"Dance Moms: Recital Rebellion" Recap

Kendall got a chance to shine this week.

It’s recital week at the Abby Lee Dance Company! A hectic time for every dancer and dance mom, studio showcases come with the stress of crazy costume changes, remembering months and months of choreography and the pressure of performing in front of your family and friends. The ALDC showcase never fails to deliver all of the above—not to mention the inevitable drama. Here are my top three AWESOME and AWKWARD moments from this week.

AWKWARD: Pyramid time. Paige and Brooke take the bottom two slots, much to Mom Kelly’s dismay. In an effort to defend her kids, she challenges Abby’s decision to place Maddie higher up despite her costume malfunction—a retort that results in Abby appeasing Kelly by ordering Maddie to drop and give her 20 pushups as punishment. To create even more tension, Abby reminds pyramid-topper Mackenzie that her toughest competitor, Asia, is back in Pittsburgh. It can’t be easy for a 7-year-old to hear that her new teammate could easily replace her.

AWESOME: Since recital prep isn’t time consuming enough, Abby surprised the girls with a photo shoot for an online magazine, Dance Track. In honor of their back to school issue, each dancer was assigned a character to represent a stereotype—and they rocked it. Only one girl would be awarded the opportunity to grace the cover…and Kendall won! The moment her cover was revealed, the girls, moms and even Abby grinned and screamed with delight and rushed to congratulate her. It was awesome to see everyone having a great time not only at the shoot, but also in celebration of Kendall’s accomplishment.

AWKWARD: In honor of the showcase, each girl would be performing a solo. The twist? One dancer’s routine would be brand new choreography, and that dancer was Paige. Abby explained this as an opportunity, but Mom Kelly didn’t see it that way. Outraged that Paige was the only dancer learning new choreography during this hectic week, a screaming match ensued, ending with Kelly pulling both of her girls from the show. With Paige’s slot open, Abby announced that one girl could add an additional new solo. When no one spoke up, Abby volunteered Maddie. So uncomfortable. While Maddie’s solo was undeniably beautiful, any attentive "Dance Moms" fan knows it wasn’t new: This was the same solo she performed during her visit to the AUDC set.

AWESOME: Although Paige and Brooke were missed, the remaining dancers seriously brought their A-game. Shown in an awesome montage of turns and jumps, the girls’ solos looked polished and technically flawless. Asia delivered the attitude despite her pants being on backwards (whoops), and Kenzie nailed her routine even after a pre-performance mini meltdown. Throughout the solos, the moms beamed with pride in the audience, not just for their own children, but for all the girls on the team. It looks like a week without score sheets did the group some good!

AWKWARD: Abby quickly filled Paige’s slot, but Brooke’s remained open, and her solution was inviting Mom Jill to perform a tango number. Fun fact: Jill learned this number as a contestant in “Dancing With the Celebrities of Pittsburgh,” a local fundraising event—where she took home the first place trophy! All was going well until moms Christi and Melissa brought roses and a crown onto the stage at the end. Abby was NOT pleased with their impromptu appearance. You can watch Jill’s winning performance here:

AWESOME: What’s an episode of "Dance Moms" without a show-stopping group number? In honor of the showcase, Abby choreographed an upbeat musical theatre routine, “Sugar Babies.” (Anyone else remember the showcase group routine, “Sugar Daddy,” from Season 1? They’ve come so far!) The girls looked strong and sassy, and their acting skills were spot-on. I’d love to see this full dance, as well as all the senior company dances we only saw split-second glimpses of. Looks like I’m going to have to get my hands on an ALDC Showcase DVD!


“Is it gonna be cray-cray?” —Kristie Ray, anticipating her first recital with the ALDC

Next week, it’s back to normal as the ALDC prepares for yet another competition (complete with Candy Apples.) Our team is still incomplete, so let’s hope the Hyland crew makes a triumphant return!

Dance News
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)

All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.

Keep Reading Show less
Dance on TV
Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

Keep Reading Show less



Get Dance Spirit in your inbox