The Dance Moms TV Series
When it was created?
Dance moms is a reality television series in America. It debuted on 13th of July 2011, on Lifetime and was created by Collins Avenue Productions. Since its creation to February of 2017, the show had aired seven seasons.
What Dance Moms TV Show is all about?
The reality show captures the training and career progression of children in the dance and showbiz industry, under the tutelage of renowned Abby Lee Miller. It also takes viewers through the journey and the lengths the mothers on the show go through in an effort to turn their daughters into stars.
Over the years, viewers have watched some of the cast members grow into beautiful young women and dance professionals, as well as some, leave the show. The cast, therefore, changes periodically but some members have been on the show steadily since the year 2011.
Here is one of the most popular Dance Moms group performances on YouTube getting almost 13 Million views since 2016:
Where does the filming take place?
Filming mainly takes place at the Abby Lee Dance Company studios in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and California.
Goal of the show
Every week, viewers get to see the young girls go through rigorous training as they prepare for various dance competitions week after week. The goal is to win at each level until they get to Nationals but also getting the skills required to prepare them for life as employable, professional dancers.
The show depicts the mothers as overly invested in their children’s dancing careers. They become competitive themselves each defending their child to the fullest and in many occasions bumping heads with the coach Abby Miller. The majority of these women are wealthy, some former dancers as well and so their intention although well meant, can at times seem misguided and overzealous.
Coach Abby Lee Miller and Her Tough Love
The show is predominantly characterized by the conflict and drama around Abby Miller and the moms but the dance competitions and rehearsals are also a key component. Miller is depicted as a tough no nonsense coach who is often feared by the girls and in several episodes, they have broken down following some mean remarks or treatment from Abby, who claims that tough love is what the girls need to perform. The academy is definitely not for the faint hearted. The dotting moms are constantly trying to defend their daughters from Miller’s tough love only to butt heads with Abby over it.
Given the week by week wins in various competitions, most people agree that although Miller’s style of coaching the young dancers is unconventional, it is somewhat effective and yielding results and it would, therefore, make sense why some moms have stuck to the program for six years.
In an effort to grow her reputation in the West Coast, Abby Miller moved her show to Los Angeles in the fifth season. The format of the show didn’t change though, as students at the dance school continued to carry out weekly competitions. As the show has progressed, the focus has been shifting to include not just winning the nationals but preparing some of the girls for music business as well as acting careers.
Dance Moms Cast
Some of the moms have been on the show since inception while some joined along the way. Here are some of the key cast members of Dance Moms tv show:
- Melissa Gibson, mother of Mackenzie Ziegler an hip hop/acro dancer and Maddie Ziegler a lyrical tap dancer. Maddie and Mackenzie have been training with Abby Miller since they were four and tour years respectively. They however left the show in the sixth season
- Christi Lukasiak and her contemporary and lyrical dancer daughter Chloe Lukasiak. Chloe has trained in Abby’s Academy since she was two years old. They both left the show after the fourth season but made a guest star appearance at the Season seven finale.
- Kelly Hyland and her daughters Brooke Hyland who is a singer and acro dancer, and Paige Hyland a model and jazz dancer. The Hyland girls were among the initial cast members but they had to leave the show mid the fourth season, after Kelly was reported for assaulting Abby.
- Holly Hatcher-Frazier and her daughter Nia Frazier who is an acro/jazz and contemporary dancer. Nia had been studying at Miller’s dance studio before the show started and to date, she’s the only original cast participant on the show.
- Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her daughter Vivi-Anne a tap and musical theatre dancer who took part on the show for the majority of the first season. Cathy owns a studio and was Vivi-Anne’s coach prior to joining Miller’s studio. One time Cathy had an altercation with Miller that prompted Miller to call the police on her. Vivi-Anne and Cathy continue to make occasional appearances on the Dance Moms show.
- Jill Vertes and her daughter Kendall who is an aspiring popstar, jazz/lyrical and contemporary dancer. The two joined the show in the second season and prior to that, Kendal had been training at the Rogers Dance Studio in Pittsburgh. At some point in season two, Kendall appeared to have switched teams to join the CADC for a couple of episodes. She later returned to Miller’s team and has been dancing alongside Nia. She is one of the cast members that have served longest on the show.
- Kristi Ray and her daughter Asia Monet Ray who is a singer and jazz/acro dancer. Asia was at the beginning the youngest competitor. In season three, she danced briefly in the Junior Elite Competition but left the show before the Nationals.
- Kira Girard and her daughter Kalani Hilliker who is a ballet/lyrical dancer. Prior to joining Dancing moms in the fourth season, Kalani and Kira had made appearances in the second season of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and would later become a permanent member when show went into its fifth season.
- Jessalynn Siwa and her daughter Jojo who is a contemporary and jazz dancer. Prior to making guest appearances in the fifth season of the show, Jessalynn and Jojo had appeared in AUDC in the second season before getting full time membership. They however left the show Dance moms in its sixth season.
- Ashlee Allen and her daughter Brynn Rumfallo an acro/lyrical dancer. Brynn had made a guest appearance in the fifth season of the show. Just like her teammate Kalani, Brynn had also trained with Club Dance Studio in Arizona. She got a chance for full time membership in season six’s first episode.
- Stacy Ann Ketchman and her daughter Lilliana Ketchman. The two joined the show in its sixth season and in the seventh season, Lilliana got an opportunity to join the elite team.
- Yolanda Walmsley and her daughter Elliana Walmsley. They both joined the show in the sixth season as well and in the seventh season, Elliana got the opportunity to join the elite team.
- Camille Bridges and her daughter Camryn Bridges. They both joined the show in the seventh season.
- Jaime Caes and her daughter Maesi Caes. Maesi is a hip hop dancer. She comes from Iowa at one time toured with Justin Bieber. Jaime and Maesi joined the show in the seventh season.
Controversy & Criticism
Miller’s choice of wardrobe in several episodes came under a lot of criticism, especially from moms Frazier and Lukasiak. As a result of this criticism, one of the episodes in the second season dubbed topless showgirls was eliminated from the rotation. In this episode, the girls had performed a burlesque style routine in flesh toned, sequined bra tops and tights, that made them appear nude. Miller defended her choice of wardrobe stating that the fact that everybody in the industry was aware that the girls were not naked was a clear indication that it was harmless. This decision, however, cost her some as Lifetime pulled off the episode including removing it from the season’s DVD.
Arrested Mom Kelly Hyland
In the year 2014, Kelly Hyland one of the moms was arrested and charged with assaulting Miller following a dispute between them. The assault took place in the backstage during a dance competition that was held in New York. Hyland went to court on 21st of January the year 2014 and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Since the episode had already aired, Hyland’s attorney argued that the alleged assault had been scripted and therefore viable and admissible in court. The hearing which had been initially set for March was later moved to May of the same year. Once the fourth episode came to a close Christie and Chloe Lukasiak left the Dance Moms TV show as well due to the continued insults and dismissive treatment they felt Chloe was receiving in the hands of Abby Miller. Hyland’s daughter Paige Hyland sued Abby Miller in October of the year 2014 but the suit was dismissed.
Arrested Coach Abby Miller in 2017
Perhaps the greatest controversy aligned to the show was Abby Lee Millers indictment on charges of concealing income from the show for the years 2012 and 2013. She was charged with concealment of bankruptcy assets, bankruptcy fraud, and false bankruptcy declarations after hiding $755,000. In June of the year 2016, Miller pleaded guilty to all the charges and went into a plea deal with the IRS. Come May 2017, Miller was sentenced to a year and one day in prison. She will then get two years of supervised release thereafter.
With Miller in prison, the fate of the show remains unknown.
Ironic Moments of Dance Moms
Here is a collection of somewhat fun moments of the show:
If you ask me, I’d say there is too much drama on this show. I’d rather watch an episode of Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance. What do you think about it?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.