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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Clara 76

Television: "Dancemoms" on Lifetime

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dkd
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.

 

I told her that this show appears to be an extreme and a lot of it seemed to be acting. She only saw the part where the girls were actually dancing on stage.

She knows nothing about the strep or inappropriate costumes. That's stuff that I heard from other moms that I have not discussed with her.

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LaFilleSylphide

From what I saw of Dancemoms (which my husband is trying to get the full episode for me), I was surprised that the young girls could perform so well. In ballet (especially the kind we teach at my school), kids seem to be a little slower in progression. The ability to pirouette comes so late compared to these little kids who can not only pirouette, but make kissy-fishy faces and toss their curls at the same time. It's pretty amazing (and no, I'm not being sarcastic). Also, while the mother and teacher were screaming over the poor child's wardrobe malfunction, the trailer shows that the little girl keeps dancing despite the circumstance (kissy-fish-face and all). That's also something that blows me out of the water for children of that age - I think my young girls are little-professionals in training, but I'm not blind to the fact that if I put them on stage in comparison to these competitive-jazz kids that they would not have that kind of performance-edge yet.

 

I just don't think the young students are acting so much as the crew is catching them in every moment and able to edit really juicy bits together. There is a likelihood that one of the kids were sobbing for a completely different than portrayed though. Now, I don't doubt that there isn't a moment where the director or producers say, "Let's have you say that part again". It happens in all reality tv shows, but when I see these little girls crying, it just doesn't look rehearsed. I do think that having cameras there brings out a more... how say... "dramatic" side of each adult's personality. Maybe this Abby is pretty bold and the dance moms are pretty snide, but a personality like that with an attentive camera crew and the knowledge of national attention can only serve to bring out a more exaggerated and vicious side of them.

 

I apologize if I seem to separate the dance world into two extremes, I'll have to be more careful of that since I'm a little sheltered when it comes to all things dance (even ballet). One can't deny that while many classical dancers are trying to preserve the historic traditions of ballet, that Jazz and Tap also has historical significance as well. In a few years, some poster on here will mention the same of hip-hop too! But like I mentioned before, and like many others as well - it's tv. If they showed the everyday mundane sections of girls' dance training doing sit ups, stretching on the floor, and doing ankle circles, no one but us Ballet Talk peeps would watch it. Extreme drama = ratings after all! :D

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Clara 76

But LaFille, the poor technique of the pirouettes is the problem.....What it would take to retrain them correctly is beyond. :D

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LaFilleSylphide

But they're still young'uns! Bad habits die faster in little kids, right?

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Clara 76

Unfortunately, no. It's quite sad, really. :D Once they begin "doing" turns (because I can't really call what they're doing "pirouettes") getting them to rotate their supporting legs, rise to a high demi-pointe, actually utilize the physics of a correct pirouette, well, they don't want to because for a temporary time period, they will not be able to "spin" as they had previously.

 

They end up getting so set in their ways that making a transition to clean work becomes 3 times the amount of work it should have had the work been introduced correctly to begin with.

 

They are also taught to believe that tossing their curls around and making "fish-faces" is performing, so to get them to actually have to dig down and feel, or to understand character motivation, or to just grasp the concept of presentation also becomes a monumental task.

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Dancer830

I just finished watching the first episode online and I just wanted to add my 2-cents that I am simply mortified. :blushing: It is embarrassing to me that these few women are put on tv to represent "dance moms". I choose to believe that the majority of us are not like these women and that we don't "doll-up" our children as they do. Yes, we all know moms like them, but most are not, IMO. I'm sad that this doesn't put the best light on real dance training and the hard-working, supportive parents that enjoy our dk's dancing because it is something the dk wants to do, not a dream of the parent. What a shame :D

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LaFilleSylphide

Yeah, I hope that the general public watching this doesn't feel it's a real representation of a "dance mom". True, there's always a few bad apples in the barrel, god knows I've met more than a few manipulative or downright odd ones; but tv's not going to portray the awesome parents that help motivate their kids through rough times, find tutors to help them with their schoolwork so that their education doesn't suffer, the dance dad that's hammering a set piece together, the dance mom that's frosting cookies to sell for that extra plane ticket to YAGP. Why show the parents that are donating supplies, snacks, funds, etc. to schools and students, or the parent that's pinning in diadems for all the kids getting ready to perform, not just their own when you can show psycho mom? I suppose it's just not as entertaining or shocking. I like gasping alongside everyone else too, but I hope that the audiences have the wherewithal to know that a bad bunch doesn't make the entire vineyard rotten.

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MelissaGA
I was surprised that the young girls could perform so well. In ballet (especially the kind we teach at my school), kids seem to be a little slower in progression.

 

At this age, in a ballet school, these girls would be taking anywhere from one to maybe three 90 minute classes a week, maximum. These kids have most likely been taking many more hours per week from a younger age.

 

And Clara is right on the money about what has to be re-taught. My dd moved from a competition jazz environment (albeit without the kissy faces, but still with big happy smiles) into a ballet school at 9. She didn't start ballet until age 8. At 9, she "had" her double turns consistently and was working on multiple "fouette turns." That all had to be deconstructed and retaught. She's 14 now and FINALLY has consistent clean doubles en pointe and is now working on fouette turns for real. She assisted in pre-ballet classes this year and said on numerous occassions that she wishes she had started the right way from the start.

 

Still, the many hours and the work ethic do translate well for many of these dancers if they decide to make the transition to the pre-pro ballet world. These kids, while lacking in finesse and clean technique, do usually have great strength and flexibility. There are a several professionals in major companies who started off this way. The key for those that want to do ballet is to make the move at the right time, before it is too late.

 

There's much about this show that is staged. Even the basic premise. No competition team does a new dance for each compeition. They also do not fly around the country to weekly competitions. That's all added in for the drama of the actual show situation. If they it the way teams normally run, with the same group numbers at each competition, there'd be even less drama. I'm sure this is why the cost is $16,000! And of course, as others have already mentioned, kids this age don't take class in make-up!

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Sunnydance

Sounds like we all agree it is a train wreck, But haven't we all seen at least one teacher/studio owner like Abby? and haven't we all seen at least one 'dance mom' who let emotions get the best of them? The show is not so far fetched as I thought it would be.

 

My sis in law says the soccer moms up north are worse than these dance moms. Let us hope they will get a soccer mom or baseball dad show soon.

Edited by 3childrendance

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5-6-7-8

I'm unable to see it in Canada and can't see it online either. I've heard all about this train wreck. My daughter moved from the competition world 5 years ago and has never looked back. Although most comp. moms and directors are normal, there is always one in the group.

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Miss Persistent

Seeing as we're all so mortified, shocked and downright glum.... I thought it was appropriate for some light humour relief. Well, at least it's funny if you're Australian - I hope the humour translates ok :)

 

The funniest movie I have ever seen on the inner workings of the dance world is called... "Razzle Dazzle"

 

I would post the link to the trailer here but it's not suitable for all ages so just You Tube it and laugh :yucky:

 

(and yes - it is a spoof just incase the humour doesn't make it over the ocean...)

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Curandera
Seeing as we're all so mortified, shocked and downright glum.... I thought it was appropriate for some light humour relief. Well, at least it's funny if you're Australian - I hope the humour translates ok :yucky:

 

May I present the funniest movie I have ever seen on the inner workings of the dance world... "Razzle Dazzle"

 

 

(and yes - it is a spoof just incase the humour doesn't make it over the ocean...)

We LOVE "Razzle Dazzle"! It is not well-known in the States (or at least around our area) and I have been hesistant showing it to the SO and other Moms. I am afraid they might take offense. There is a ring of truth in it like all great parodies. I am a (very loose) mix of the administrative helper kidnapping a boy for the group and the mom of the lead dancer. It was really great fun watching it with my daughter. I've heard the scriptwriters talk about how they were very much trying not to offend. They were both parents of dancers and they love competitions. It's just that taken to the extreme, it is very funny. And the ending was very uplifting.

 

There were some really great scenes in that movie. I loved the girl who was always late, putting signs about the time of the event all over the house silently giving her mom a look that kills while the mom tries to ignore her and postpone guilt until after her morning coffee. Love it!

 

We rented it from Netflix but I've been meaning to try to buy it. It definitely belongs in our library of dance DVDs!

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Pique

I don't have cable, and I guess I'm glad, LOL! I do have a young friend who has attended these comp schools since the age of 9. She was born to dance--no question about it. She was dancing and making up her own steps long before she started taking classes. But the first school's ballet was horrific--I saw that at once and tried to get her mom to switch her to the pre-pro studio in town. But my little friend "didn't like" ballet and only wanted to do jazz and hip hop.

 

As it turns out, she doesn't have an ideal body type for ballet. She's now 18, short, muscular and busty. So while she had the talent for ballet and I do wish she had a REAL foundation in it, she wouldn't have been able to go very far w/ it professionally. She's planning on a pro career out in LA and has already been on some awards shows and videos.

 

Anyway, I went to her in-town comps and recitals for years and was TRULY appalled. The first studio was bad enough but the second one, which she moved to 3 years ago, was horrific. The slutty costumes, the silly hair, etc. etc. It's worst, IMO, in the little kids--no 8 year old needs to be shaking her booty ANYWHERE, or wearing a merry widow!!!!!

 

But the worst thing really is the technique. The second studio barely bothers with ballet--which, really, is better, b/c the "ballet" the first studio did made me want to crawl under my chair and sob. My friend, with her natural talent, always looked the BEST of all of them, but none of them had any turnout, and their "pointe" work (I use the term very loosely) was scary. I was grateful when I saw that the second school concentrated on jazz, hip hop, lyrical, etc. so I didn't have to writhe in my seat.

 

I guess there's a place for these studios. . . ?? Not everyone wants to do ballet, after all. I'm old fashioned enough to believe, however, that ballet is--or should be--the foundation of ALL forms of dance and that someone with solid ballet training will be BETTER at any other form of dance on which he/she decides to focus. There was no telling my little friend that, though. :)

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