Dance Moms recently aired its reunion shows which signal the mid-season break as competition lulls before the push for Nationals. But which team will go to Nationals? Both teams have completed and the new team won the group dance. What impact has that had on the original ALDC team? Here’s our analysis of the first half of Dance Moms season 4.

Dance Moms Reunion Part 2 Recap: The Girls Have Their Say>>>

The Good

Chloe Becomes a Leader

Chloe stepped up at the reunion to serve as hostess. She had self-confidence and led the discussion. This is a sign of a leader. She listens which Chloe has done for years.

Chloe knows that her mother is her problem. Christi and Abby can’t get along. This has hurt Chloe’s success on the team because Abby punishes the girls for their mothers’ actions. We see this during season two and their suspension from the team. It takes courage to return when you know your teacher is unhappy.

Chloe has the poise of a leader. We’ve seen her crying in the dressing room but not showing her tears on stage. While Maddie often comes across as the leader, it’s Chloe who is backstage giving encouragement to others as they prepare to dance.

Mackenzie Finds Herself

The reunion had Mackenzie sharing her spotlight with Asia. Why? Mackenzie is the one who has a video ready. Mackenzie has a record. While Asia will be getting a television show, she’s not a part of Abby Lee, so why let her steal Mackenzie’s spotlight?

During the course of the seasons, Mackenzie has realized she needs to take control. While she may not match Maddie in dancing, she can control duets with style and grace. We’ve seen this during her duet with Vivi-Anne where she drew the attention of the audience. Mackenzie has lived in Maddie’s shadow but she’s finding her space by singing. She will not allow Asia, Sarah, or anyone take it from her.

Mackenzie may not continue dancing because she loves singing. She has proven to Abby that she is just as good as Maddie by performing and winning with Maddie’s old solo. While Abby thinks that Asia would win an one-on-one competition, Mackenzie shouldn’t be counted out. She’s got moves that Asia could never do. 

The Bad

Maddie’s Confidence Isn’t What it Used to Be

We’ve always seen a confident Maddie. She’s performed without music and sick. Nothing seems to shake her on stage. During the reunion we heard her admit that she gets upset when Abby tells people she can do things she can’t.

Maddie is a good dancer. There’s no getting around that. She knows what she needs to do to sell a dance. Her solo at the start of season four proves that as she owned a Fosse style routine.

The question is whether Maddie is happy. Melissa decided to home school Maddie and MacKenzie so they could spend more time at the studio. Even before this, Maddie would miss school for secret rehearsals. All of her focus seems to be on pleasing Miss Abby and being a star. Is she realizing that she is missing out on childhood fun?

Kendall Needs a Place

Kendall wasn’t in season one and has struggled to find her place. Much like Nia, she is overlooked by Abby. Kendall has her own style which shows from the photo shoot. It is becoming more evident in her dancing as she matches Maddie step for step.

I think Kendall has a similar problem to Chloe– her mother. Because of the dance schedule, Kendall doesn’t have time to spend with her family. It’s Jill that she relies on. Jill causes many of Kendall’s problems. Jill has yanked Kendall from studios and we’ve seen the results. At Cathy’s Kendall still was struggling and not due to her skill. Kendall has stated that she feels the team is her family. Maybe she should tell her mom that she needs to be a mom and not a manager. 

The Missing

Nia’s Missing and it Needs to Stop

Nia has become invisible. At the reunion she was on stage but with no role to play or questions to answer. Instead, she had to respond to questions asked of others.

This has been an on-going trend this year. She dances well, gets third place, but nothing is good enough for Abby. In the past Abby has wanted Nia for multicultural numbers. This year, she intentionally pulled Nia from the Bollywood routine. Abby wants us believe that she wanted Nia to focus on her solo but is she really forcing Nia to the sidelines?

Nia has been with the show since its start. Holly has stated numerous times that she didn’t think they’d be cast. Nia is true to Abby and defends her. Yet Abby treats her like a stepchild. I hope Abby sees Nia’s dedication and uses her talents more effectively when the show returns. 

Moving Forward: Focus on the Stars

These girls are the stars of Dance Moms. We have come to love them. We’ve watched them mature and grow over the years.

While they showed maturity in the dance “The Last Text,” now they show this maturity on a weekly basis. As the years have passed, they see more of what the routine means. The Rosa Parks dance helped Nia realize her heritage. She took the character to heart and learned to utilize Rosa’s strengths in the dance. This is what I admire in all of these girls. They have the ability to grow even in the midst of chaos.

What would you like to see happen next on Dance Moms? What needs to change?

(Image courtesy of Lifetime) 

Linda Martindale

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV