"Dance Moms: Tap Versus Hip Hop" Recap
Finally, an episode of “Dance Moms” that didn’t leave me feeling infuriated! This week, the hour was loaded with our favorite dancers, moms, choreographers and even some familiar drama. With Abby’s return from “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” filming came the return of the infamous pyramid, based not only on of the last competition’s results, but also on the girls’ reported work ethic in Abby’s absence. With a quick recap from each dancer (Brooke recorded a CD! Nia has added 4 classes per week!), we were caught up and ready to get back on track with the Dream Team. Here are my top AWKWARD and AWESOME moments from this week.
AWKWARD: Abby may have a snazzy new hairdo, but her demeanor has not changed; without missing a beat, she’s back in the studio dishing out the tough love. This week, the victim is none other than Mackenzie, who was awarded with a solo as a chance to earn first place while Asia is out of town. In case that didn’t make her feel bad enough, Abby tells her that she’s getting too old to be cute (I disagree), and that she’s all over the place. On top of everything, Abby’s frustrated with how exhausted Mackenzie is after a day at school—specifically, playing at recess. She strongly suggests (a.k.a. orders) that little Mack refrain from joining her friends on the playground, and makes sure Mom Melissa knows it.
AWESOME: This week, Chloe was given the challenge of a hip-hop solo. Having only performed hip-hop twice and taken just a handful of classes, she’s less than confident about the routine. As always, she handles the situation with grace, working hard with senior company dancer Payton to sharpen her skills. Abby explains that in order to succeed in the industry, it’s vital to excel in every style, not just your favorite. Great point! It’s good to see Payton back in the game, and even better to see how awesome her relationship is with Chloe. What’s not quite as awesome is the return of Mom Leslie, making a brief but memorable appearance in the observation mezzanine, much to everyone’s dismay.
AWKWARD: Things seemed especially extreme in the Mama Drama department this week (like when Melissa said she thinks everyone wishes she would die in a car crash…?? Eek!). I wanted the ALDC back, but I didn’t want to revisit the same issues that caused Melissa to file a lawsuit in Season 2. It’s kind of unclear how the blowouts started…something about Melissa’s failure to comply with the moms’ pact to prevent the girls from visiting the “AUDC” set. But things quickly escalated into screaming and storming out. The situation never really got resolved, and I’m nervous to see how the tension carries over into next week’s episode.
AWESOME: SOLOS! Mackenzie nailed every trick and remembered every step of her number—while rocking the most precious futuristic spacewoman costume in the world. She looked stronger than ever, and judges agreed—a well-deserved win! Chloe hit her hip-hop routine with confidence and strength, nailing her turns in some fancy glittered boots. Maddie’s tap (!!!) was outstanding. I can’t remember the last time we saw her do something other than lyrical, and I wish we could see more. Not to mention, she handled a costume malfunction like a pro—but come on, Melissa, we know you know better than to think Velcro could hold a costume together!
AWKWARD: In case we needed a refresher, we were reminded throughout the episode that, after a mysterious score sheet error, Maddie had received a higher overall score than Chloe at the last competition. Anyone who watched that episode will recall Abby reporting that “the competition came to her” to discuss the discrepancy, but this week, some new footage revealed that Abby had indeed brought the numbers to their attention. Skeptical all along, audiences (including Chloe and Christi) have now witnessed what really happened behind the scenes. What’s done is done, but Chloe has maintained her signature brave face and persistence.
AWESOME: The group dance, “Gone Too Soon,” required each girl to embrace the persona of a celebrity who had faced an untimely death. Featuring Whitney Houston, Selena, Amy Winehouse, Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, the girls were challenged to portray a story. Their costumes and makeup looked amazing—and the dancing was awesome! I knew the performance would be top notch from the footage of Kendall nailing 5 turns in rehearsals, but each girl seemed to have improved during the competition hiatus. The team’s technique looked strong, and they really earned that first place slot.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Sorry Kendall, you are NOT playing Selena Gomez.” —Abby Lee Miller
Next week, we’ll go behind the scenes at the ALDC annual showcase. Let’s hope the moms are back on speaking terms before then.
P.S. Did anyone else notice Abby’s “Save Your Tears For Your Pillow” iPhone case? I want one!
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.