Dance News

These could be your new BFFs!

Calling all comp kids! Are you dreaming of making your small-screen debut? If you think your leaps are as strong as Maddie Ziegler's, your shimmies are as fierce as Asia Monet Ray's and your pirouettes are as sharp as Chloe Lukasiak's, now may be your time to shine! Here's the catch: Your mom (or dad!) has to be on board as well.

Why? The infamous Abby Lee Miller is looking for new kids and their parents to add to the cast of "Dance Moms"—and possibly "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition."

Auditions for dancers 13 and under will be held in Orlando, FL (Oct. 25), Atlanta, GA (Nov. 8), and NYC (Nov. 23). Find out more and register at dancemomscasting.com.

See you on TV!

Dance News

 

Bam!

“Dance Moms,” I’ve missed you this last month. In fact, I’ve missed you so much that the fact that this episode was full of Cathy and her fame-hungry dance dads, way too much crying and almost no Mackenzie moments only mildly upset me. (But don’t do it again!) At least it was also chock full of dancerly romance! Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments.

AWKWARD: Maddie and Gino sitting in a tree… While this little crush is the cutest thing in the whole wide world, the way the adults handle it is pretty disgusting. Apparently, Gino gave Maddie a kiss on the cheek at the last competition. While this was no make out (Mom Melissa makes that very clear), it was definitely the most scandalous kiss in “Dance Moms” history. At least Abby and Cathy can finally agree on one thing: no kissing the enemy!

AWESOME: The “group” dance—although you can hardly call this the group without Paige, Brooke or Mackenzie. Still, Maddie, Chloe, Nia and Kendall make an excellent foursome of “bad girls.” They couldn’t have been more in sync if they were clones of each other, and the choreography was so cute! Even if Candy Apples’ bicycle/unicycle dance hadn’t been kind of all over the place, I still think the girls would have nailed the top score.

AWKWARD: Gino and Zack do an emotional dance about Anthony’s late father. While I generally love when choreographers use their own emotional experiences to inspire movement, this was probably not the best venue to honor your dad who died only one week earlier, Anthony. Plus, this routine, while sweet, was pretty darn boring. Only Candy Apples would bring in fabulous dancers from all across the country and then give them choreography that’s mostly just hugging and caressing each other. Where’s the dancing?! Abby, as usual, was honest about not liking the dance, and the Apples freaked out. It all ended in a ridiculous fight where Cathy cried because no one had her back. The dads get all awkward and uncomfortable, except for Jalen’s dad, who has clearly decided that his life goal is to live up Cathy’s butt. Then Gino’s dad asks to join the ALDC. Sigh… In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not the biggest fan of the adults associated with Candy Apples.

AWESOME: Chloe and Maddie dancing together. Thank goodness we get to take a break from this little battle (although it looks like it’s coming back in full force on the next episode…). Again, their synchronization was insane. That first place win was no surprise. Now the question is: How is Abby going to decide who goes on the top of the pyramid next week?

AWKWARD: Mom Kelly, for this entire episode. I don’t even know where to start. First, Abby told her that both Brooke and Paige would be featured at competition, which upset her for a reason I must have missed. Then Mom Jill stirred up trouble and Mom Christi yelled in Paige’s face. So now Kelly has an actual reason to be upset, but says she’s not upset. Then both her daughters do really well, so she cries and says she’s leaving the ALDC. I’m confused…

AWESOME Brooke gets to dance with the seniors! Oh, was Brooke too old for this group of munchkins? Of course she was! She’s not quite at the seniors' level yet, but at least she’s finally being challenged. And holy beautiful dancers, Abby. It’s eye opening to see how well-trained and professional Abby’s kids grow up to be (yup, she knows what she’s doing!). To make this little twist even better, cute 17-year-old Kevin is a part of this dance, and he takes Brooke on a date (because Abby makes him). Turns out, Kevin can eat a lot of dessert. I think these two are just precious together. Can I be invited to their wedding, please?

Time for the QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“Miss Abby always says, no boys, no boys. But this is the second date she’s set me up on!” – Brooke

And, just for kicks, here’s a fun fact that will blow your mind: ALDC dancer Kevin (Brooke’s date) and Candy Apples dancer Gino (Maddie’s crush) are BROTHERS! Both beautiful dancers, they study at Dance Attack in Miami, FL. (Apparently, Kevin’s been competing this piece with ALDC as a guest all season.) Oh Lifetime, as if this show wasn’t scripted enough…

That’s all for this week. Tune in next week for more “Dance Moms” fun and, of course, another recap.

 

Dance News

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.

 

Dance News

Before a performance at the Reality Wanted Awards, which we'll see on "Raising Asia"
(photo by Adam Taylor)

Watch out, Beyoncé. There's an 8-year-old (soon to be 9!) triple threat blazing trails in the entertainment industry, and nothing can stop her.

You may remember Asia Monet Ray as a member of the Abby Lee Dance Company on "Dance Moms," or from her butt-kicking appearance on "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition." But starting this week, she's being reintroduced on Lifetime without the wrath of Abby and those Pittsburgh mommies. Asia's new show, "Raising Asia," premieres Tuesday at 10 pm EST, and if the trailer (see below) is any indication, we have 14 episodes—in seven weeks—of amazingness coming our way. Not only is she the cutest ever, but Asia's also got the wit, sass and determination it takes to be a superstar. I caught up with this pint-sized pirouetter to get the scoop on her new show.

What do you love most about "Raising Asia"?

It's awesome because I get to be with my family. I think it's the most time I've spent at my house in years! Everyone will see the work that goes into being a dancer, a singer and an actress—a triple threat, a mega star, a pop star! I'm really excited to see myself on TV again, even though we'll have to TiVo it, because the show's on past my bedtime. And everyone is going to love my little sister. She's really funny.

What was the craziest thing that happened on camera?

My dad and I were hanging out at a place that had mini golf and a go-kart raceway. We were racing, and I told him I was going to beat him. He ended up winning, but when the attendants yelled "Stop!" I accidentally pressed both the brakes and the go pedals, and I bumped right into a parked car. I was OK—I had my seat belt on. But I'm glad no one was in the parked car! That would have been bad, because I think I broke it.

Asia being Asia!
(photo via iamasiamonet.com)

Do you train at a studio?

My schedule is so hectic that I need to study privately. And I'm not competing. I work with choreographers who travel with me and can get me into a studio if we need it.

What's your favorite dance style?

Jazz and hip hop—I was born to be sassy and I can express myself in those styles. But I'm getting a little more used to lyrical.

What's your favorite food?

I love hamburger patties. I also love chicken, brown rice, edamame, miso soup and shaved ice from Icy-licious.

What's one accessory you can't live without?

Lip gloss—and a mirror.

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs, dogs, dogs! My mom will not let me have a dog, even though I've been asking for one basically since I was born. She says it will be too much work; we're already boarding a bird and a fish every time we travel, and we'd have to board the dog, too. I don't think a dog would want to watch me dance and sing all day—she'd want me to play with her, and she'd probably feel really left out and sad when I couldn't. If I ever get one, though, I'd like a teacup Morkie. And she'd have to be a girl dog, because I get too angry with boys—they make messes. I can dress up a girl dog and put nail polish on her little claws. I also like pugs and miniature bull dogs. I love their little front teeth that make them look so angry—but they're so cute!

Want more? Visit her new website iamasiamonet.com to see photos, read Asia's blog, purchase her upcoming debut album and find out where she'll be next.

Dance News

In the two months since the Season 3 finale of "Dance Moms," fans have been asking: will Maddie, Chloe, Kendall and the rest of our favorite ALDC dancers return for a fourth season?

The answer is yes folks. Lifetime announced that Season 4 will premiere Wednesday, January 1 at 9/8c, with “Dance Moms Special: Guess Who’s Coming to the Dance?” airing before the premiere at 8/7c. The rest of the episodes are scheduled to air at the normal time--Tuesdays at 9/8c.

Want to get inside "Dance Moms"? You have a few options:

1. Find out what happened when DS editor Rachel was featured as a special guest on the show...

Rachel on set with the ALDC kids! (Photo by Nate Powers)

...and read the resulting article.

2. Audition to be a dancer on the show! There are still two auditions left, in Atlanta, GA (Nov. 8) and in NYC (Nov. 23). Click here to learn more.

3. Check out our "Win It!" page, where we're giving away a copy of The Best of Dance Moms: The Championship Dances, which features full-length, unedited competition routines...

 ...and an autographed photo of Maddie Ziegler + a "Team Maddie" bracelet.

 

Dance News

Work it, Kenzie!

Finale time! The whole crew—and I mean the whole crew—was in New Orleans for In10sity Nationals. Much of this episode was hard to watch (aka the parts featuring the moms), but, in the end, there was a ton of great dancing. Here are my top AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from last night.

AWKWARD: Abby made the girls go head to head to decide who would perform a solo at Nationals. Mackenzie vs. Asia. Brooke vs. Payton. Chloe vs. Kendall. Nia vs. Paige vs. Maddie. Each group would learn one solo, and only one kid from each match up would get to perform. Of course, this stirred up plenty of drama among the moms. The kids, however, out-matured their parents as usual and seemed fine with a little healthy competition. It was a nail biter, alright, but then the whole plan was turned on its head because of the moms and their mayhem (see below).

AWKWARD: The moms get drunk. Long story short: Mom Christi and Mom Leslie end up in an actual physical fight and Leslie then tried to beat up a producer. Obviously, they were asked to leave the show. The worst part? Their kiddos had to leave with them. Bye, Chloe and Payton. And Mom Kristie, apparently appalled by the moms, took Asia out of the equation, too. I would say I think this will teach the moms a lesson…but that would be a lie.

AWESOME: Mackenzie as “Dance Doctor.” Things didn’t look good for Mackenzie at the start of this episode: Abby pitted Little Mac up against Big-Personality Asia in an improv-off—and Asia crushed it. But after Asia had to leave the competition, it was up to Mackenzie to snag the title. She. Was. Awesome. I know Abby is always saying how good Asia was for Mackenzie—forcing her to step up her game—and I think she may be right. It looked like some of that Asia sass had worn off on her, and all her old tricks were still top notch. Abby might call second place the first loser, but Mackenzie was the champ of this episode in my book.

AWESOME: Where did you come from, Kendall? While it’s sad that Chloe had to leave, it was nice to see Kendall have her moment in the spotlight. And I was blown away by how strong she looked in her solo! As Abby says, she’s “nipping at Maddie’s heels.”

AWESOME: Maddie’s solo. There’s a reason she’s unbeatable, people. This girl knows how to perform. The moms had a point when they said this choreography was designed for Maddie, and she performed it flawlessly. While it was a little expected since Chloe had left the competition, it was nice to see how genuinely thrilled Maddie was (she even looked surprised!) to be named first place. Congrats, Maddie!

AWKWARD: The Cathy came back. Sigh, but we were having so much fun without her! And, to continue avoiding doing any work herself, she’s brought Blake McGrath in as a choreographer—who’s sporting a strange (read: awful) neck tattoo. The kids do a good job picking up his tricky choreography…just not good enough. The Candy Apples group dance gets second to the ALDC, who killed it with an emotional tribute to Hurricane Katrina. Don’t cry, Cathy!

And…the ALDC kids are the National champs!

Now, the Quote of the Week:

“Nia needs to compete for a solo with Maddie and Paige. It doesn’t take a doctor to find out how that’s gonna end up.” —Mom Dr. Holly

That’s all for this season, folks. We're left wondering: Will there be a Season 4? And with no Asia, perhaps no Chloe or Payton, and maybe even no Abby, should there be? Weigh in below!

Dance News

On set with all the ALDC kids! (Photo by Nate Powers)

Last night’s “Dance Moms” episode featured a very special guest: Dance Spirit! So instead of our usual recaps, I’m going to give you a rundown of five things you didn’t see on TV—but I did.

1. You know those moments when the kids and moms are speaking directly to the camera about what’s happening? That’s called an “On the Fly” or “OTF.” And though it may appear that they’re done against a wall of brightly colored costumes, they’re not. They’re actually filmed outside the studio on the grass. And they really are done on the fly! Cast members get almost no warning before they’re called away to share their thoughts.

2. Those plot twists are planned—but not everyone is in on them. When Jill came for a “surprise” visit to our photo shoot? The only one who was shocked was Melissa. Jill and Kendall were waiting outside the house for more than an hour before entering, hanging out with the crew. The producers had cooked up the whole thing. And yes, even I knew it was coming.

3. The kids are generally nowhere near the mama drama. And that’s a good thing. Maddie told me that as soon as the fury begins, one of the moms will whisk the children out of the room. And remember that scene in last night’s episode where Abby calls Jill down to yell about Kendall? It seems like Kendall is right there, hearing it all, but really Gianna had moved Kendall and Maddie into a corner to run the choreography—and stay far away from the mayhem. Of course, they’ll see it later on TV… but it’s the thought that counts.

4. This show has really good editors. After all, they have to cut a full week of footage into one hour. They can also make it look like you're reacting to anything that's said in whatever way they want. How do I feel about that?

5. Beyond all the fancy camera work and editing, some of it actually is real. I saw real emotion, real hard work and real smiles from all the kids on set. And we really were there to capture a day in the life of Maddie for our November issue. “Why just Maddie?” you ask? It seems a lot of the dance moms had the same question. We chose Maddie because we see some serious potential in her. If she stays in class (which she promises me she's doing), she has the skills and the commitment to make it in the dance world when her time on “Dance Moms” is a distant memory.

Want more behind-the-scenes details from the show? Maddie spills it all in our November issue. Get excited!

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