Dance News

Chloe and Gianna clearly make a good team.

When we left the ALDC last week, the team was celebrating a clean sweep pulled off in Abby’s absence. Uncertain about when they could expect their leader’s return, the moms were fixated on Abby’s whereabouts and intentions this week. Luckily, Gianna came back to the rescue, and lead her team through another very successful competition. Here are my top AWKWARD and AWESOME moments from this week.

AWKWARD: Melissa pays a visit to Abby’s home to discuss the fast-approaching Nationals. She voiced her concerns about Abby’s absence, Mrs. Miller’s health and Maddie’s need for her teacher’s instruction. Abby makes it clear that she will be putting her family first (rightfully so), but reassures Melissa that she need not worry about Maddie performing a solo at Nationals this year. As Maddie has been winning first place trophies all season, this makes a lot of sense, but Melissa knows the other moms won’t see it that way. When they ask about her visit, she chooses not to mention those details…as if they wouldn't come out on national TV in a few weeks.

AWESOME: No Abby means more Gianna, and that’s something I can get on board with. As I mentioned last week, Gia’s relationship with the girls is healthy, supportive and constructive—and produces incredible results. Without Abby to lead Pyramid, Gia calmly and quickly told the moms who would be dancing what numbers. Each routine was memorable—not to mention, she worked under the added pressure of facing the dreaded Candy Apples. Gia for President!

AWKWARD: Last week, Abby made it clear that she had no desire to see Brooke and Paige at the studio when she returned. So when she finally arrived at rehearsal this week, you could see the fear wash over the Hyland girls' faces. Unsurprisingly, Abby gave them a hard time, and warned them that they’d be doing solos every week and learning them in the same amount of time that Maddie learns hers. On the bright side, Brooke and Paige performed with their team for a second consecutive week, so let’s hope they’re here to stay.

AWESOME: With all the drama between Abby and the moms, it can be hard to remember that Abby has independent relationships with her students. After awards, the moms pressured Melissa to call Abby to deliver the results; Abby dismissed them, explaining she'd already spoken to the girls (who hadn’t even made it back to their dressing room). This moment showed that, whether she's physically present or not, Abby supports her team. I guess we can't believe everything we see on TV...

AWKWARD: Over at Candy Apples, choreographer Anthony has pulled the plug on his time with the team. Cathy brags that she is “perfectly capable of leading her own team,” but that's clearly not the case at all. Lucky for her (or not), she had Mom Yvette to step up and take charge. When the troupe encountered their rival ALDC moms at competition, they bragged that Cathy did everything herself, a statement that caused Yvette to have a serious meltdown. Sobbing and screaming, “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it,” she escaped to the wings. Mom Holly probably summed it up best on her Twitter account (@DanceMomHolly): “Do you think Yvette hates it?” Yes, I think she does. We’ll see if she returns for another week.

AWESOME: Cathy’s main concern this week was choosing a soloist who could beat ALDC rep, Chloe. She selected Zack, a very technical dancer who has beaten Chloe at previous competitions. Chloe has a history of being neck-in-neck for first place with a Candy Apple boy (throwback to the Justice days), but with Gia choreographing a lyrical solo for her, she was ready for the challenge. Both dancers performed beautifully, but Chloe outdid herself this week. The choreography was challenging both technically and emotionally, and Chloe danced so well that she had every Mom standing (not just her own!). After what felt like years, Chloe earned that first place slot, proving that she, too, can beat the boys.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I’m ready for Abby to just walk into rehearsal and be like, ‘You’re doing this wrong. You’re doing this wrong!’ ” —Kendall

Next week, it looks like more Hyland drama (Don’t cry, Paige!), but Abby seems to be back in action. With Nationals around the corner, we can certainly expect the drama!

Dance News

Let me be the first to say that going two weeks without any new Abby Lee Dance Company footage was rough! I missed these little girls; Their moms, not so much. And this episode brought us back to all the things we love—the moms enjoyed some cocktails, the Candy Apples returned and Maddie got to the top of the pyramid (twice!). Here are my top 5 moments from last night's show:

5. Kendall is so precious, and such a hard worker. And I loved seeing her smiling face after a less-than-excellent award ceremony. But that girl was just taking abuse from all sides last night: Abby Lee's one goal was to beat her, her teacher Cathy had pretty much given up on her, her music was skipping all over the place, and then even her mom seemed angry with her performance!  Keep your head up, Kendall—I'm rooting for you!

4. Paige's solo smack down. Ok, while I really can't stand her mom, I love Paige and was so happy to see that she finally got the chance to shine with a solo (as long as she perfected it on her own time with no help from any teachers). Let the mayhem ensue. Her mom went ahead and re-choreographed the whole thing to make it more challenging, and, surprisingly, it worked! Paige placed 7th (only one spot below Chloe), blowing competition Kendall out of the water, and she proved to Abby Lee that she's outgrown her safe, boring choreography. Time to step it up, Abby Lee.

3. Vivi as human prop. Even professional choreographers don't know what to do with this child; the dancers awkwardly carrying her (the "Asian Princess") around the stage was hard to watch. We get that you're using her to bring the age of your piece down, Cathy. Problem is, when she's 15, and still hasn't learned to pick up choreography, poor girl is going to run into some serious problems.

2. Abby Lee brings in some ringers. There's nothing that usually distracts me more than when 18-year-olds dance with 6-year-olds (see number 3), but Abby Lee really pulled it off with class. The choreography was beautiful, and all of the girls really held their own in this week's group number. And, since she hasn't been mentioned yet, let me take a moment to praise little Mackenzie for killing that tricky choreography alongside senior dancers! Take that, Vivi.

1. I was definitely expecting some serious yelling (and perhaps some chair-throwing) when Abby Lee came back to the dressing room after awards. Instead, she gave us the most awesome victory dance ever!  Though it was only about 4 seconds long, I may have re-watched it a couple of times.

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