"Dance Moms: Recital Rebellion" Recap
Kendall got a chance to shine this week.
It’s recital week at the Abby Lee Dance Company! A hectic time for every dancer and dance mom, studio showcases come with the stress of crazy costume changes, remembering months and months of choreography and the pressure of performing in front of your family and friends. The ALDC showcase never fails to deliver all of the above—not to mention the inevitable drama. Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from this week.
AWKWARD: Pyramid time. Paige and Brooke take the bottom two slots, much to Mom Kelly’s dismay. In an effort to defend her kids, she challenges Abby’s decision to place Maddie higher up despite her costume malfunction—a retort that results in Abby appeasing Kelly by ordering Maddie to drop and give her 20 pushups as punishment. To create even more tension, Abby reminds pyramid-topper Mackenzie that her toughest competitor, Asia, is back in Pittsburgh. It can’t be easy for a 7-year-old to hear that her new teammate could easily replace her.
AWESOME: Since recital prep isn’t time consuming enough, Abby surprised the girls with a photo shoot for an online magazine, Dance Track. In honor of their back to school issue, each dancer was assigned a character to represent a stereotype—and they rocked it. Only one girl would be awarded the opportunity to grace the cover…and Kendall won! The moment her cover was revealed, the girls, moms and even Abby grinned and screamed with delight and rushed to congratulate her. It was awesome to see everyone having a great time not only at the shoot, but also in celebration of Kendall’s accomplishment.
AWKWARD: In honor of the showcase, each girl would be performing a solo. The twist? One dancer’s routine would be brand new choreography, and that dancer was Paige. Abby explained this as an opportunity, but Mom Kelly didn’t see it that way. Outraged that Paige was the only dancer learning new choreography during this hectic week, a screaming match ensued, ending with Kelly pulling both of her girls from the show. With Paige’s slot open, Abby announced that one girl could add an additional new solo. When no one spoke up, Abby volunteered Maddie. So uncomfortable. While Maddie’s solo was undeniably beautiful, any attentive "Dance Moms" fan knows it wasn’t new: This was the same solo she performed during her visit to the AUDC set.
AWESOME: Although Paige and Brooke were missed, the remaining dancers seriously brought their A-game. Shown in an awesome montage of turns and jumps, the girls’ solos looked polished and technically flawless. Asia delivered the attitude despite her pants being on backwards (whoops), and Kenzie nailed her routine even after a pre-performance mini meltdown. Throughout the solos, the moms beamed with pride in the audience, not just for their own children, but for all the girls on the team. It looks like a week without score sheets did the group some good!
AWKWARD: Abby quickly filled Paige’s slot, but Brooke’s remained open, and her solution was inviting Mom Jill to perform a tango number. Fun fact: Jill learned this number as a contestant in “Dancing With the Celebrities of Pittsburgh,” a local fundraising event—where she took home the first place trophy! All was going well until moms Christi and Melissa brought roses and a crown onto the stage at the end. Abby was NOT pleased with their impromptu appearance. You can watch Jill’s winning performance here:
AWESOME: What’s an episode of "Dance Moms" without a show-stopping group number? In honor of the showcase, Abby choreographed an upbeat musical theatre routine, “Sugar Babies.” (Anyone else remember the showcase group routine, “Sugar Daddy,” from Season 1? They’ve come so far!) The girls looked strong and sassy, and their acting skills were spot-on. I’d love to see this full dance, as well as all the senior company dances we only saw split-second glimpses of. Looks like I’m going to have to get my hands on an ALDC Showcase DVD!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Is it gonna be cray-cray?” —Kristie Ray, anticipating her first recital with the ALDC
Next week, it’s back to normal as the ALDC prepares for yet another competition (complete with Candy Apples.) Our team is still incomplete, so let’s hope the Hyland crew makes a triumphant return!
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.