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Dance Moms

Dance Moms is an American TV show about a group of girls who are students at dance school The Abby Lee Dance Company, their mums and teacher and owner of ALDC Abby Lee Miller. The programme centres on the classes at the studio (in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and the dance competitions around the country that the group take part in. It's on the Lifetime TV channel and there have been 4 series (or seasons) so far.

The original girls were Maddie, Chloe, Nia, Mackenzie (Maddie's little sister) and sisters Brooke and Paige and the original mums were Maddie and Mackenzie's mum Melissa, Christi (Chloe's mum),  Holly (mother to Nia) and Brooke and Paige's mum Kelly. In the first series fellow dance teacher Cathy brought her daughter Vivi-Anne to the studio but she clashed with Abby and later left to concentrate on her own classes and dance group Candy Apples, based in Ohio. She has now become a major rival for Abby and ALDC and regularly goes up against them in competitions.

Later on Kendall and her mother Jill became part of the show. The others mothers didn't take to Jill at first, she was known as a "studio hopper" (going from studio to studio). She left and took Kendall to Cathy's studio but didn't get on too well there either, eventually returning to ALDDC.

We're currently on Series 3 in the UK and Asia and her mother Kristie have just joined the show. Asia was a contestant on Abby's TV dance competition Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition. Asia has since left, as have Brooke and Paige, following an incident where their mother Kelly and Abby had a bad fight, resulting in Abby filing assault charges against Kelly and Kelly suing Abby. You can read more on the story and watch the video (the fight happened during Episode 7 of Series 4) here: http://www.ibtimes.com/dance-moms-star-kelly-hyland-suing-abby-lee-miller-5-million-claims-aldc-coach-tried-bite-her-during

Kalani and her mum Kira were part of ALDC more recently but according to Wikipedia, Kira no longer dances with the group. I think she's still featured on the official website though, so I don't know. Other former dancers and their mothers include Payton and Leslie, Sophia and Jackie and Kaya and Nicaya.

Here is a clip from the show of the girls performing a dance called The Last Text. It's about the dangers of texting while driving.












My favourite dancer is Chloe because she just seems so sweet and she's good but she's always getting compared to Maddie. Maddie is one of the best dancers and Chloe is as well but Abby seems to worship Maddie and treat everyone else unfairly. (Although to be honest she hasn't treated Maddie too well sometimes either). And my favourite mum is Holly because she's the calmest and doesn't get involved in the drama as much. I also admired the fact that she used to have a job as well, she was a teacher and then a principal (headmistress) and she would juggle work with coming to Nia's classes and competitions. Abby seemed to resent  the fact that she wasn't there all the time and she's since given up work to devote more time to Nia's dancing.

There has been a lot of controversy over the fight between Abby and Kelly and the way  Abby treats her students. Kelly has made allegations against her. You never know what's really going on because it's all edited but Abby appears to be very hard on her students. I've heard that the professional dance world is hard. I know the belly dance world but only at an amateur level and you can get drama going on there at times, so it must be worse if you're professional! I don't think I could handle it, lol. I expect there are lots of teachers who are tough on their students but Abby seems to tear hers down, criticise a lot and even manipulate at times.

She pits Maddie and Chloe against each other ("healthy competition"?) and makes it clear that she believes Maddie is the superior dancer. She also lets the mums' behaviour influence how she treats the girls, which I think is wrong. It should be about the dancer, their ability and how hard they've been working, not about how their mother behaves. That shouldn't affect whether the student gets a solo or not. In one episode, Abby was annoyed at Chloe (I think it was when Chloe and Christi hadn't been there) and so she refused to speak her name (Chloe's), referring to her as "that girl over there", which seemed to me to be dehumanising. And she appears to be setting Chloe up to fail at times (like putting her into a competition with a hip hop dance when it isn't her strong suit and the girls haven't been taught hip hop that often and then getting annoyed when she doesn't get first place), which doesn't seem entirely sane to me if you want your dance company to win!

On the plus side Abby is obviously a good teacher with a reputation as one of the best, her students win often and she does have some good moments with the girls on the programme, especially Maddie. She was deeply affected by the death of her dog Broadway Baby and her mum died at the beginning of the year, so she hasn't had an easy time.

It can be difficult to tell with reality shows just how much is true to life but it's interesting to get an insight into the professional children/teens' dance world and I enjoy watching the series. If you're interested in an interview that talks about some of the things you don't see on the show, visit this link:

http://www.ibtimes.com/dance-moms-stars-talk-abby-lee-miller-child-abuse-allegations-kelly-hyland-fight-fake-cast-members


Watch a compilation of group dances here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7TeKOx_NYE

And here's a clip of one of my favourite moments, Kaya's fight with the mums, "I'm not a doctor like Holly, I'm from the hood!" lol

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psk5EKdRZ_8

 Here's a link to the Lifetime site for Dance Moms (US): http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/dance-moms

If you'd like to know more about the girls and follow them in their dance careers, check out these websites:

Chloe: www.chloe-lukasiak.com

Maddie and Mackenzie: www.ziegler-girls.com  (Note:  BEWARE of this site. The first time I went on this it was fine but this time it kept prompting me to update Java and when I tried, my anti virus told me it was a threat. I don't think it's the site itself but probably something got on there, so it might be ok later).

Maddie: www.maddieziegler.com

There is an individual Mackenzie site but it's been blocked because of active threats. :(

Brooke and Paige: www.thehylandsisters.com (Last updated 2013)

Brooke's Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DancerBrookeHyland?fref=ts

Paige's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DancerPaigeHyland?fref=ts

Nia: www.lovely-nia.com (Not updated since July 2013)

Kendall: http://kendallkvertes.com/


Update 3/4/14: I had a hard time finding much information on the Dance Moms cast before but the other day I found a Wiki with lots of info. Check it out here: http://dancemoms.wikia.com/wiki/Template:DancersNav

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