game. Whether or not it is right, I have never met a high school football coach who does not yell. The coaches featured on both of the above shows are very well-known and extremely successful in the high school football world. Comparing those shows to Dance Moms is like comparing apples to oranges. The boys on those shows were approaching college and old enough to decide for themselves if football was their ticket. The girls on Dance Moms are considerably younger. They are there because their mothers say so, and because the mamas seem to want to be in the spotlight themselves. The football shows portrayed more of a norm while Dance Moms portrays an extreme.

 

The show is a trainwreck, to be sure. I do understand what we see in reality TV is what the producers, etc. want us to see. What the show portrays is certainly not an environment I would have my DD in.

Edited by bruyere

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