Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller, and the world of dance: My Review

1, 2, 3, kick, and turn 2, 3, 4.  These are the words that come out of the mouths of all dance teachers teach, from the time a child starts taking dance at the age of 2 or 3 years old, until that person says no more.   Some take it for fun, while others take dance in hopes to have a career out of it. 

I wanted to write this review for a long time, but I hesitated.  My reasons are simple…I am a former dancer.   Every year since the age of 23, when I was told by my father that I needed to get a real job, I have wanted to get back into dancing.  As a child and into my teens, I took jazz, ballet, and tap.   I loved every minute of it and I could not wait to come to dance class.  It wasn’t that my life at home was bad, but I could not wait until I learned some new move, or enhance a technique that I was having problems with.  The following review are the problems I have with the Abby Lee Miller Dance Company, and the sensation known as Dance Moms.

About October or November of 2011, I was sitting in my office/living room turning the television.  I had grown tired of the police shows, comedy shows, and yes even the cooking shows.   To me on that day, I thought that television had gone to pot (as my grandfather used to say-still do not know what that means).  I turned to the Lifetime Channel (my favorite movie channel) to see if there was a movie on that I have not seen.   I got to the channel, and saw this fat lady (yes ladies, Abby is FAT), SCREAMING to the top of her lungs at these tiny young ladies in the middle of the dance studio.   I thought, “Wow how mean of her.”   I started to get intrigued with this overweight dance teacher.   First of all, NONE of my dance teachers never looked like that.  My teachers were fit, and trim, and can actually do the dance routines they gave me.  
As I watched this show, the camera quickly turn back to the moms in their little room they sit in while waiting on their budding dancers.   Instead of talking about how they are going to have a little powwow with Miss Abby for berating their child, they were talking about each other.  One person did something the other mom, and she was not right for doing so.   I thought, “OK, I get it, another reality show gone wrong.”  After the class, none of the moms threatened to yank their child out of the studio to let them take a class at another one.   Here is a tip for you first time dance moms:  When your child’s teacher yell her or him for dancing on the wrong foot, or keeping them out past their bedtime 2 days before composition, and has no regard for schoolwork; run as fast as you can with your child behind you, go to the nearest authorities, and go to a studio where the children are treated with respect.   The last screamer I have seen on television was Kate Gosselin, and I will not get started on her.

As for Abby, herself, I have a list of things I find wrong with in addition to the weight problem.   First of all, what person in their right mind would have a dance studio without, I repeat, WITHOUT former dance training, AT THE AGE OF 14?  Abby said this herself on The View two weeks ago; in fact one of the Dance Moms was one of her first students at the age of 2.   Abby does not like to lose or make second place.  She likes pushes the envelope when it comes to the student’s costumes or the dance number.   It has to be skimpy or controversial.  Nothing is too good for Abby.  I also not like that she has a 7 year old dancing with 9-12 year olds.  The child, McKenzie cannot handle the load that the rest of the dance class has.  The only reason why the child is there in the first place is her sister, Maddie is in the class.  Abby even told the child once to stop crying, because it does not look professional and it shows that she will be “difficult to work with”.  She’s 7, and if a child that young does not get a routine, or does not feel like dancing, do not force the issue, lady.    However, I do like the fact that she does get results, no matter how bad it is. Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention, Abby has this pyramid thing.  It determines on how good everyone was for the week.   It also determines if a kid gets a solo or not.   Oh give me a break.  I am so glad I did not have to go through that.

I blame the moms on this.  As I said earlier, the moms are sneaky, conniving, and backbiting.   One mom, Jill, left the studio behind Abby’s back to take her child to a rival studio in the show called, Candy Apples Dance Studio.   Another mom last week, Chloe’s mom, forgot her name, allowed her daughter to dance in a commercial for Candy Apples, only for her dance solo to be cut in the final commercial.  All Abby said was, “serves her right for not telling me Chloe was doing the commercial.”   “I would have stopped her.”  These people act worse than the children. 

So why do I watch this show?  Maybe I was looking for something to replace Kate Plus 8.   Not a chance.   Of course, I could be replacing one screaming idiot for another, and there are 8 girls in the elite dance group.  Perhaps it is to learn what not to do when placing my soon to be adopted child in either karate or dance class.   I do want my child to be treated with respect by other children and adults.  Maybe I watch it to inform those who are thinking about place their budding dancer or baseball player, the do’s and don’ts of teaching a child, or they are thinking about teaching a child something, that children (and most adults) do not respond well with the screaming, the ranting and the putdowns that another person gives. Giving positive feedback always works at the end of the day.   It did for me, rather I was at dance class, doing schoolwork, taking music lessons, or even now when I make something nice for someone, or give a complement myself.  That does not mean that the child needs correction.  It means saying it in a way that a child or an adult would understand.   In my dance or music lessons, that would include showing me how to correctly do a Grande Pirouette in the second position or how to correctly execute a E¨ dim chord on the piano. If I ever got yelled at, I would shut down and not do it at all.  Who knows why these reality shows are watch.

Give me your opinions about it.   I have giving you mine.   It could be anywhere from “I love this show”, “Abby and the kids are great”, to “Abby should not be running a studio” and “the Moms are all whack jobs, who have nothing better to do”   All I know is the day that I meet someone like Abby Lee Miller, a woman with no real dance experience, and no children of her own, I will run far, far, away with my child behind me.   Dance shoes and all.  5, 6, 7, 8, and turn.