Monday, February 17, 2014

The Dance Moms Battle

OK, so the jig is up - I am a Dance Moms fan.  I admit it!!   I've been watching since season 1 and keeping up with it on t.v. and even occasionally rewatching episodes on Amazon.

It's my guilty pleasure.

I am particularly a fan of Chloe, Brooke and Nia.

For those that don't know,  Dance Moms is a weekly reality t.v. series that follows the lives of young pre-teen dancers and their mothers at the Abby Lee Dance Company. Abby Lee Miller is the owner, director, choreographer, teacher.  Every week the group of girls and their moms travel to a competition somewhere in the United States to see how they fare against other dancers.  Whether or not they win the #1 spot greatly affects Abby's mood and the girls' future standings with the ALDC!  Kelly Hyland is the dance mom of Brooke and Paige Hyland.  She also had a history as a dancer with the ALDC when she was a teenager. 

So I was very interested in last week's episode - the Kelly/Abby Showdown that included a physical altercation and a post-show arrest warrant.  As they've started to say on the show, "It's the Jerry Springer of Dance."

Abby Lee Miller, dance coach, choreographer and studio owner has given her side of the events.  Before I knew about the fight I saw her interview on The View.   In that clip she talks about the actual fight at around 2:50.

Since the actual fight hadn't been aired at that time, I had to take Abby's sole perspective as to what happened.

She says that:
  • Kelly started things with her first.
  • That she simply asked Brooke whether or not she wanted to dance or not.
  • That Kelly came towards her.
  • And that when she made those chomping noises with her mouth she was joking and trying to make light.  
 
So I couldn't imagine any of the dance moms coming up and smacking Abby on the face and pulling her weave.  I mean, if they were going to do that wouldn't they have just done it last season already?  So now my curiosity was very piqued!

In case you missed it, you can catch the entire incident starting after the fourth break here.

One key point to remember, is that Abby has been threatening to replace all of the girls since the end of last season - it's the one thing she holds over their heads every week.  I think it's supposed to be some strange way of encouraging or enticing them to work harder.  Odd thing that.

Anyway, it starts out pretty much the way Abby says it did.  She came in with the new girl, Kalani, and her mother and she introduces them to the girls and their moms. Then Abby says that Kalani might just be the right dancer for the group because she has the "whole package.


So far, so good.

Then she shares with the group, that she told Kalani that she might just have to do a solo, and Kalani said she didn't have one prepared, but if they put the music on, she would be happy to just do some improv!

That's fine too.  It starts to go south when Abby starts singling out one dancer, Brooke, and points out that she gave her many opportunities last week to do something on a chair, "something cool."

I remember last season Chloe improvised a little when she was finishing a dance to Black Heart and Abby got all over her about it.  So now I'm totally befuddled - it's okay to turn on the music and just improvise, it's okay to figure out something cool to do that isn't in the choreography, but apparently not as you're leaving the stage... or if you're Chloe.

But what I'm really hating in this confrontation is that she is criticizing Brooke in front of her peers and in front of the other mothers.  If she didn't like what Brooke did or didn't do the week before, she really should have told her that in private instead of comparing her to the new girl in front of everyone.

One of the moms asks Kalani if she is in the group dance and Kalani says she doesn't think so but then Abby inserts, "Well I don't know look at Brooke. Didn't her mother just say to replace her?

Now, that isn't Abby saying verbatim that she wanted to replace Kelly's daughter with the new girl, but it is very, very strongly inferred. If I were Brooke's mom, that is the way I would have taken it too!

Abby continues:
"Brooke, is your mother speaking for you?  Do you not want to dance?  I just want your mother to quit speaking for you.  You're 15 years old. Grow the hell up."

Oh my gosh - if my dance teacher had spoken to me like that when I was 15 I would have burst into tears.  If my dance teacher tried to make me go against my own mother, I also would have burst into tears.  Teachers should never put themselves in place over the parents!

And this is where I think it starts to go downhill.  Kelly speaks up and tells Abby to "Shut the hell up." (That happens at 32:45)and says that if Abby isnt' happy that Brooke isn't smart mouthing her, that they will leave.  Which Abby seems to be just fine with.

I think it's hysterical that Abby objects to Kelly speaking up to her.  "See how she talks to me?" she says confidingly to Kalani's mom.  The hypocrisy is dripping on the walls now. 

Kelly does walk into Abby's direction at 33:10, but it's to hand the costumes over to Kalani's mom, not to attack Abby.  She quickly turns back to start packing.

The other mothers ( who know that their own daughters will have to reblock the entire dance and then face the wrath of Abby if they don't get first place) try to encourage her to stay.   But Kelly reiterates,  "Didn't you just say that my daughter looks miserable, so maybe we should put Kalani in her place."

Abby denies that at 33:31, "No I didn't dingbat."  Ad hominem attack aside, Abby didn't use those words, but again she did strongly infer that she could replace Brooke with Kalani if she wanted to.  And now it is Abby who stands up at 33:32, after calling Kelly a dingbat, and starts coming towards her.

Abby goes towards Kelly - not the other way around, with a pointed finger in Kelly's face.  Kelly retaliates by putting her own finger in Abby's face which Abby starts to chomp at.  This goes down at 33:38.

 photo 27be4518-aa8c-4cfa-bd0a-ed35973ccaf5_zps274e4333.png


The slap, if you want to call it that, happens at 33:39 with the hair pulling slightly thereafter.

My sister and I have a disagreement over who is at fault here.  I agree with sis that Kelly is responsible for her own actions and it would have been classier and probably better for everyone involved if she had simply turned on her heels, picked up her stuff and her daughters and just left without ever turning back.

But in my opinion, Abby was looking for some kind of confrontation the moment she walked into the room.  She escalated the rhetoric and then she stood up aggressively and came after Kelly.  I don't think she can play innocent victim here - more like instigator, provocateur and aggressor.

At the very least she has a warped view of reality.  Kelly didn't start things - Abby did.  Abby didn't simply ask Brooke whether or not she wanted to dance - she told her to "grow the hell up" for not disobeying her mother.  She went towards Kelly, not the other way around. And finally there is no way that chomping thing she did with her mouth was joking, cute, funny or in anyway meant to lighten the mood.  No way.



From what I've read, Kelly and her two daughters are out and although Kelly is facing charges, she has also started her own $5 million suit against Abby and the Lifetime producers.  



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