Is this show for real? I'm embarrassed to admit that I caught this freak show and got sucked in. I know "reality television" is an oxymoron. Here is my summary of the show. Take a fat, rude, arrogant, brutish bully of a woman. Add some moms living vicariously through their daughters and put them on TV. The sparks fly. The moms clash with the dance instructor over everything - choreography, costumes, music choices, favoritism, you name it. They clash with each other over, well, everything. Amazingly, the little girls are remarkably well behaved, mature and poised. They get criticized harshly for every wrong dance step but rarely cry over it. They keep trying until they get it right. They dance because they love it and are extremely talented. But, when the moms and instructor go after each other over their daughters, you can see the pain and stress in their JonBonet Ramsey overly made up faces. At least on camera, the moms are very supportive and encouraging of their daughters. When one girl froze on stage, the mom smiled, hugged her, told her she loved her and was proud of her no matter what. I only hope and pray that these parenting moments are not staged and only fodder for the public's entertainment. Somehow the girls manage to compete against each other while supporting and encouraging each other. I know many adults who could use a refresher course in that skill. But, dance is their life. They have no outside interests, hobbies, friends or free time. They are not little girls. They are dancers. That is all they are.
I would be a terrible dance mom. My daughter would not be permitted to wear showgirl style makeup, hooker costumes and perform sexy dance moves to a song that belongs in an adults-only club. The second the sadistic instructor ripped into her, we would both be in tears. While I love how supportive the girls are of each other, I don't like the 'compete against your friend' aspect of it. How do you explain to a 9 year old that you can be happy for your friend who just won the trophy you wanted and worked so hard for? The pressure on these girls at weekly competitions would put me into cardiac arrest.
My niece is an amazing and gifted ballerina. Actually, she works her butt off so it really shouldn't be called a "gift". When we saw her perform in "The Nutcracker" recently, one thing that struck me was how calm she was. Backstage, I didn't see any prima donnas or psycho dance moms. The girls worked hard but managed to enjoy themselves. Besides being a dancer, she is also a singer. She has friends, hobbies, interests and free time. She is a normal girl living a normal life and has an amazing talent. I don't know if I'm more proud of her because of her dancing or because of the beautiful young lady she is. Despite a grueling rehearsal and performance schedule, she made time for her 7 year old cousin who was in awe of her. She took her backstage to see the costumes, props and meet the other dancers. She answered a million questions and posed for even more pictures. My daughter will never be the dancer her cousin is but I can only hope and pray she becomes the kind, thoughtful, and caring young lady that her older cousin is. I hope that when those moms tell their daughters to "break a leg" that they are not also breaking their daughters hearts or spirits. Dancing is a beautiful thing. Being a beautiful person is a better goal.