Dance News

"Dance Moms: Guess Who's Back?" Recap

This week on “Dance Moms”: Jill and Kendall came back, and Abby dealt with it surprisingly well—until Jill started being her old awful self and Abby went nutso. Later, they all fought over a hair bow. But let’s skip to the good moments. Here are my top 5:

5. The “Drop Dead Diva” verdict is in—and Maddie got the part! As expected, the moms handled the news terribly. No one was this upset when Chloe snagged a role in a music video or a scholarship to Joffrey, but this was apparently unacceptable! It’s so sad that Maddie can’t be excited about her accomplishments too, but she was oh-so-humble and oh-so-cute. She obviously deserved this opportunity. Moms, get over it.

4. Paige got a solo, but no more mommy-ography allowed. Her choreography was sassy, and it looked really hard! A well-deserved 6th place win. But then she had to go and do a standing back tuck on a cement floor. Shocker of shockers, she hurt herself. Buzz killed.

3. Laquifa’s back! The original Laquifa solo was one of my favorite Nia moments, so I was pumped when Abby decided to choreograph a sequel. And this "Working Girl" number blew her last attempt out of the water! Her character was perfect, and her death drop at the end was pure awesome. Even sweet little Maddie was inspired to show off a little swagger in the audience. Nia got a standing ovation (!), plus ninth place and the “Fiercest Attitude” award.

2. The Twilight dance! Where should I begin? Abby brought in Nick, a senior dancer, to play the evil vampire that seduces all the little girls. What a hunk. Everybody was happy, except for Mackenzie (see #1). Then Abby killed the mood by deciding to cut a bunch of girls on the day of the competition. Paige eliminated herself with her genius attempt at gymnastics. Then Kendall (duh) and Nia got chopped as well. The end result? The piece looked really cool, and got first place! Everybody’s happy again.

1. Mackenzie climbed to the top of my recap pyramid with this little gem in reaction to Nick joining the team: “I think boys are icky. Icky. Icky. Icky. Icky!” Gotta love her.

We have to wait two whole weeks until the next installment, but it looks like it's going to be a good one! See you back here for another recap. In the meantime, let me know what you thought of this week's episode.

 

Photo by Lee Gumbs, courtesy Taja Riley

Taja Riley's bold, full-out presence and unique ability to mix hard-hitting hip hop with smooth, sensual choreography paved the way for her success in the commercial industry. She's danced with music icons like Chris Brown, Janet Jackson, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Pitbull, and Bruno Mars, and has assisted with choreography for Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour, Demi Lovato's Skyscraper tour, and Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter tour. She also appeared in Beyoncé's groundbreaking visual album Lemonade. Raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Riley grew up training at Denise Wall's Dance Energy. Currently, she's on faculty at New York City Dance Alliance, where you can catch her touring the convention circuit. —Courtney Bowers

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via ew.com

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New York City Ballet in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (via @nycballet on Twitter)

We all suffer from Nutcracker fatigue sometimes. After a zillion performances, it's hard not to. But there's nothing to restore your little-kid sense of Nutcracker wonder like a look at the sheer scale of a world-class Nut.

New York City Ballet's iconic production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker opens on Friday, and for the past week, the company has been Tweeting out some seriously eye-popping #NutcrackerNumbers. The stats cover everything from the number of jingle bells used on each Candy Cane costume (that'd be 144) to the watts of light used in the show's grand finale (ONE. MILLION. WATTS.).

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Oh hey there, Hallmark Channel! The producer of all those sweet, homey movies best watched in your PJs with your mom has a super dance-y film on its holiday lineup this season: A Nutcracker Christmas. And the casting is—to use a very Hallmark-y pun—perfectly on pointe.

A Nutcracker Christmas tells the story of a talented professional dancer, Lilly, whose supportive sister dies just as Lilly is about to perform the role of Clara in The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet. (Nit-picky fact-checking: In New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, she's known as Marie and danced by a child, but OK.) Lilly's boyfriend and dance partner, Mark, keeps her from performing in the show, which makes Lilly declare she'll never dance again. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Lilly's niece, Sadie, is about to dance Clara in a different company's Nutcracker—a company run by, of all people, Mark. And tons of drama ensues.

Yes, it's a whole lot of plot to wrap your head around. But the real story here is that Sadie is played by none other than the phenomenal Sophia Lucia, and the ever-dashing Sascha Radetsky is also involved in the project. (Radetsky's exact role is unclear from the press material, but he seems like a pretty natural fit for Mark, no?) The odds seem good that we'll get the gift of some very high-quality dancing. Merry Christmas to us!

Sophia Lucia showing off those banana feet (via @sophialucia5678)

You can catch A Nutcracker Christmas on December 10 at 8 pm. Get your slippers and hot cocoa ready.

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