‘Dance Moms: Miami’ Series Premier Review

Posted by 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.

 

13 Comments

  1. As a dance mom myself (although these reality shows are fast making those dirty words!), I watched the original “Dance Moms” for a while. I did so until, after going to bed one night so upset about the emotional stress these parents are inflicting on their children, I literally woke up the next morning with a migraine. That’s not entertainment.

    I enjoy reality TV (yay “Real Housewives”!) and am the first one to say adults have every right to make asses of themselves for our entertainment, if they want to. I do not, however, support what I pretty much consider child abuse and that is dragging these innocent and talented children into the ugliest aspects of adulthood. As for Dance Moms Miami, I was already over this franchise before this offshoot debuted and have not watched a single episode, nor will I.

    I think Ballet West’s “Breaking Pointe” moves somewhat in the direction of giving a more accurate portrayal of the ballet world and hope it is generating some positive interest in the artform, but also note the dancers who generate the most drama on the show also garner the most coverage and attention, so there’s still some work to be done.

    • Ginny-

      I could not agree with you more! It is so sad to see these young children being exploited for their parent’s benefit. Such a shame.

      “Breaking Pointe” was much better I agree. Check out my reviews of the show: http://tendusunderapalmtree.com/?s=breaking+pointe.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. “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.”

    Rebecca, you have the talent and the insight to put together such a show. Maybe on your break from MCB!

    Seriously, what kind of show will that be? When I attend the ballet, and I have been fortunate enough to attend the ballet in Miami, Boston, Denver, Orange County and San Diego in the last two years, I see older people and teen girls who are dancers in the audience.

    I have not watched Dance Moms and have intentionally not done so. But I have seen the local version of stage mothers and fathers.

    You have done a lot to educate me and I hope you will continue to educate others about dance.

    • Thank you so much for saying that. Ballet West has a reality show coming soon, so maybe they will fill that void.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. I honestly think that dance moms Miami is a great show and that people can learn from the moms that treating their children or any children like that is very wrong.

    • Paige-

      That is a great point. I hope people do learn from it.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Lisa Thomas Posted on Thank you for posting this wntiirg. Catherine seems to echo so many of our common experiences in the dance world and I too feel like it was such a waste of time to obsess on my weight now that I am into my 40 s. It is refreshing and wonderful to hear dancers speak out about this. Thanks Theresa for being a voice!!!

  4. I really wanted to like DM Miami, since I am *addicted* to Abby Lee’s DMs. But Dance Mums Miami SUCKS. It really does. As mentioned, the kids seem to find no joy in dancing, the moms are obnoxious but not in an entertaining manner, and the instructers are flamboyant in a cute way, but it doesn’t do it for me. Abby Lee all the way.

    • Janey-

      Do you find that the kids find more joy in dance in the original Dance Moms? Perhaps it is just these dancers in the new series who seem less interested?

      Thanks for the comment!

    • I agree. These kids don’t even seem to enjoy dancing. At least ALDC girls enjoyed it. And I have to say that moms are SOOOO over the top obnoxious, and not in a good way. Never thought I’d say it, but I miss the Dance Moms a la ALDC!!!

  5. I have to admit to being slightly addicted to “Dance Moms” in its original form & suspect I will be sucked into this spin-off. I feel guilty about watching, in a way, because those children are being treated so SO badly by adults who should be protecting them & it’s rather vile it’s being capitalised on in TV form. It’s horribly seductive, though – and you find yourself caught up in the dramaz!

    Having been so caught up in the original I feel I should say I did an actual dance of glee when Chloe got offered the scholarship to the Joffrey Summer School. She seems like such a lovely girl & this might offer her a way out from the horror that is the Abbey Lee Dance Company. From the outset I’ve thought she’s far & away the best of the girls ballet-wise & hopefully this will give her the chance to develop that potential.

    The children in the Miami version seem rather more full-on than those in the original. Possibly it’s partly an age thing, but they seem… harder. They don’t seem to find any joy in dancing, they are motivated solely by Winning. Possibly because of their crazy CRAZY parents.

    Am pretty sure all the children from the two shows are going to need years of therapy, bless them. I would quite like to set up a sanctuary for them. Like for donkeys, but different. With lots of dance but only dance for the love of it until they find the joy. Yes.

    Am genuinely scared of the parents & the teachers in these things. Honestly, where did they find them? I struggle to imagine the advert: “Are you involved in competitive dance and completely beserk? Do you [practically] abuse young dancers? Would you like the chance to show the world how insane you are? Our TV company needs to exploit someone like you…”

    I think it is past bedtime. Am certainly pinning incomprehensibility of this reply on The Epic Tired. Yes.

    *trots off to bed*

    • Zebra Ballerina-

      Interesting that you and Janey both seem to think that the Miami dancers seem to not have the same joy for dance as the original series, which I have not watched much of. Maybe in order to make a better evaluation, I should compare the two.

      I agree that these sorts of shows often make you feel guilty about watching. This country has a strange fascination with reality shows, myself included, but mostly because they are like a train wreck: you just can’t look away. The producers certainly do a great job at upping the drama to pull you in.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Always appreciated!

      • I think it probably is worth watching the original series for comparison purposes. This new version seems to take the extremes of the original and push them further – in a kind of “there’s not enough crazy in Dance Moms, let’s make sure the new show is pure drama & awfulness, none of the lighter stuff & certainly no joy”.

        The UK’s seen an upsurge in the number of reality TV shows over the last 12 years or so, though we’ve still nothing like the volume available in the US. (That’s prolly partly to do with the very different nature of TV programming in the UK & the US though… Hmm…) I suppose it is human nature to find this kind of thing compelling even if we’re simultaneously repulsed by it.

        I struggle to understand the actual purpose of the competitions the children are forced into – the whole set-up seems deeply peculiar.

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