Dancer to Dancer
Rehearsing for "The View" (courtesy Dolan)

Pint-size triple threat Evie Dolan has played bass-guitarist Katie in Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock—The Musical since the show opened on the Great White Way this past December. The 11-year-old NYC native has studied everything from ballet to lyrical to jazz at the Joffrey Ballet School and, more recently, at Downtown Dance Factory. She's also a natural actress and plays piano, ukulele, guitar, mandolin and saxophone. Along with the other 13 kids in the School of Rock cast, Dolan performs all eight shows per week. She took Dance Spirit behind the curtain for a look at seven days in her Broadway life. —Courtney Bowers

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Dance News

Gotta admit, it's hard to stay on Team Mackenzie when Asia looks this cute.

Asia Monet Ray Week has finally arrived! But including 7-year-old Asia in the Abby Lee Dance Company comes with another twist—Asia’s mom Kristie. We’ve already seen how awful this mom can be on “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.” Moms: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Here are my top three AWKWARD and AWESOME moments from last night’s show:

AWKWARD: Why are Cathy and Vivi still in the show’s intro? Every time I start to happily sing along with “living on the dance floor,” she completely kills my mood. On that note, Cathy’s back this episode spewing her usual nonsense. Every time she speaks a little piece of me dies.

AWKWARD: Abby goes to a taxidermist to have her dead dog, Broadway Baby, stuffed. Gross gross gross gross gross.

AWKWARD: Asia vs. Mackenzie. The moms think new kid Asia is out to steal Mackenzie’s spot—and the fact that Mackenzie is still on the injured list doesn’t exactly help. I refuse to believe it. Abby may make some strange decisions, but she’s not a complete idiot. Double the cuteness, double the fun, right? I think both munchkins are in it for the long haul. Besides, these two are totally different dancers: Mackenzie is smiley and precious and Asia is surprisingly fierce. But then, Abby choreographs a downright Mackenzie-esque solo for Asia (which, frankly, she doesn’t pull off the way Little Mac could have). But wait, what is Asia dressed as? A sexy snowman? A puppy? Oh my goodness, she’s Broadway Baby! Maybe Mackenzie should watch her back after all…

AWESOME: Kendall, Maddie and Chloe’s trio. What a great threesome! Their costumes are cute and they could not be more in sync. I say they were robbed of that first place title. Well danced, girls.

AWESOME: I may have held my breath for the entire group dance. After all, when Cathy’s in the room, the pressure on the ALDC triples. Though it wasn’t my favorite choreography in the world, the girls couldn’t have done a better, cleaner job. Even Abby thinks so, which is saying something.

"Will Dance for Food" = brilliant

AWESOME: It literally pains me to write this, but Cathy’s group dance was pretty darn captivating. She hired choreographer (and close friend of Abby) John Culbertson, and I fell in love with this all-boys routine as soon as I saw their little Newsies outfits. It makes me feel a little better that Cathy had absolutely nothing to do with it: She didn’t train these boys or choreograph the dance. They get a well-deserved perfect score, and I’m left wondering what these boys’ actual teachers—who are getting none of the credit they deserve—think about their big win.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“You’re committed to this studio for a year, and if you leave you owe [Abby] $100,000 cash.” —Mom Christi to new Mom Kristie

I guess we’ve finally answered the question of why the moms are putting their children through this. How do you think Abby spent the money she got from replacement Ally’s mom, Nicaya’s mom and Sophia Lucia’s mom? Oh right, she’s spending it on stuffing her dead dog.

Next week, we’ll see Chloe and Maddie go head to head. Until then, let me know what you thought of this episode in the comments!

 

Dance News

The dog that started it all.

As expected, this week’s episode was more AWKWARD than it was AWESOME. But it did have a few shining moments. Here are the highlights:

AWKWARD Of course, the death of Abby’s dog, Broadway Baby, is no fun for anyone (except we do get to see some super-cute clips of Baby's smiley, chubby face, which is precious). When Abby shares the news, everyone is very depressed, but it isn’t until little Mackenzie’s eyes start to water that I lose it. Abby tries (and fails) to put on a brave face: The show must go on! Or at least that’s the plan…Instead, Abby goes missing for a while and spends most of her onscreen time in hysterics.

AWKWARD I’m wondering who gave the moms the idea that changing the group routine’s music and choreography behind Abby’s back was not only a good idea, but a respectful way to honor her dead dog. (My guess is the producers.) Abby’s original idea is a graceful, ballet-based piece, “My Dream Will Be Your Dream” about a peasant girl who’s sick. But while Abby is MIA in mourning, the moms change the music to an upbeat jazz piece about sunshine, or something. Abby gets mad. Shocking! But it’s too late now, so the girls just improv the final routine. Good thing the ALDC is good at fouettés…First place!

AWKWARD The self-titled "Black Patsy" aka Kaya and daughter Nicaya will be at this competition. Good, because it wasn’t already hard enough to keep track of all ALDC’s enemies. I honestly barely remembered this one-episode-wonder. Then she appears, and I realize I blocked her from my memory for a reason. Nicaya’s solo is mediocre at best, but that’s the least of our problems. Kaya gets in everyone’s face right off the bat, and eventually Mom Jill loses it, too. But it’s Kaya who gets shown the door. The competition kicks her out! I'm glad this show finally acknowledges that mothers screaming at each other is not normal or accepted in the competition world.

Maddie, there's something on your costume.

AWESOME Maddie’s solo (duh). While that costume with a strange bloody heart on it is not my favorite, “Showing You Your Heart” is typical Maddie greatness. Then everything hits the fan because the announcer says Maddie’s dance is dedicated to Broadway Baby. The rest of the moms are bitter because their plan to honor Abby’s dead dog was an epic fail and Melissa actually did things right. How dare she! Gotta say, I rarely take sides with these moms, but I’m on Team Melissa with this one. The tribute was sweet. And Maddie is definitely holding onto that top pyramid spot.

AWESOME I love when Nia gets a solo! This one, “Breakin’ My Heart,” is perfect for her—jazzy and fun, with a super cute costume (Go Mom Holly!). Third place to Nia!

AWESOME Mom Christi and Mom Kelly are friends again. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I’m just glad we can leave that silly fight behind us next week, and move on to what actually looks like a great episode. Why? Because Abby’s going speed dating!

And now (drum roll please), the QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“She kept me sane.” —Abby on Broadway Baby

That was sane?!?!

That’s all for this week. See you next week with the results of Abby’s dating experiment. Until then, let me know what you thought of the most recent episode in the comments!

 

 

 

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