"Dance Moms: Nationals 90210" Recap
Abby Lee Dance Company goes to Nationals! Considering how awesome everyone dances, there’s an awful lot of crying in this episode that I could live without. I’ve also chosen to ignore the Candy Apples in this recap, because they were just too annoying. (Although I did think the thirty seconds of Cathy’s creepy cackle perfectly illustrated her personality.) With that said, on with my top five moments:
5. Not that Abby generally holds back when insulting her students, but Abby calling Paige stupid was below the belt. Kelly storms out. Silver lining? This means she’s outside and free when she gets a call offering Paige a photo shoot. Yay Paige! We’re not really sure what this photo shoot was for, but it was a nice moment in the spotlight. She really is a beautiful kid.
4. So there's this new trend on “Dance Moms” where Abby waits until the last minute to cast a routine. It’s not fun for the girls, it’s not fun for the moms and it’s really not fun for me. This week, the routine in question is a solo, and the three contenders for the spot are Chloe, Kendall and Nia. In an unexpected twist, Abby makes the moms be the judges. Shocker of shockers, all the moms choose their own kids to win the part. Who will break this three-way tie? Mom Melissa, of course. (Do we think producers were upset about the lack of mom drama last week?) Melissa picks Nia! Yay Nia! I’m so proud of… wait, Abby doesn’t want Nia. You mean this whole letting-the-moms-choose idea was just a ruse?! Abby convinces Melissa to choose Chloe, which makes Kendall cry. "We already knew who was going to get it," says sad-face Kendall. Excellent point. Chloe’s happy to get the part, but she’s feeling the pressure. And now Chloe’s crying, too. I told you there was a lot of crying in this episode. Well done, Abby. Well done.
3. Maybe I’m still coming down from the excitement of meeting Maddie and Chloe last week, but I love that these two are constantly cheering each other on instead of pulling each other’s hair out. They both competed solos this week, danced beautiful, and (most importantly) beat Justice! As Abby so eloquently says, “Justice has been served!” Maybe the judges were as turned off by all the fake blood in his routine as I was. Anyway, back to the girls. Chloe’s beaming smile backstage while Maddie performed was just priceless. Time for crowning: Maddie got second place, and Chloe got first! Maddie was so happy for her. Mom Christi was a mess. So was I. Go Chloe! Cue the victory music.
2. Remember how nothing makes me happier than seeing Mackenzie dressed up like an animal? So obviously I was thrilled when Abby announced that this week, little Mac would be a killer bee. Wait, is that the same solo music that Vivi once used? Uh oh, I sense impending drama… Luckily, Mackenzie was so darn cute that nobody stayed angry for long. Basically, she put Vivi’s sad shimmying to shame. A well-deserved first place. “She’s not Maddie. She’s Mackenzie, and she’s an amazing little dancer,” said mom Melissa. Truth.
1. A moment of silence at a dance competition is a very rare thing, but Abby manages to inspire one with this week’s group routine. “My Last Text,” about a group of kids who die because they’re on their phones in the car (creepy!) was well danced, mature and super poignant. The audience was in tears and even Cathy called it “absolutely brilliant.” Not surprisingly, this number wrapped up the Abby Lee Dance Company’s clean sweep. All in all, an excellent way to end the season.
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.
For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.
I started dance classes at a young age. By the time I was 3, I was training at The Dance Club, and I grew up there. I started with the basics—ballet and jazz—and eventually added tap, tumbling, contemporary, and hip hop.
Early on, I did compete. I remember my first time: I did a trio at a small local competition, and it got first place. The trophy was as tall as I was, and I loved it. I attended conventions as a mini, and had the opportunity to take classes from Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, Andy Pellick, and Joey Dowling-Fakhrieh. There was so much variety—I was in awe.
For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.
My mom was a dancer growing up, and she went on to become a dance teacher, so I've really grown up in the studio. I started classes when I was 2, and by the time I was 9, I was training at The Dance Club and knew I wanted to dedicate all my time to dance.
Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.
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.