Thursday, 2 February 2012

Dance Moms!

Love it or hate it, Dance Moms is Lifetime's number one reality drama. Set in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania at the Abby Lee Dance Company, it follows a group of girls in their early dance careers and their mothers who support them.

At first glance that summary is not at all appealing, but this is a show--like the ad proclaims--you have to see to believe. I had no idea what Dance Moms was until I overheard some senior ladies at work chatting about it one afternoon at the lunch table. They were cackling and talking down to one another as if it were a GOP presidential debate. I mean, they were really going at it and you could hear them two floors down. So, nosy little me went went over there and asked: "What's up?"

"This is not an interest of yours Tyson," one of them said.

"Well tell me about it and I'll see if you're right."

So they did, and I wasn't intrigued or turned off at that instant; in fact, I was simply nonchalant about the whole thing. As luck would have it, it was a Tuesday and, if you know me, I usually have NOTHING to do on Tuesdays besides eat, watch TV, prank call the neighbors and sleep. Yeah, my life is absolutely riveting! Anyway, I switched the channel to Lifetime and hunkered down with my Milky Way (I love these bars of heaven) to see what the fuss was about. Well, by the end of the show I was awash with emotion, namely confusion: "Why is Abby so mean to those girls?! And Why do those moms put up with her crap!? And why is Maddie always treated better than everyone else?! And why is there a pyramid to belittle their self esteem!? And why is she teaching dance if she's so big!? And why is--?" You get the idea.

It was the most interesting, wrong, inspiring, high school-like thing I had ever seen. Sorry I can't sum it up with an adjective but this show is really, really fascinating. Am I a perv for saying that?      

Abby Lee Miller is a heavy-set dance teacher in her forties with no children and no husband. She is the owner of  the Abby Lee Dance company which comprises over sixty young and talented dancers; yet from that crop only about six of those are in an elite group strictly for competitions, and it is this very group the show follows. Abby isn't physically able to teach the girls the various routines so she has a young alumni do it for her. Instead, she often sits in a chair and barks orders at the girls, much to the disdain of their mothers who watch their daughters from a skybox. The moms will see their daughters being humiliated and complain about the treatment among themselves. Sometimes they'll accost Abby for her actions and receive a sound vocal whupping from the dance teacher, often to the tune of: "This is my studio and if you don't like it you can go somewhere else!"

"Well she's screwing me, I can feel it!"

This occurs every hair-pulling episode and not once has the mothers so much as withheld their daughters from practice for at least a day. No! They return episode after episode to subject their girls to the same treatment. Surprisingly enough, Maddie, the star of the dance studio, who won every competition in season one, is never yelled at--at least on camera. Her rival, Chloe, and her mom often receive Abby's wrath; and let's not forget Kelly, the mother of Paige and Book, who disses and cusses Abby almost routinely.

Despite all this, Abby and her girls win nearly everything, losing once or twice all season. Most people scorn Abby for her chastisement of the young ladies and then there are those who understand her biting ambition. I'm with the latter. She is a woman who, like she often reminds us, has nothing in this world but her reputation and her name--no little ones at home, no husband to cuddle with at night. In reality, I feel sorry for Abby. She isn't a bad woman at heart, you can see it--simply a bit too... fervent.

If anything, the show is a minute look at the world of child entertainment, which includes pageants, tv and movie auditions, singing competitions and the like. What goes on there--rivalries, bickering, favoritism and mean girl antics--are all the norm in an industry where you can be in today and out tomorrow (very much like the writing industry IMHO). Now I know there is a show that depict far younger girls engaged in pageantry (don't know the name) and one instance where the mom dressed the child up as a hooker from Pretty Woman. Those shows don't and will never appeal to me, but Dance Moms is different because (get ready for this) it's what would happen in a geriatric High School. The only difference is there are no boys to swoon over and instead of competing to see who is hotter/better, it's their offspring that are put to the test. It's quite something, I'll tell ya that.

I find this sort of thing entertaining because who doesn't like High School drama? Surely it's the fifty two million who made this show a hit, and the countless more that tune in to the new season. Oh, and the dancing is good too. I almost forgot it's about dancing. I'll admit, Maddie is an amazing dancer and I don't think it's 'cause she gets special treatment--she understands the music and what a performer is. If you look at her speak about dance you'll see it in her eyes--this kid is a natural, and Abby knows it. Chloe is good too, but she doubts herself too much, and I have a feeling it's 'cause of the way Abby treats her. Brooke needs to do something else for a bit, her heart isn't there at the moment. As for her sister, Paige, I don't know much about her, so I'll leave it at that. I think Mackenzie is going to be a champion just like her sister Maddie, and Nia is so talented; I'm impressed by her acrobatic ability, but she doesn't understand dance and performance as yet, however, when she does--good lord!--people better watch out!

From left: Maddie and her mom Melissa; Nia and her mom  Holly;  Maddie's sister Mackenzie; Brooke and Paige and their mom Kristy; Abby Lee Miller; Chloe and her mom Christi.

If you haven't watched Dance Moms, check it out--it's a riot--; and if you have, then tell me what ya think. Let's do like those ladies at my work and prattle like a bunch of prissy birds in a nest of thorns, leaves and prissy things. I actually have no idea what that means. : /


L.C. said...

Dude, stop. You're almost making me interested enough to try watching it. :-)

T.D. McFrost said...

Really? Even with the terrible spelling and grammatical errors? I honestly forgot to revise it before posting. I was in such a rush to get ready for work I truly forgot.

But yeah, this show is crazy and, as a guy, I don't understand why the moms put up with Abby. I think it's for TV.

ryan field said...

Okay. Have to watch this now. But on DVR, so I can speed forward if I want. I have to admit a secret attraction to things like this.

Angela Cothran said...

As a mom of a 7 year old dancer, I would never let anyone talk to my daughter like Abby talks. I don't understand why bad behavior is so riveting on TV.

McKenzie McCann said...

That dance studio sounds like it's all politics.

I haven't seen the show, but Abby sounds a lot like Pat Summitt, the University of Tennessee women's basketball coach.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

An interesting review. This might be something that I could watch. I'll have to record an episode on my DVR.

inluvwithwords said...

Ack! I can't even stand the commercials.

jonyangorg said...

I can't get enough of this show. It's wrong in all the right ways.

Margo Kelly said...

Hmm. Interesting. I don't watch it. But, I am a new follower from the writers' campaign. Nice to meet you. :)

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