i posted a status update a few days ago and surprisingly got a lot of comments about the poison that is dance moms. dance moms airs on lifetime and is a reality tv show based on moms and their young dancers competing and training at a studio. abby lee miller is the owner/director of ALDC and runs a competition team of jr elite dancers that travel weekly to dance comps competing new numbers learned that week.
- dance studios do not learn new routines weekly to compete weekly. we choreograph, clean, refine numbers all season long. numbers are set at the beginning of the season usually september-january then refined for regional comps march-may then onto nationals in the summer. you are not given a solo based on the previous weeks comp. you are given a solo at the beginning of the year, decided on by your director, and then rehearsed till it feels great and ready for stage. many dancers on the team may have solos and may compete against each other but thats just how things go.
- the pyramid is not a real thing. i can’t speak for every studio out there but i can speak for some quality ones. the pyramid is just another way to place a child (all under the age of 14) under another “more talented” child. yes i will say that on a team, just like any sports team, one child is probably going to be better than the rest but it sickens me that they are rated in front of each other and their moms. i can imagine how i would feel being rated in front of my peers as an adult and as a teen that would be multiplied 10 fold. the need to be the best, please abby lee, and please the parents, is damaging on those kids.
- the favoritism is astounding. this post is not to dismiss the talent of those kids in anyway. they are fantastic but the fact that it is all about maddie is silly. maddie is talented yes and deserves those front spots but should be subject to the same rules as the others. that’s a tough balance sometimes because there has to be a dancer in the back row and there has to be one front and center. yes the best ones will be in the front but all should be treated equal and respected by the teacher/director.
- abuse. i don’t know what is written for t.v. versus what is real but i can’t believe the things that come out of abby lees mouth in front of those kids and moms. there is NO respect for the art or for the dancers. i believe that as a dance teacher of young girls and teenagers its my responsibility to shape them as artists and dancers that can get hired in this business. great dancers but even more importantly great people. ive read that abby lee has law suits against her for alleged abuse and who knows what will come of that but if i had my child involved in that i would not subject her to that treatment.
- fame. the fame is poisonous. ALDC held open auditions to join the team or replace the current cast (abby always threatening that one) and tons of little dancers showed up! why? for the fame. i’m sure they didnt show up for great training because we have seen how that goes. so much money and attention is going into this show and tarnishing what we do. i spend so many hours in the studio with those kids and its nothing like what is portrayed. why are we not celebrating all the good? screaming, hitting, degrading kids is apparently whats cool and circulating like wildfire. its quite sickening and it needs to change.
its a negative post and i know that no one involved with dance moms will ever read it but if i can make a small difference by putting awareness out there then great. our business is filled with the good and bad but i feel that studio life, specifically working with kids, should be a positive experience for young dancers. there is a way to motivate teenagers and a way to tear them down. i choose to motive, love, and inspire these kids. (i do have my moments of failure when i want to scream and therefore not perfect) but its important they love what they do. they spend SO many hours at the studio i bet that i see more of a parents child during the week than they do. i can only imagine how those dance mom’s dancers feel about themselves after a rehearsal with abby. each time i have seen the show i just want to reach out through the screen and hold them! ALDC is NOT the example. it is NOT how we should model our studio life and it is NOT how we motivate talented dancers.