A while back I posed a question to my Twitter followers to suggest shows they wanted me to review. I preferred controversial shows, something I could actually watch and find something to write about. After narrowing it down to Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms, I decided to go with Dance Moms. My mom watches the show, and after one episode I could see why people watch it week after week. And that isn’t really a positive statement.
I’ll begin with a synopsis of the show for those of you who are fortunate enough to have never seen it. It is a reality show on Lifetime about Abby Lee Miller, a choreographer and dance teacher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and her students–and their mothers…
I’ll start with the students, because I have the least to say about them. They all seem to be sweet girls, though I’m sure their personalities aren’t completely revealed on the show. They are all very talented young ladies–some more than others–ranging in ages from 7-15. They perform all styles of dance and, from what I’ve gathered, compete every weekend at dance competitions. They practice all the time, it appears from watching that they practice every day after school and compete on the weekends all over the country. And that is all I really have to say about the girls.
Next I’ll move on to Abby, the “star” of the show. How and why Abby Lee Miller became a choreographer and dance teacher is beyond me. She is a very…rotund woman. Morbidly obese. Completely incapable of dancing herself. She has choreographers who work for her, and from what I can see from watching the show, they do 90 percent of the work. Abby spends the majority of the time sitting on her butt screaming at the girls. Occasionally, VERY occasionally, she teaches the girls some things herself…but like I said, most of the time she is sitting down yelling. She yells so much she has a permanently hoarse voice. I’m not being negative toward her because of her weight. I’m no skinny model either, so I am not against overweight women on TV or doing whatever they want to do. I just find it odd that a woman of Abby’s girth is a dance teacher–someone that would usually be in good shape. I have gathered that she learned her skills for teaching dance from her mother who was also a dancer. I have no idea if Abby ever danced or if she only taught. You know what they say…those who cannot do, teach. Anyway, Abby seems to be very hard on these young girls, but I suppose that is only preparing them for the real world. A career in dance or any kind of entertainment can be very cruel. Under Abby’s direction, these girls should have no problem dealing with cruelty. She shows obvious favoritism to some of the girls and barely gives some of the other girls the benefit of a “nice job” when they don’t screw up their routines. This woman takes children’s dance entirely too seriously. It is her life. She demands that her girls win at very competition and if they don’t she screams at them and belittles them, making them feel worthless. She also blubbers like a baby if she doesn’t win, saying through the snot and the sobs that her reputation is ruined. Pathetic. I suppose that studio is her life, though.
Then there is Abby’s arch-nemesis, Cathy. Cathy is the owner and dance teacher of another studio nearby called Candy Apples. Cathy has a daughter who she is obsessed with. I don’t find fault in that, it’s good that she loves her daughter. Even though she owns her own studio, Cathy came to Abby’s studio to get her daughter, Vivi-Anne, into Abby’s competition team. While the poor child has no positive physical attributes–I’ll just say it, she’s homely–but she can’t help that. The one thing I noticed is that she really has no talent at dancing. I’m sure she has other talents, but dancing just isn’t one of them…but she continues to stay in dance classes and competition teams because her mother wants her to be a star. Cathy is one of the most obnoxious women I’ve ever encountered. She constantly tries to pick fights with Abby and the mothers of Abby’s students. She is an underhanded, shrill-voiced shrew. When things didn’t work out at Abby’s studio, Cathy took her daughter back to her own studio, rounded up a group of older, extremely talented girls and boys for her own dance team, and follows Abby’s team everywhere. She looks up Abby’s routines and choreographs routines for her own dancers to the same music, trying to steal the girls’ thunder. It’s pathetic. Most of the time she loses to Abby, but lately Abby has been losing. Cathy is really the most annoying person on the show…but not by much.
Then there are the women for whom the show is named…the dance moms. I have never seen so many immature women assembled in one place in my life. These women are the stereotypical dance moms you imagine. They are 100 percent living vicariously through their daughters and will stop at nothing to ensure their daughters are “the best” in Abby’s eyes. The main mothers are Holly, Kelly, Christy, Melissa, and Jill…
Holly is the most tolerable of them all, but she has her Ph.D. and has a very big head about it. From what I see, she seems to be the only one of the women with an education past high school or maybe a few years of college, so she always acts like she’s about three steps above Abby and the other women. I mean, congratulations to her for furthering her education, but she is not one bit better than anyone else. Like I said though, she is the most tolerable.
Melissa is the mother of two of the dancers, one of which is one of the best dancers in the group. She keeps her mouth shut a lot, but she is very sneaky. She kisses Abby’s butt constantly to ensure her daughters stay on top. The other moms hate her because her daughter wins more awards and they are so jealous they can’t stand it.
Kelly has known Abby the longest and even was one of Abby’s students when she was young. Her daughters are talented, but not as talented as some of the other girls, they seem to not care as much about it. She has a very short temper and it drives her crazy when her girls aren’t on top. Sh is a huge gossip and enjoys a good fight.
Christy has one daughter in the group and she is one of the better dancers. Though she is good, she still usually ends up second to Melissa’s daughter. She is very catty and stuck up. It is clear she is a rich wife who has nothing better to do than cart her daughter to dance competitions and fight with other women who have more talented daughters. Whenever there’s a big fight among the mothers, you can count on Christy being a part of it.
Jill is the new mom of the bunch. The other mothers don’t like her because she is obsessive about her daughter being the best. She thinks her daughter is the most talented dancer in the group and constantly fights with Abby trying to get her daughter ahead and get her solos. They other mothers also don’t like her because she is a studio hopper. If her daughter doesn’t get the attention Jill wants, she just packs up and goes to another studio.
So basically the show is all about grown women acting like spoiled high school kids. Constantly bickering and gossiping. Extremely rude to anyone new…and to each other. These women have the worst mouths, constantly cursing and name-calling. Setting an extremely bad example for their girls. Pre-teen and teenage girls are horrible enough without seeing their mothers act the way they do making them think that type of behavior is acceptable. Viewers watch the show for the fights. That is the basic draw. It’s unreal how incredibly nasty, underhanded, and downright despicable these women are. Most of them are married to rich men, have no education beyond high school (probably the reason why they think high school behavior is still acceptable for women in their 30s and 40s). These women are some of the cattiest people I’ve ever seen. People watch this show like you watch a disaster unfold on TV. You don’t watch it for the good entertainment value, you watch it just to see what unbelievable thing is going to happen next. These women are a disgrace to themselves. I mean they must get hate mail. They must get called out by people in their communities. I can’t imagine that not being the case. Every mom wants their child to be successful, but the level these women take the drama to is really unreal. I don’t recommend this show in any way. It is addicting, yes, but not in a positive way. Whenever I would watch it I would get furious. I can’t stand gossipy, catty women. I managed to avoid a great deal of the typical drama most high school girls endure. I can’t imagine what keeps these women returning week after week subjecting themselves and their daughters to that environment. I’ll never understand it. Dance moms gets an enthusiastic thumbs DOWN from me.