the poison that is dance moms


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


jessie ann


  • Lori Rogers
    March 13, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you! As a dance teacher I’ve been asked if my studios have ever been like hers. I hate that people are questioning putting their children in dance because of that woman! Abby Lee should be ashamed of herself!

    • jessie.james
      March 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Yep! I loved dance growing up (and still do) i hope this show is taken off the air so that kids and parents aren’t getting the tainted view of our world…

  • Judy Dickey
    March 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I think we have to keep in mind that reality TV is more often than not…NOT reality. I will say this – as a former dance mom myself….I did witness some of the drama that comes with being a dance mom. However, clearly the Moms on this show are willing to subject themselves and their children to the constant criticism and berating oozing from every pore of Abby Miller. And why? You got it! “Fame”! Aside from the financial payoff these women get…they acquire a fan base and begin to think of themselves as celebrities. Would ANY of these woman be on television…or the news…out in someone’s blog posts if not for the show? Of course not. These parents are selfish and self-deluded enough to believe that ANY time spent at that studio can result in anything good. It’s sad. It is also a testament to what lengths people will go to for a little recognition.

    • jessie.james
      March 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm


      Totally agree. im sure most of it is scripted, rehearsed, then filmed for exactly the drama they want. but i agree that the fame is kinda of an addiction in those situations. hopefully we can open up the dance world to understand it isn’t all about that ya know? Thanks commenting! Love hearing what everyone has to say!

  • An old dance mom
    March 14, 2014 at 5:01 am

    So true! I just came from Jump a dance convention and in just the last few years to now- it was crazy crowded, classes were cut short just for more competition entries, and there was a mass exodus for the dance room that the “dance mom” star was in. Not to mention that the dance moms in the audiences are so much ruder than before. It’s like they think there is a t.v. camera following them around laughing at their elitist behavior. I can’t believe folks think this is acceptable behavior to influence our children – our future – this way. It really breaks my heart.

    • jessie.james
      March 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Its tough to find that balance from wanting your kid to succeed to dance mom:) I hope that more kids than not love it for the art not the fame ya know? it breaks my heart too but making small steps to change it! thanks for commenting!!

  • Sarah
    March 14, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Not defending the show, but the pyramid thing is something thought up by TLC/the show.

    • jessie.james
      March 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      True…i’m sure most of it is scripted but shame on TLC for allowing that to happen:(

  • Tim Craskey
    March 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    I have judged dance competitions where the ALDC has attended. Abby Lee is a monster and competition staff was actually afraid of her. She is creating a shockingly awful mentality in the upcoming generation of professional dancers….so sad. And its pretty obvious that she loathes herself too.

    • jessie.james
      March 16, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      tim it really is so sad! and awful for our community if she is causing that much trouble everywhere she goes!

  • Joy Keitz
    March 14, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    No way is this for real ! This is ALL PUT ON ! They are getting paid for this ridiculous, stupid show ! I can not even stand to watch this ! I was a Dance Instructor for over 32 years and no way would any of my parents have put up with me if I acted like that Abby or whatever you want to call her B—-! Also if I had parents like those I would send them down the road to another dance studio! Dancing should be fun and not something that everyone is screaming and hollering at one another and students crying etc;

    • jessie.james
      March 16, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      I agree it is all scripted for the drama and it has got to go!

  • Lorra Whitmire
    March 15, 2014 at 12:33 am

    I agree with you on everything but I believe you left one point out. These mothers watch Abby scream at their young girls until they cry and keep bringing them back….all because they love being on TV. I think they are as bad as Abby!

    • jessie.james
      March 16, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      very true! i would NEVER subject my child to that!


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