"Dance Moms: She's a Maniac" Recap
A very Fosse group dance.
We’re back to one-hour “Dance Moms” episodes, which means the focus is on the dancing instead of the moms’ drama. Hurrah! Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from this week's show:
AWESOME: Rachelle Rak makes a guest appearance! Rachelle, or “Sas,” is Broadway royalty, so us DS editors were already obsessed with her. (Check out her “Letter to My Teenage Self” here.) But seeing how well she works with my favorite kiddos makes me love her even more. The group routine, “Gold Digger,” is Fosse-esque, so the moms freak out that the kids are dancing with turned-in feet (the horror!). The choreography is great, and the kids pick up the new style in a snap, rocking those turned-in feet and hip swings. But the best part is that Rachelle isn’t afraid to stand up for Mackenzie when Abby tries to kick her out of the dance. Abby may have taken all the credit for their first place win, but the true winner at this competition is definitely Sas.
AWKWARD: Of course, Rachelle looks unbelievable in her classic high-waisted black leotard, so the moms get jealous. They have a party to wrap their body parts in seaweed or something, which is supposed to help them tighten up their “problem areas.” The idea that Rachelle’s years and years of dancing (not some strange organic beauty product) may be the source of her awesome bod doesn’t seem to occur to them, so instead they strip off their clothes and choose which body part deserves a little special treatment. Mom Holly even wraps her face, which is just confusing. They all look exactly the same afterward. I think it may be time to sign up for a dance class, ladies.
AWESOME: Chloe’s new rocker look. It’s her first solo since being suspended, so she comes back in style. “Black Heart” shows off her rock n’ roll side—crimped hair, pleather pants and all. At first, I wasn’t sure she could pull it off (this isn’t the ethereal bunhead we’re used to), but she totally nails it! First place!
Careful, Chloe: Faces like that will get you in trouble.
AWKWARD: Whatever Abby’s doing with Kendall. Sure, Abby gives her a solo, but then she makes her jog in place to “work on her stamina.” Last week it was all about Kendall’s faces, this week it’s all about her endurance. I think Abby’s sudden interest in Kendall may be more about punishing Mom Jill than it is about improving her daughter’s dancing—but there’s no harm in a little extra attention, right? Then, just before Kendall goes onstage, Abby makes her “sit the wall.” Kendall’s flapper routine is cute, but it could probably have been better if her thighs weren’t exhausted from that pre-performance workout.
AWESOME: Maddie and Mackenzie do a duet! As soon as Abby assigned this routine, I knew it would make it to the “awesome” list. Turns out, the choreography is kind of blah, but the combination of Maddie’s talent and Little Mac’s cuteness is just too much amazingness for one dance. Obviously, this sister act snags first place. Go Zieglers!
AWKWARD: Abby is the ultimate Debbie Downer. In the end, the girls sweep the competition once again and everyone’s thrilled—except Abby, who’s “appalled.” She tells Kendall she behaved badly in the wings and chastises Chloe for giving an in-character exit. Ugh. Just let them have their shining moment, Abby.
And now, the QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“I don’t like when Abby is always comparing me to Maddie, because I’m not Maddie. I’m Mackenzie.” —Mackenzie, who will hopefully never stop being proud of herself
Maybe the arrival of newcomer (and “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” alum) Asia Monet Ray will lift Abby’s spirits next week. I know I’m looking forward to seeing this little munchkin again! Until then, let me know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.