I very much considered not writing this blog - especially since I just wrote about dance a hot minute ago, but my brain is wickedly lacking in the "things to bother people with" department and I know y'all are just itching to get some new bidz'ness to waste your work day with.
Here's the thing people, Dance Moms is either the craziest, scammiest, most absurd piece of reality television on right now (which is saying a. Lot) or competitive dance has changed in the past 11 years.
Back in my day. When you competitively danced, you were given a routine at the beginning of the "season," MONTHS ahead of your first competition. Whether it was small group, solo or large group every thing was choreographed, costumed and practiced within an inch of its pointed-toes, big-arms life before you could even feasibly buy a plane ticket to the competition. You did the same routine (or maybe, some at one competition and some at another) and you wore the same clothes and Nothing Changed.
I think once, mid-season, a triple piourette got made a double because someone couldn't land it and they were blowing the timing, but beyond small things - everything was always the same for a whole season. In fact I am willing to wager a guess that if you pumped the particular jams that I danced to, I could still whip out some moves. This was Eleven Years ago. That is how ingrained into my head these dances were. There are some brain cells that could have probably been put to better use figuring out what calculus is exactly - but nope, those cells are full of shuffle-cross-step-ball-change.
SO NOW. I am watching Dance Moms because it is the kind of junky television that gets my motor going. Oh man, little girls and their insane parents with sequins thrown in...its like taking bong hits of tackiness. The only thing that makes me sad is it is on at the same time as Toddlers and Tiaras. Its like Lifetime and TLC want you to make a choice. And I say, cut the baby in half. I want it all.
(a side note - there is a piece of me that knows it is wrong to watch both of these shows with as much regularity as I do - so I refuse to tivo either of them. I will very often watch Dance Moms on demand, relax its free, but I will not make it "appointment viewing." There is a frilly ankle-socked line that I am just not willing to cross).
Anyway - on Dance Moms the girls learn dances 3 - 5 days before the competition and there seems to be some sort of disastrous situation with the costumes that never, ever seems to land in any one's favor (except, of course, Maddie - she wins at everything) and they are always scrambling. This is totally insane. Of course they aren't placing. Of course they are forgetting the steps. They're eight years-old. Unless you have some sort of Rain-man like abilities, almost no one is going to learn a dance in three hours, especially a girl who is verbally abused by her manipulative, terrifying freight train of a dance teacher.
So now my question is - what the blunt? Is this some sort of thing cooked up by the producers so that the crewneck-kitten-applique-sweatshirt wearing brigade watching this over their Stoffers lean cuisines don't get too bored? Is it Abby Lee drinking that hubris juice? Or is this how competitions are done now?
My experience was limited to be sure (I never got to practice my dance in front of a drag queen named La'Queefa - much to my retrospective dismay) but I cannot image this is how they are running these particular shit shows.
Anyway, this has always struck me as so false and transparent. Why would you be trying to get costumes less than a week in advance? Doesn't that just sound like a bad idea? See also getting a kid to commit anything to memory.
And now that I've seen the finale where (spoilers!) they have to audition for the "music video" there was this huge "a-ha!" reveal of why Abby Lee tortured her dancers by not giving them enough time. It was a training technique! Ooohhhhh.
Nope. Not at all. That business is for your class time. In classes you can learn a combination in 10 minutes and then perform it all to your hearts content - in competitions its just stupid.
AND, while we are talking about things that are stupid, I cannot imagine something dumber than having parents observe classes and auditions and rehearsals. I will give them a pass on the parents being there for the music video shoot since I think its required to have a guardian on location for anything like that - but otherwise, this is a total scam set up by Lifetime. No dance teacher (or really any teacher/coach) wants parents within a 2 mile radius of a class or rehearsal happening. It only makes everyone mad and the baby jesus cry pink glittery tears of sadness.
On a personal note, I was SO satisfied to see (spoilers!) Chloe get the lead in the video. As a second banana in my own experience who once or twice had that moment - it is the most satisfying thing. One can only hope that it will help her realize that the best thing she can do is get out of there right after high school and become a worldly, confident woman while Maddie tears her acl, gets knocked up by a casting director and moves back in with her lunatic mom for the rest of time.