By: Esha Bagora
Media Production Editor
It’s that time of year, where I begin to fall down the rabbit-hole of watching Dance Moms compilations on YouTube. The drama, the fights, the choreography, and the costumes draw me in, but the magnificent one-liners keep me entranced.
When the show began, all of the dancers were practically babies. Brooke, the eldest, was twelve and Mackenzie, the youngest, was six. The producers had each member of the Abby Lee Miller Junior Elite Dance Team sit down for an interview with the producers, and while each interview was memorable in its own way (children say the darnedest, funniest things!), I will always remember Mackenzie’s. When asked about her future dance career, Mackenzie answered “All I want to do is stay at home and eat chips.” I 100% agree. I too want to stay at home and eat chips, especially the Trader Joe’s Chile Verde Chips.
It’s fairly safe to say that Abby Lee Miller fostered a very emotionally-volatile environment on Dance Moms. She once threw a chair at one of her dancers, yelled at them constantly, and never treated any of them kindly (except for Maddie, but that’s still debatable). Regardless of the conflict or drama that could happen in the dressing room, the children were always expected to maintain their professionalism, causing an insane and unfathomable amount of stress on the dancers. Yet, anytime any of her students would react in a normal fashion— by crying— she’d scream “Save your tears for the pillow.” My pillow has seen many tears, but these were primarily caused by my math homework, not the immense pressure of winning hundreds of dance competitions to save Abby Lee Miller’s reputation.
My absolute favorite iconic line came after Abby Lee Miller overbooked everyone but two of the members of the Abby Lee Miller Junior Elite Dance Team. Abby “forgot” to send Nia and JoJo to a dance convention where all the other girls were, and when the convention ran overtime, that left Nia and JoJo as the only team members available to compete. The team had two solo dances competing, which were previously assigned to other people, but as Nia and JoJo were the only ones there, they had to take on the solos with no prior preparation. As Dr. Holly critiqued Abby’s mismanagement, Jill admonished her for “being ungrateful for the opportunity,” to which Dr. Holly responded with “Empty chair, do a solo.” This resurfaces in my memory every time I see a gray, empty, foldable chair, and I wonder how many points it would score if it were to actually perform a solo.
I feel like Dance Moms can truly be encapsulated with one golden line: “We are all crazy.” Kelly told this to the team after Paige forgot her solo and Abby kept making passive-aggressive comments about it. Sometimes, I think I’m crazy for enjoying a show which is essentially just a middle-aged woman yelling at a bunch of kids, and then getting mad when their moms stand up to her. But then again, everyone has guilty pleasures and mine just so happens to be reality television (How real was Dance Moms really? Convince me that most of it wasn’t staged).