"Dance Moms: I Know What You Did Last Competition" Recap
What happened this week on "Dance Moms?" Well, Paige and Brooke’s mom Kelli was really angry the whole time, and then Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie’s mom) tried very hard to suck up to Abby Lee. But as usual, I will skip over all of the silly things that the moms did, and get to what is really awesome about this show: the kids and the dancing. Here are my top five moments.
5. Maddie’s Helen Keller solo. I have to admit, when Abby first described it, I was skeptical. I tend to cringe when little kids do serious solos about things they just don’t understand. But when Maddie got out there and acted her little butt off, I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes this little winner reminds me why she’s always on top of the pyramid. This was one of those times. I thought she deserved higher than a fourth place title.
4. Nia, the constant underdog, showed us how awesome she can be last week in her duet, so Abby rewarded her with a more mature role that, honestly, may have been a little beyond her technical level. But she embraced it! Though she only placed ninth (a failure in the world of Abby Lee Miller), she really showed that she’s working her way to being one heck of a dancer.
3. Maddie and Chloe’s duet was just really good. Abby even referred to this routine as her secret weapon against the two schools that came to the competition specifically to beat them. Well played, Abby. I dare anyone to find two other kids that can fouetté in unison like that. Phenomenal.
2. Mackenzie’s solo. Yes, it’s true that this girl can do no wrong in my eyes, but I was so proud of her for nailing that solo! Especially after all the pressure Abby put on her—she even threatened to throw little Mac back on stage if she ran off before her dance was over. But apparently having Abby manning the wings only makes her stronger. She remembered every shoulder shimmy and back walkover in that routine. A well deserved first place—plus, her first crown ever! (I might have just cried a little.)
1. What do you mean one kid can’t be on my list twice in a row? Mackenzie has officially nailed the first place spot (for the second week in a row, I might add) by saying this little gem: “I wish Justin Bieber was one of the judges. He’s cute.”
Will Mackenzie ever not make the number one moment on my countdown? My bet’s on no, but check back next week to find out!
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.
For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.
Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.
Lani Dickinson's power, grace, and raw presence make her a standout with AXIS Dance Company, whose mission is to change the face of dance and disability by featuring a mix of disabled and non-disabled performers. Born in China, Dickinson was adopted by an American couple and started dancing at 8 in Towson, MD. She attended the Boston Ballet School for two summers, studied at the Idyllwild Arts Academy for the last two years of high school, and graduated with a dance degree from Alonzo King LINES Ballet's BFA program with Dominican University of California. In 2015, she joined AXIS and won a Princess Grace Award. Catch her this month during AXIS Dance Company's 30th-anniversary season—and read on for The Dirt!
Week five of "Dancing with the Stars" proved to be one of the best weeks of the season so far. (And we're not just saying that because Mickey made a cameo debut on the piano during one of the routines—although that certainly didn't hurt!) Everyone brought their A-game, and with such a fun theme the contestants were able to really let their guards down. There was true sincerity in their dancing that we hadn't seen before. But not all Disney stories end with a "happily ever after," and one couple still had to hang up their dancing shoes.
If there's one week you should watch all the routines of it's undoubtedly this one... But, ICYMI, scroll below for our highlights of the night.