Posted by Rebecca King on 04.06.2012
On Tuesday April 3, “Dance Moms: Miami” premiered as a sequel to the now infamous Lifetime reality show “Dance Moms.” I had only seen the original show in bits and pieces, so when I heard a new Miami based series was going to be starting up, I thought I would see what all the fuss is about.
I would like to preface my observations by admitting my addiction to mindless reality shows; yes, I watch the Real Housewives and shows of the like. So today when I pressed play and delved into “Dance Moms: Miami’s” first episode, I worried that I may find myself with another guilty pleasure show.
Taking place in, you guessed it, Miami, this new series follows two dance instructors, Angel and Victor, and a group of competition dancers at the dance studio, “Stars.” As you also have probably guessed, the main focus is dancers’ mothers, who are the epitome of the so called “stage mother.” Their lives revolve around the studios and pushing their children to succeed.
In episode one, the real drama starts when a new student enrolls in the studio and is immediately given a much-desired solo at the upcoming competition. One dancer will only be dancing in an ensemble number in the performance, reacting by saying that she looks forward to being able to use that opportunity to stand out and show the audience what she is made of. Her mother reacts to the news by crying and saying Angel and Victor do not understand her talent. She later says “[My daughter] knows that this means everything to me.” But what does it mean to her daughter?
The youngest of the group is nine-years-old. She tells us about her daily routine: “I wake up at 4 o’clock every morning to do my homework, then I go to school, then straight to dance.” That is not a healthy routine for any human being, let alone a nine-year-old child.
The mothers all admit that they are more competitive than their children. At the end of the episode, while preparing for the competition, the women engage in a heating yelling match over who is being the best mother, while the dancers look on. One of the studio’s choreographers, Angel, says at one point, “The mothers behave like animals.” That is putting it politely.
Throughout the show, I felt so horrible for these dancers. They are being pushed and pulled from every direction by their mothers, whose hostile and aggressive behavior has to be hard for America to watch. Dance should be something that excites you, inspires you to push yourself to the limits, and enriches your life. Where does their drive and dedication come from? In the introductory interviews, dancer and mother sit side-by-side to introduce themselves. There are five dancers. In these interviews, only one dancer said she loved to dance.
I do hope that viewers understand that this is not a realistic look into the world of dance. Though there are competition schools across America who have their very own version of these Dance Moms, that is not the norm. What you are seeing is overly dramatized. These women are setting a horrible example, not only for their children, but for other mothers and dancers across the country.
So will “Dance Moms: Miami” teach Americans about the magical world of dance? Absolutely not. I am still waiting for the show that educates and encourages people to learn more about the dance world by inspiring them to become audience members.