Absolutely outrageous are two words that perfectly describe the Lifetime reality show “Dance Moms.”
The show is set in Pittsburgh at the Abby Lee Dance Company. The owner, Abby Lee Miller, is shown as a dance dictator who cuts young girls down when they do not perform to her incredibly high and unrealistic standards. She is also shown telling the children, “I am your coach. Your mother is not your coach.”
Beyond berating the children, she is shown frequently getting into fights with the mothers and occasionally talking trash about them in her one-on-one camera interviews.
The mothers are then depicted as frustrated and fed up with the way Miller treats them and their daughters. They are often shown in a room overlooking the dance studio talking about how horrible Miller is and how they are ready to quit. They are also shown getting into big, blow-out fights with one another over one daughter receiving special dance treatment over someone else’s daughter and how it is not fair.
Basically, the mothers are shown as horrible stage mothers who are vicariously living through their young daughters.
However horrible these women are depicted, the show is nothing short of another trashy and addicting reality show.
Showing the full dance pieces mixed with the behind-the-scenes drama makes for entertainment interesting enough to sit through for 40 minutes a week.
This show reminds me of TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras,” except for the facts that the girls are older and instead of being placed in the pageant world, these mothers and daughters are placed in the dance world. These women pay a ridiculous amount of money to other people to teach their daughters a different skills so that they may go out there and compete and bring home another big trophy or pink sash. One dance mom, Christi, admitted that she pays near “$16,000 a year for dance.” And she adds, “Don’t tell my husband.”
There is no denying the talent of the children. Miller requires her “dream team” of dancers ranging in ages 6-13 to learn an entire dance and have it ready to perform every week. Along with the group number they all perform together, many of the girls are also required to learn a new solo piece to compete each week. These girls not only do what Miller asks of them, but they also win many of the competitions in which they compete.
The drama comes into play with all of the mothers believing their daughter is a star and has a future in dance. They get upset with their daughters placement on the pyramid each week. The pyramid is a strategy Miller uses to show who performed well the previous week and who did not. The poor performers are at the bottom of the pyramid, the girls who performed well but not all the way to Miller’s expectations are placed in the middle of the pyramid and the star performer from the previous week is placed at the top of the pyramid.
The mothers seem to believe that their issues with Miller have an effect on where their daughter is placed in the pyramid sequence. And, it seems as though the pyramid does not experience much change.
While it is obvious that parts of the show are cut and placed to make it seem as though there is more drama between these women than actually exists, it is done so in a way that makes the drama seem more interesting and worth taking the time to watch.