Abby Lee Miller is a force of Nature. I honestly think that, had she not become a dance instructor, she would have made an outstanding Drill Sergeant at Parris Island. There is no doubt in my mind that she does know how to teach young people to dance. These girls (and boys) are a thing of beauty when they take the stage. They also seem to win nearly every competition they enter.
It took me some time to understand the manner in which she teaches, as well as getting over the way she talks to everybody – students, parents and competing dance instructors. She speaks in terms that could be seen as, well, indelicate. She is very, very loud. As a matter of fact, Abby seems to have a chronic case of laryngitis. I do understand the message, however, and she is always true to it. You came here to dance, so practice, compete, be a team and don’t whine about it. First and foremost, she is the unrelenting coach of a team, not quite reaching the intensity of Bobby Knight, but that’s only because I haven’t seen her throw a chair at a dancer yet. She’s a little harsh but she’s getting results.
The girls understand this better than their Moms do, though. This is one slightly tilted group of women. For those of you who watch, you know what I’m talking about. For those who haven’t seen them, tune in, just once, and you will find out what I mean. Their lives are devoted to this dance studio. They come to every rehearsal, travel to competitions, sew costumes, do the girls’ hair and makeup and quake at the sound of Abby Lee’s voice. Do not even consider missing any of these things if you’re a dance mom. I don’t care if you’ve had open heart surgery. Work, spouses, and other life events don’t phase Abby. She will let you know that you are nothing to her and then tell your child that Mom doesn’t care enough about you. Wow.
In another galaxy, far, far away we have the competing studio, run by Cathy, called Candy Apples Studio. Now, Cathy is a very different sort of teacher. From what I’ve seen, beating Abby Lee overrides anything else in her life. She has tried to woo other Moms over to her own studio with alcohol and bribery. She has played fast and loose with Birth Certificates in order to get her
35 five year old slightly older students into competitions outside of their age group. Abby got wind of that move and, well, the rest is history.
Tonight, the dance troupe traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to compete in a “Hollywood Vibe” show. Chloe, who is at the top of the infamous pyramid this week, and Maddie have solos. There is going to be a trio dance number and then a group number about bullying. Nia is suppose to dance the role of the schoolgirl bully but Holly nixes that idea. She is afraid that Nia is being stereotyped. Holly also didn’t like it, on an earlier occasion, when Abby had Nia dance in a costume Holly considered too ethnic. Perhaps Holly should have had a conversation with Judith Jameson about this.
The costumes for the bullying dance cause the mothers all sorts of anxiety – a constant state of mind for them, I think. They think the outfits make the girls look like prostitots. They’re not too far off. They are exactly like what Britney Spears wore in her “Baby One More Time” video, complete with pigtails.
The two probationary Mom Jill and Leslie, are not happy about anything Abby is doing with regard to their daughters, Kendall and Peyton, respectively. There is more cattiness dished out between them and all of the other mothers. They have one of their Mom lunches and Leslie calls out Christi on her mothering skills.
Well, the dancers dance their dances. Maddie wins for her solo and Chloe’s doesn’t even place. The trio doesn’t win and the group doesn’t win. Oh Lord, get out of Abby’s way. Abby decides to place the loss at Peyton’s feet and asks the girl what she thought about her performance. Peyton tells Abby that she thought she did a better job than the other girls. Even I knew enough to take cover at that point. Abby, in no uncertain terms, tells Peyton and her mother that it is her job alone to criticize the others, that it is what she is paid for. I think that Leslie may be looking for another studio. The bright side of this episode is that Cathy and her Candy Apples were absent.
By the way, Lifetime is happy with the success of “Dance Moms”. They are adding the six episode spinoff “Dance Moms: Miami” to its lineup. It will feature the Stars Dance Studio with instructors Victor Smalley and Angel Armas.