Dance Moms: taking crazy to a new level

The new season of Dance Moms has students at Carlmont falling out of their seats with laughter and shock, as the life of a competitive dancer is over-exaggerated to the max.

“It’s absolutely hilarious how ridiculous the show is,” laughed sophomore and dancer Charley Bernardo, “Pretty much all the drama on the show is non-existent at real competitions.”

Set at Pittsburgh’s renowned Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC), owned and operated by notoriously demanding dance instructor Abby Lee Miller, Dance Moms is a reality television series that follows a few young girls’ early steps on the road to stardom, and their possessive mothers who are there for every rehearsal, performance, and fight.

“The moms on the show swear and fight and scream right in front of their nine or ten year old kids,” said senior Olivia Reidy, “The dance moms at my studio are nothing like that. They would never sabotage one another to get their kid on top or have a heart attack over the wrong shade of lipstick.”

The series itself focuses on the highs and lows that surround a competition season to deliver an intriguing and dramatic look at the casts’ frantic pursuit of the ultimate National Dance title.

Miller frequently states on the show that her girls “are the best.
They are winners and there’s no place for them to be except first. They’re never second because those who are in second place are the first ones to lose.”

Dancer and junior Emily Heck gushed about the young dancers’ skills, remarking that “the little girls on that show have pure talent. That’s the only good thing about the series; it showcases the real amazing artistic abilities that these kids have.”

The show is centered on the devoted Miller, who runs her school with an iron tap shoe, instructs her students, and deals with the constant irritations of their over-the-top mothers who go to great lengths to help their children’s dreams come true.

“It’s so funny to watch the moms yell at Abby [Miller] because their faces get really red and they never win,” said senior and dancer Melanie Carlson.

As the show continues to become more popular, Dance Moms poses a tough question; what really goes on behind the scenes in the fast-growing and controversial art of competitive dance?

Like Reidy and Bernardo, sophomore Jessie Real is also a competitive dancer and had a few things to say about the show.

“Abby Lee is a monster. The way she yells at the girls is insane and the pressure she puts on them is unbelievable. Real competitions are totally not death matches like they are portrayed on the show. They’re intense and kinda stressful, but they’re also so much fun,” admitted Real.

“Dance competitions are split up into categories, just like on the show. The big difference is that the series only shows when the girls win in individual categories, not in the actual overall awards, which is where scores really count,” continued Real.

Constantly pressured to win by Miller’s strict discipline and harsh style of teaching, her students and their mothers are pushed to the limit emotionally, physically, socially and financially as they tirelessly rehearse every day for weekly dance competitions throughout the country.
Some viewers watch from a completely unbiased point of view, as they are not dancers and see the show through a fresh viewpoint.

“I watched the show once with my girlfriend, and it was pretty intense,” said junior Connor Fenech, “It’s like a reality show for psycho-moms with an occasional good dance or two. I wish I could do flips and tricks like the dancers ‘cause they’re awesome.”
Sophomore Ryan Pau agrees with Fenech’s opinion of the series.

“Dance Moms is like that stupid Toddlers & Tiaras show. The moms and the dance teacher live their lives through the children. They don’t let them have the true feeling of being a child and only care about the money and publicity they get from the show,” said Pau.

Dance Moms uniquely captures this outrageous and dynamic interplay among teacher, dancer, and parent, as Miller commits herself to bring out the best in her students and mothers are willing to dedicate themselves to be part of one of the best dance teams in the nation.


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