Dance Moms is Bad for Young Girls


Dance Moms is a Lifetime reality television series that debuted on July 13, 2011. Abby Lee Miller is the director, teacher, and choreographer whose school is featured on the show. Abby lee Miller has had her share of bad publicity and is now in jail. The show features young dancers trying to make it in the dance world and show business. Abby Lee Miller has two schools featured on the show. One is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the other is in Los Angeles, California. Most of the filming takes place at Abby Lee Dance Company studios. Dance Moms follow Abby Lee and her Junior Elite Competition Team as they compete for awards in dance competitions. A lot of the time they are the featured team that wins.

The show features mothers of the girls who compete against each other to be in Abby Lee’s good graces. The moms often argue with Abby Lee, as well each other, over unfair treatment of their daughters or over why their daughters are not being featured. The girls on the show seem close but in the back of their minds they know that they are not only competing with other teams they are competing with each other. On the show, there is a weekly pyramid of individual headshots. No one wants to be on the bottom of the pyramid, everyone wants to be on the top of the pyramid. Abby Lee Miller picks the girls’ pyramid slots based on past performances of the week before competition, attitude of the girls, effort, and the behavior of the girls and their mothers. Miller admits that she did not do this before the reality show started. The people behind the show came up with the pyramid ranking. In life, we are always going to have to compete. Just how much competition is healthy for such young girls is a good question.

Dance mosm features young girls constantly getting judged.

They are judged by their teachers, the judges at the competitions, Abby Lee Miller, the moms, and by their peers. This must put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the girls. Dance has become their primary focus in their families. They are also being judged on a national level by their television viewers. Most dance schools do not get that recognition, so while they have this great platform to be showcased they also have a tremendous pressure to live up to everyone’s standards and that must be very stressful. The show has been on for six seasons so it must have a good fan base.

The cast includes Abby Lee Miller, the director of Reign Dance Productions. She is the owner and chief choreographer. Gianna Martello is an instructor who covers the different dance styles and she is also as assistant choreographer for the Junior Elite Competition team. Melissa Gisoni who is the mother of Maddie Ziegler, and Mackenzie Ziegler. Holly Hatcher-Frazier who is the mother of Nia Frazier who is the only original cast member still on the show. Jill Vertes who is the mother of Kendall, she has also been on the show the second longest. Kira Girard is the mother of Kalani Hilliker. Jessalynn Siwa who is the mother of JoJo. Ashlee Allen who is the mother of Brynn Rumfallo. Cathy Nesbitt-Stein is the mother of Vivi-Anne. Kristi Ray who is the mother of Asia Monet Ray. Asia is the youngest competitor.

Abby Lee Miller
Abby Lee Miller gets ready for her jail time

Dance Moms represents the dance community in the competition world. Every week it shows the girls preparing for their competitions like real dance studios. It shows how hard the girls work to please Abby Lee Miller, their teachers, their judges, their moms, and themselves. They spend hours in the studio trying to perfect their moves. Sometimes you get star students like Maddie Ziegler who seems to be one of Abby Lee’s favorite students and sometimes you get other students who struggle with the dances and the competitions. This happens at regular competition schools as well. There are always going to be star students and students that fall behind. However, certain dance schools are not all competition dance schools. They compete within the classroom as well but they are not going out to compete at award shows. The dance students still have the pressure of their directors, teachers, and parents, but there are no outside judges. Most of the time this makes for a less hostile environment in the dance studio. Instead of worrying about how good a student does from show to show, the dance students might focus on other things such as self-improvement, technique, and expressive movement.

I always studied my dance lessons at non-competition dance schools. We still had shows during the year but we were not being judged for them. I believe it is not only less pressure to win but also to measure up by being the best dance student for the director, teacher, and parents. The focus becomes more on socialization and making dance friends instead of having to compete against each other. However, there is nothing wrong with a dance-competition school if the dance students look forward to medals. The dance student should make sure the competition is healthy for them and that they can handle it. In the show Dance Moms, the girls place high in the dance competitions they enter. In real life dancers are not always going to place high or win every competition. The dancers must be ready to face rejections.

The good things about Abby Lee Miller is that she gives her students ample performance opportunities, she has them set a goal of doing better if they do bad on a competition and to reach the top of the pyramid the next week, and she dedicates herself to her dance studio. The bad points about Abby Lee Miller is she will stop at nothing to be perfect, and does not accept her dancer’s imperfections, she is always screaming at her dance students leaving them sometimes in tears, and she is an over the top dance director. She is not always such a good role model for dance teachers and students. She puts skimpy costumes on her dancers, she is always complaining about the girls and gives them very little praise, and she play obvious favorites such as Maddie.

Real teachers should give constructive criticism as well as praise to their students. Students should not try to out rank each other, instead they should put their focus on how can they be better. Abby Lee puts too much pressure on measuring up to the girl next to you. She may feel you do not win competitions by being kind to your students but she would gain so much more respect if she were a little bit nicer to all her students. However, she does get good results and a lot of her students have gone on to have big careers and they have branched out in the entertainment business. So, some good things have come out of her studio.

dance moms new season
Dance Moms gets ready for a new season at their premier in LA

Dance Moms vs. real life dance schools there is a difference. On Dance Moms, everything is exaggerated for T.V. The fights on Dance Moms are brutal. The television viewer can expect one every week. In regular good studios, they only happen occasionally. In real dance studios, they are usually small misunderstandings or disagreements. On Dance Moms, they are all out wars. Everyone fights on Dance Moms, director to mother, and mother to mother. In the real dance studio, there is much less fighting. Costumes are not as risqué in real studios as on Dance Moms. Most parents prefer their children covered. Even though there is favoritism on both Dance Moms and in real life it is not as obvious in real life.
Dance Moms is a television show, so the purpose of the show is to get you to watch. If everything was not as over the top I am sure that it would have much less viewers. I admire the girls on the show for sticking it out because of all the cut-throat behavior. I do not always admire Abby Lee Miller or the moms because they are adults and they should behave better. It sends the message that it is okay to behave badly. Although it has its fans Dance Moms is overrated.

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