Each episode of Dance Moms becomes harder to watch without scrunching up my nose and wanting to put my hands under my armpits. What is wrong with the adults on this show? Somewhere Nigel Lythgoe has to be enraged and planning a rescue mission to save these kids. Because as So You think You Can Dance has taught us, the sport comes from love and passion from somewhere deep within–not from a tyrant of a woman who screams at her dancers as the result of her own frustration and self loathing. Unfortunately the Moms of the show are not such great role models either, which we all could have guessed based on the fact they signed their kids’ rights away to be on the show. But hey, who’s tallying the faults? Oh, everyone.
For those who follow the show, here’s what went down this week:
Devon, the director from the Greensboro competition, calls Abby to let her know there was a mistake at the judge’s table and the duet “Sugar and Spice” featuring Maddie and Kendall should have received second place, not first. Abby uses the news to motivate the kids, except it doesn’t come across like motivation but more like torture.
Shortly after the screaming finishes, the Pyramid Ceremony begins. Guess who’s on the bottom? Kendall! The rest goes something like this:
Placement (From Bottom to Top) Reason
Kendall She’s not Sophia.
Maddie She danced with Kendall.
Nia She has bad feet.
Paige She improved.
Chloe She didn’t improve enough.
Mackenzie She won.
After the dreaded pyramid ceremony, this week’s dances were assigned for the upcoming competition in Woodbridge, Virginia. MacKenzie gets a solo called “Dancing Barefoot,” and is to be the feature of the group dance. The group dance this week is an acrobatic number titled “Arabian Nights.” Chloe almost is assigned a solo called “Haunted” until Christie (her Dance Mom) states she cannot perform her back tuck in the group routine (which is a warranted argument. Chloe is not confident in her ability). Abby takes away the dance based on her mom’s outburst. Then later gives it back without enthusiasm. Taking a jab at Chole, she announces the dance will feature a standing back tuck.
In the lion’s den (also known as the room the mother’s wait and watch their daughters practice), Christie asks Melissa if Maddie is jealous of her sister MacKenzie. What she’s really doing is pointing out the fact that MacKenzie has a solo and Maddie doesn’t, which is new territory for the dancers because Maddie is used to taking solos and leading group dances. Why isn’t Maddie receiving solos? The mothers think Abby is making a statement and mad at Melissa for the parking lot boycott… still. And they have collectively decided Melissa should do something about it. Feeling bullied, Melissa tells the mothers she’s going to confront Abby about the situation. And the other mothers applaud her intentions. As soon as she leaves, Christie starts talking smack about Melissa, saying she heard that she was second guessing her decision to side with the mothers.
On the dance floor, Chloe is in tears. Abby has been tearing the tween down and commenting that she’s not strong enough for gymnastics. In actuality she’s just scared to perform her back flip and doesn’t want to hurt herself.
At the end of practice Melissa confronts Abby about Maddie not having any solos, and Abby makes it clear that she is punishing Maddie for her behavior. Which doesn’t really make sense because she’s also the mother of MacKenzie. Logic would suggest both girls either be punished or not punished, but then again this show is completely illogical. What is known is that Abby is disappointed that Melissa sided with the mothers during the parking lot boycott and plans to show no mercy. The two grown women yell at each other until Melissa leaves with Maddie in tears.
During the next practice, Abby asks Maddie to come with her to Studio C to have a chat. She asks her why she was crying the night before. Maddie tells her the dance studio is her home, and that she really wants to do solos. But before she can finish her statement (in tears) Abby trumps her tears and starts crying bigger, fatter tears. She explains to Maddie that every opportunity she’s given her comes from her heart and that she’s upset and hurt by her mother’s actions. For not disobeying her mother’s wishes and coming into the studio for practice, Abby tells her there will be no solos for now and that she needs to think about what she’s done. What Abby is really saying is you should have sided with me and not your mother, which is wrong on so many levels.
The following day in the lion’s den, the mothers discuss the upcoming competition. Bella and Kaeli, the dancers that replaced their daughters during the boycott, will be dancing at the competition and competing directly against Abby Lee Dance Company. Eventually Melissa shares the conversation Abby and Maddie had the day before. As soon as Christie hears that Abby became emotional during the conversation, she becomes defensive of how the coach unfairly treats her daughter. Abby never cries when yelling at Chloe.
After the girls arrive to Virginia, the dancers go straight to the dressing room where Abby delivers a team pep talk. Instead of encouragement or saying a prayer, like what must of us imagine happen in sports locker rooms, Abby brings up the competition, Bella and Kaeli. “Keep your eyes out for them,” she begins. “Make sure you’re better than them, stronger, fitter, smarter, sharper and you’ll be fine.” It’s not exactly the most inspiring speech, but it’s a speech. She also points a finger at MacKenzie, who is up first for her solo, and says, “You cannot miss a trick, okay?” Upon receiving the threat MacKenzie looks scared to death to dance, and Abby wonders why.
On stage MacKenzie does fine until she forgets her routine for one second. Like literally, for one second she gave off an expression of being lost but it was long enough for Abby to have ammunition to shoot off at the tongue. In the dressing room after the dance, she reprimands MacKenzie in front of the entire team.
“You looked like a deer in headlights,” the beast begins. “Let’s go through everything you did wrong. You choreographed your own dance, which I don’t really appreciate. You were early on the music.” Abby stops for air, then continues in her unfriendly manner. “I don’t want to be mean. I don’t want to be nasty… You screwed up. You failed.”
Up next is Chloe, who happens to be in the same solo age group/division as Bella and Kaeli. The three girls all perform lovely and it’s a shame there can’t be more dancing shown on the show. Because back in the private team dressing room the drama and negativity continues. Abby asks Christie how she thinks her daughter performed. Christie tells Abby she did well but thought she performed better in the studio. Not having someone to disagree with, Abby somehow draws Kelly into the mess and blames her for the destruction of the team. The mothers attempt to fight back but Abby leaves with the understanding she’s not coming back. With no one to run through the routine one last time before taking the stage, Christie steps up to the coaching plate. What I really want to know is how much are they paying these Moms to stick around and listen to Abby mouth off? Whatever the amount it’s not enough.
The girls take to the stage confidently and with hopes to be the competition Team Bleu. During the routine everyone seems to hold their own, except I notice the back tuck was taken out of the routine and replaced with a back handspring. Thank goodness. No athlete should perform a move they feel uncomfortable doing.
The award ceremony comes and the results for ALDC are less than favorable for once. MacKenzie places 3rd. Chloe places 2nd. And the dance group places 4th. To add injury to insult, Team Bleu wins the group dance performance and Abby says she’s humiliated. To any other team the award placements would be satisfactory but not to a team that is used to consistently winning. In the dressing room and in front of the entire team and their moms, the wrath of Abby is not pretty. She blames the poor finish on everything but herself–the parents parking lot boycott, the missed practice, not having the back tuck in the routine. Christie finally sticks up for the team and adds bad choreography to Abby’s list of faults. Abby takes the opportunity to call out Chloe’s imperfections, which sends Christie into an ugly tail spin.
Christie: Okay, fatty. Fatty, fatty, fatty, fatty, fatty….
Abby: I can lose weight but ugly goes to the bone.
Christie: …you’re ugly to the core.
Abby: I think you act like an idiot.
Christie: I feel sad for you.
Yes, this is the conversation between two grown women… in front of children. And it’s also the cliffhanger to the next episode. Why anyone comes back for another episode–Abby, the mothers or the dancers–is beyond me. In the world of Dance Moms, the adults act like children and the children act more like the adults. It’s high time a dancing super hero swoops up and saves these kids from the horrible circumstances they continue to whirl in–so if you’re reading Nygil, please help! These children are talented and need positive role models. Surely there is a list of talented instructors that these precious dancers can train sans Moms.
Don’t you think Abby and the Moms have gone too far? When is enough, enough?
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