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!

When Dance Spirit spent a day with 11-year-old "Dance Moms" Dancer Maddie Ziegler, we saw just how many cameramen, producers, microphones, costumes and props it takes to star in a reality TV show. But the hubbub is all in a day's work for this celebrity kid.

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

There are a lot of kids on that stage—but it works.

This week, something major was missing at the ALDC—the “AL,” to be exact. Abby Lee’s absence meant no pyramid, no assignments and a whole lot of confusion. The girls and moms found both pros and cons of living life without Abby. Here are my top AWKWARD and AWESOME moments from this week.

AWKWARD: Although the moms had some reasons to celebrate in Abby’s absence, it became very apparent that her presence is necessary at the studio. With Gianna so stressed that she was driven to tears, the moms felt helpless as they tried relentlessly to get ahold of their fearless leader. This meant constant phone calls and text messages, and when Abby did respond, her demeanor was less than favorable. Not to mention, all of these calls were on speakerphone and texts were read aloud, which created an unnecessary amount of tension.

AWESOME: While we did see Gianna in one minuscule moment of weakness, something needs to be said about her starring role in this episode. Can we just take a minute to think about the fact that she has been choreographing the girls’ routines since episode 1, and she’s only now getting interview time? She went above and beyond this week, taking charge of a team that truly needed leadership, keeping them motivated and creating amazing pieces. With partner-in-crime James, another top teacher at the ALDC, she choreographed all 4 numbers without so much as a phone call from Abby. It’s clear that she’s dedicated to the girls, and the girls admire and adore her. If Lifetime wants to give Gia her own spinoff show, I’ll be watching!

AWKWARD: When Melissa called to deliver the news of the winning group dance, Abby announced that she’d only be back when the Hylands were gone—on speakerphone, of course. We’ve seen Abby’s close relationship with Brooke in previous seasons, and seeing how these remarks affected her was seriously heartbreaking. Watching Brooke dissolve into tears while Kelly and Melissa reassured her that Abby loved her was really the worst. Kelly mentioned that the relationship her daughters have with Abby wouldn’t be the same after this week—let’s hope that isn't true.

AWESOME: It may have been horrible to see Brooke so sad, but she certainly channeled that emotion into her performance. It seemed unlike Brooke to ask for a solo initially, but her insistence on this opportunity to dance and prove her commitment to the team was amazing. After allegedly learning her dance in a mere 15 minutes, she performed beautifully and earned 4th place—without a costume! What’s more, Brooke’s solo music was her own single, now available on her album on iTunes! 

AWKWARD: Brooke and Paige are officially back, but what does this mean for Leslie and Payton? With Leslie furious that Brooke was doing a solo and Payton wasn’t, fighting ensued in the observation mezzanine and continued throughout the weekend. With colorful insults being thrown constantly, Leslie seemed incredibly nervous that her time with the team could be coming to a close. But with a group dance of nine that took first place, there could be a chance that every team member will stay!

AWESOME: We know that Abby isn’t too thrilled about the girls’ promotional work with their fans, but what the Ziegler girls were a part of this week is nothing to criticize. To support The Starlight Foundation, Melissa helped a little girl, Hannah, achieve her dream of meeting Maddie and watching her perform. Serving as inspirations for one another, Maddie and Hannah spent time together throughout the episode, concluding with Maddie dedicating her (flawless) solo to her as well as the gift of her (gigantic) first place trophy. It was so great to see what an amazing impact the girls can have on their fans, especially for such a great cause.

And now, the QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I walk in the studio and Gia’s at the front desk, and I just assumed Abby’s at a headband sale somewhere.” —Mom Christi

Next week, the Candy Apples will be back for their revenge—but will Abby be there to lead her team? What do you think?

Dance News

On The Verge

After last week’s victory over the Candy Apples, it seems like the Abby Lee Dance Company's rival team may be gone for good! Abby’s spirits are high as she places focus on the girls’ win, but still shows no interest in Kelly, Brooke and Paige’s potential return. With the Hyland girls taking the bottom two spots on the pyramid yet again and Payton back for a second week, chances of their comeback are looking slimmer than ever. But that isn’t the only scoop at the ALDC this week. Here are my top AWKWARD and AWESOME moments.

AWKWARD: Pyramid time! Asia is on the bottom row, with Mackenzie right beside her. Mom Kristie Ray is outraged, immediately voicing that she feels the placement is unfair and inaccurate. Abby is not amused, and bluntly explains why Little Mac earned the higher slot. Needless to say, the outburst didn’t go over so well with the other moms…not to mention the fact that two 7-year-olds probably shouldn't hear adults screaming about what they do and don’t deserve.

AWESOME: On a lighter note, Nia FINALLY earned the top spot on the pyramid this week! Abby explained that Nia was the only student to approach her after last week’s performances and ask what she could improve—a smart and mature move. After seven months without a solo, she is rewarded with a big responsibility; Abby has decided the time is right for a tribute to her late bichon, Broadway Baby. Nia is delighted to have the opportunity and gratefully accepts the challenge.

AWKWARD: While we’re on the subject of Broadway Baby, Abby and her mother took a trip back to the taxidermist we visited a few weeks back to look into the dog’s preservation. Today was the day to pick up the finished product, and it certainly was an experience. She looks pretty lifelike…which totally freaks me out. Whatever keeps Abby happy!

AWESOME: In addition to Nia, both Kendall and Chloe have solos this week. Both girls looked technically strong, and have improved immensely. Chloe has had a tough season in terms of her relationship with Abby, fighting hard to win her teacher’s approval and prove herself as a dancer. This week, in a Latin-influenced contemporary solo, she had the opportunity to do just that—and earned a second place win in the teen category. Go Chloe!

AWKWARD: Though absent at the studio this week, Kelly didn’t stay out of the drama. After extending an exclusive invitation to Christi, Holly and Jill for a catch-up sesh at her house, the four reunite to hash out the latest ALDC news. Somehow, Melissa’s failure to comply with the “we’re not sending our kids to Abby’s Ultimate” pact comes up, and we learn that Chloe, too, was invited to perform on the show—an opportunity Mom Christi declined in allegiance to her team members. Jill confesses that had she been given the same opportunity, she might not have done the same, a statement that causes Christi to storm out of Kelly’s house. Things never seem to end well when the moms get together in that kitchen.

AWESOME: Anyone who’s been to a dance competition knows that although awards can be nerve-wracking, they’re also one of the most fun parts of the competition day. It’s not often that we get to see the girls letting loose and having fun, but we caught a glimpse of their true personalities as they danced onstage before scores were announced. Asia stood out in the crowd, seriously going for it and pulling out her very best moves. After making eye contact with Mom Kristie Ray, she accepted the perceived dance-off challenge, and the mother-daughter duo had a duel to remember. I wasn’t sure if Abby and her own mother (who joined the team in the audience) would be stunned or horrified, but they—along with the other moms—were certainly entertained. Now we know where Asia gets it!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“The group dance this week is called ‘On the Verge.’ I’m ‘on the verge’ of needing a drink.” —Mom Christi

 

Next week, the drama continues, as it appears that Abby will be M.I.A in the studio. Will the Hyland’s return to stir up extreme controversy, or will Payton keep her spot? What do you think?

Dance News

Poor Nick always gets the worst costumes... Poor Nick always gets the worst costumes...

My thoughts on this week’s episode are best summed up by a tweet from the one-and-only Abby Lee Miller: “Snore snore bring on #ALDC!” With another hour filled with Candy Apples and "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" drama, we didn’t even catch a glimpse inside the walls of the Abby Lee Dance Company. Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from this week.

AWKWARD: Instead of seeing Abby’s infamous pyramid, we’re introduced to Cathy’s “apple tree.” Different from her previous ranking system, each dancer’s face was represented by an apple on the tree—the higher the branch, the higher the ranking. Curiously enough, Nick was the tree-topper because of his noted stellar performance the week prior. Thanks to my Twitter research, I learned that Nick had a solo that we didn’t get to see—and that solo received the highest score of the whole competition!

AWESOME: Anthony standing his ground. From the start, I’ve thought Anthony and Cathy were a bit of an odd duo, in terms of both dance background and personality. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the two clash, but this time, Anthony wasn’t playing any games. He proudly rattled off his accomplishments—working with Beyoncé, Rihanna and more—and topped it of by calling Cathy’s comebacks corny. She responded to the situation by carefully weighing her options; after shelling out for a choreographer as coveted as Anthony, she wondered if she could have better spent the money on some new designer handbags. “Great choreographer, or new Louis?”

AWKWARD: Bunny cataloguing. I didn’t even know that was a thing, but apparently, it’s one of Cathy’s two favorite pastimes (the second being spending time with Vivi). Lucky for her, she was able to combine her two passions when she and Vivi took inventory of each statue and figurine of a bunny in their home as “one hoppy family.” Then, Cathy brought a real live bunny to the competition for luck. Whatever works!

AWESOME: Hadley and Nick’s duet. Although the clip of Abby calling Hadley road kill has somehow made its way into every recent episode of “Dance Moms,” Hadley certainly has improved since her "AUDC" days. The two did a contemporary tribal-themed duet, which was impressively technical and entertaining. With a difficult headpiece that caused a pre-performance mini-meltdown, Hadley wiped her tears and measured up to front-runner Nick. First place!

AWKWARD: This week’s Candy Apples group dance seemed eerily familiar to me—a sassy character jazz routine set to music by a theatrical cross-dresser, elaborately costumed and ending with a death drop. No, this isn’t ALDC's "My Pumps" (which, might I add, is my favorite group dance in the show’s history), but rather, “So Chic.” Similar in style from the start, I noticed parallels between the two numbers from the second it began…but was floored (no pun intended) by the ending pose. I can’t help but wonder how Shangela feels about all of this.

Check out this video of "My Pumps" and compare for yourself:

Now click here for "So Chic." 

See what I mean?

AWESOME: Maddie’s solo. Although we barely got to see any ALDC this week, this glimmer of familiarity was much appreciated. A guest performance on a taping of "AUDC," Maddie’s routine was flawless as always. Faced with the challenges of dancing with a live musician and adjusting to camera angles, Maddie rose to the occasion and nailed every step. From the looks of it, the "AUDC" judges agreed! And who is that sitting at the judge’s table next to Season 1’s Richy Jackson? None other than Rachelle Rak, the Broadway superstar who guest choreographed for Abby earlier this season. Lucky for us, we’ll get to see more of her (and an encore of Maddie’s performance) within the next few months! (P.S. Is anyone else as curious as I am to see who the "AUDC" contestants will be this year?!?)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I’m not gonna have no girls lookin' like He-Man.” –Anthony, defending his belief that girls shouldn’t have to do push ups 

Dance News

You might not like what she has to say, but Abby Lee Miller will critique your dancing.

“Ever wanted to dance for the ALDC? Well, now’s your chance!”

When I received an email with that in the subject line (I guess the secret’s out that I signed up for the Abby Lee Dance Company mailing list), I figured there had to be a catch. Nope! If you’ve wondered what Abby Lee Miller would have to say about your dancing, there actually is a way to find out.

“ALDC’s Dance Off” is an online competition open to anyone. All you have to do is submit a video of yourself dancing, and you get a guaranteed critique from the ALDC staff. That's already pretty awesome, but entering also puts you in the running to win an even more coveted prize—the chance to dance with the one and only ALDC for a week!

Once every six months, an entrant from each category (12 & under and 13 & over) will be selected to attend the ALDC “Booty Camp” summer program in August. The prize includes airfare and 3 nights in a hotel for the winner and one guest. Your entry must be a solo performance between 1 and 4 minutes long. Judging will be comprised of 80% judges’ score and 20% public vote, so upload ASAP! Scores will be broken down by technique (50 points), musicality (20 points), performance (10 points) and costume/overall appeal (10 points). We all know Abby Lee is a tough critic, so brace yourselves. And save those tears for your pillow!

Check out aldcdanceoff.com for more information and to upload your video. Good luck!

Dance News

These costumes are made of money. Literally.

After the epic meltdown that was last week, I was a little nervous for the latest “Dance Moms” episode. But things generally went pretty well: Chloe and Mom Christi came back, Maddie was back at the top of the pyramid and all things seemed right in the world of ALDC. Of course, that never lasts long. Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from last night’s show.

AWESOME Everybody will be in group dance “Money is the Root of All Evil” (even Mackenzie!). There’s real money shoved into the crevices of these costumes, because that will definitely be seen from stage (<-- sarcasm font). Heaven forbid they just make photocopies of real money or use Monopoly money. “I’m not so sure this is a good use of money,” says genius Mom Jill. You think? Anyway, back to the awesomeness: This dance was spectacular. I know I always say that, but this one really showed off the girls as solid dancers and stellar actresses. And, I have to admit, the costumes looked great. First place, baby!

AWKWARD Abby’s attempt to “get back” at Chloe by not using her real name. She just refers to Chloe as “you” or “Blondie.” Ugh. It’s not even Chloe she’s mad at; it’s Mom Christi. Abby acting like a sixth-grade child makes Chloe cry—because Chloe is actually a sixth-grade child. Well done, Abby.

AWESOME Remember last week when I fell in love with Nia? My love has tripled. So Nia apparently decides all by herself to stand up to Abby and ask for her duet with Paige back. You go girl! Abby says maybe, which is the best response a kid could ask for. She comes around in the end, and the girls get to dance their duet, “The Wild Child and the Wallflower.” What a perfect cutesy routine for these two. Abby’s grinning in the audience, and so am I.

Now that's the Brooke we know and love!

AWESOME Brooke gets a solo. Well this hasn’t happened in a while. Mom Kelly is mad for some reason right off the bat, but Brooke pretty much kicks butt. There’s definitely a maturity in her dancing that I don’t remember seeing before. And for all the haters (like me) who thought Brooke didn’t care about dancing anymore (hence the title of her solo, “Care Less”), she proves us wrong. She likes to dance, people! She actually likes it!

AWKWARD These moms are really getting on my last nerve. For once in this entire zany season, Abby comes back to the dressing room post-competition in high spirits. She tells EVERYONE they did a good job (that never happens!) and smiles as she leaves. I’m ready to change the channel…but the moms just won’t have it end like that. Let the fighting begin. The big feud is between Mom Kelly and Mom Christi, but no one really understands what they’re fighting about. I think it’s something like: Christi’s mad that Kelly didn’t call, but Kelly did call, but Kelly shouldn’t have to call, but Kelly should’ve just come to Christi’s house, but Kelly’s a bad friend, but Christi’s a bad friend, too. Moral of this story? Who cares.

AWKWARD The previews for next week’s show. Abby’s dog Broadway Baby dies, and I can’t even handle looking at Abby’s face when she’s that sad. If things are crazy dysfunctional when Abby’s in a good mood, I can’t imagine what will go down when she’s in mourning. I’m uncomfortable already.

And last but not least, the QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I want to walk back into that studio like I want a stiletto jammed in my eyeball.” —Mom Christi

With that pleasant mental image, I leave you until next week. Don’t forget to let me know what you thought of the episode in the comments!

 

 

 

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