This week's Dance Moms
is all about the politics of the dance world. It's a topic with plenty of potential, to be sure. In fact, it's pretty much what Dance Moms
is all about: women fighting for the good graces of a powerful connection who can break their daughters into the rarefied air of professional dance.
The girls all have merit in spades, but that will only get them so far without competitive spirit, a strong alliance and a teacher who can turn their potential into actual success. Abby tries to spin that story into a gold medal win, but with mixed results. Asia and Maddie rise to the occasion, but the group number takes second place (the first loser!), and Chloe slips into Maddie's silver shadow.
Dancers Under Pressure
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When the episode begins, Abby's still reeling from last week's loss to Cathy. She wonders how the Apple Cores managed such a solid, unified group dance while her girls struggled to mesh as well. Then, she ranks the kids as usual, pitting them against each other in a competition for that coveted top spot. I'll bet I know why the group didn't take first place!
Instead of fostering team spirit, Abby urges competition among the dancers, insisting that they'll only get better if they push each other to excellence. I'm all for healthy competition (healthy being the key word), but sometimes I wish "united we stand, divided we fall" were the ALDC's team motto. A recapper can dream, I suppose.
To keep the dancers on their toes, Abby gives solos to Chloe and Maddie, putting the two alpha girls in direct rivalry with each other. Asia gets another solo this week, and coincidentally (yeah right), Maddie sits this week out due to an injury. It looks more and more like Asia's here to send Mack packing. Whether that's necessarily a bad thing remains to be seen, though. Mackenzie doesn't look too heartbroken when she's watching the dancers from the audience.
School Before Dance
Speaking of Mackenzie, she may soon become a homeschool scholar if Melissa and Maddie have anything to say about it. Maddie wants to focus more on dance and less on boring things like kickball and Crayolas, so Melissa interviews a tutor who can help condense the school day and open up hours for important things like show business. Maddie's excited about the professional possibilities that homeschooling can offer, but as Mackenzie kicks back with her injury, she looks less enthused. "I'd miss my friends at school," Mack laments. Poor Mackenzie. This girl needs a dance time-out.
For the record, Holly's fiercely against the homeschool plan and urges Melissa against it, reminding her that while school may cut into dance time a little bit, it ultimately helps kids become productive citizens of the world and whole, multidimensional people with interests outside of the very narrow world of reality TV dance! I really, really wish the moms listened to Holly more often.
Degrading the American Flag
Holly gets plenty of chances to climb up on her soapbox and school the Dance Moms cast this week, and personally, I'm okay with it. Aside from the homeschool criticism, Holly shares her frustration with Abby's costume choices with flourishing style. Always gunning for a spot on The Soup, Abby asks the moms to make costumes for the group dance by slicing up American flags and fashioning them into shorts and bikini tops, and Holly is having none of it, disgusted that Abby would ask them to tamper with and destroy the American flag for a dance competition. The other moms agree, but they're less eloquent in their reasoning. "I thought it was against the rules to cut the flag?" Kelly wonders in a dumbfounded way.
While she's on a tear, Holly puts Kristie in her place for flaunting Asia's Internet "fame" to everyone. Possibly because she's got better things to do than hang out on the Internet all day, Holly insists that she's never heard of Asia, and she's not particularly impressed. Well Kristie's never heard of Nia, either, the newest mom retorts. Holly wouldn't expect Kristie to, though. I get the sense that Nia and Holly really value the process of dancing (that soul-nourishing creative process) more than toxic, fickle fame, although I do wonder about their choice to be on this odd "documentary," but I go with it anyway.
At the Ballot
The kids dance their hearts out to a judge that looks more like an MTV extra than a judge for a pre-teen dance competition. The bearded hipster in plaid decides that Asia's Rosie the Riveter impression in "Ready for War" deserves first place in her age category, Maddie's joyful solo gets first place in hers and Chloe's elegant solo is just slightly less exciting than Maddie's. The group dance gets second place, which gets Abby fuming as usual.
To kick the heat up even more, Abby asks the kids to vote for the best dancer this week, demanding that they choose between Chloe and Maddie. It's a political process complete with a ballot box, and when Abby counts up the votes, Chloe gets a harsh dose of reality. Seven girls vote for Maddie, while only three vote for Chloe. Abby has some helpful advice in response, though. "Take that sadness and put it into your dancing. Use more emotion!" Even Holly agrees that some good can come from the voting process. Tonight's harsh competition may just push Chloe to all new heights. Want to add Dance Moms to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.
(Image courtesy of Lifetime)