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Dance Moms is an unscripted reality television program. The show follows a group of "Moms" and their daughters, the latter performing in the world of young competitive dance as instructed by the controversial Abby Lee Miller. The program is largely filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the Abby Lee Dance Company.

Lifetime-photo
Dance Moms is produced by Collins Avenue Productions, and broadcast by Lifetime Television. The first season debuted on July 13, 2011, followed by a second season beginning January 10th, 2012. A third season began on January 1st, 2013, followed by a fourth season beginning 365 days later, in 2014.

A spin-off, Dance Moms: Miami, premiered April 3, 2012, set at Stars Dance Studio, operated by Victor Smalley and Angel Armas.

Cast

The Instructors

110721dance-moms1
ALDC-new
  • Abby Lee Miller: Owner of the Abby Lee Dance Company which she started at age fourteen. Abby is known for her strong demands and harsh criticisms towards her dance students. In the frequent arguments with the Moms, she has been called "bossy", "mean", and a "bully."
3 edit1
  • Gianna Martello: Gianna is assistant choreographer for Abby at the ALDC, and tends to avoid major controversies.


The Moms

Cristi2013
  • Christi Lukasiak: Mother of Chloe and Clara Lukasiak. Christi frequently argues passionately with Abby, usually seeking more attention and better treatment of her daughter Chloe.
Melissa2013
  • Melissa Ziegler: Mother of Maddie and Mackenzie. Melissa frequently finds herself involved in arguments with the other Moms when they accuse Abby of favoritism towards her daughter Maddie. She is more likely to take Abby's side than the other mothers.
Holly2013
  • Holly Frazier: Mother of Nia. With her doctorate in education from an Ivy League school,[1][2] Holly is calm and rational, but also sometimes enters heated arguments with Abby.
Kelly2013
  • Kelly Hyland: Mother of Brooke and Paige. Kelly was one of Abby's first group of students when both were young, but quit to pursue cheerleading. In Season Four, her physical altercation with Abby led to court battles and tabloid headlines, as well as her family's departure from the show
Jill2013
  • Jill Vertes: Mother of Kendall, who joined Abby's studio at the beginning of Season Two. Growing hysterical at Abby's lack of favor towards her daughter, Jill abandoned the ALDC to join Cathy's rival studio, only to return to Abby's studio later, but in a mellower mood.
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  • Cathy Stein: Mother of Vivi-Anne, and owner of Candy Apple's Dance Center, located in Canton, Ohio. During the early episodes of Season One, she played a role similar to the other Moms, making the long drive to have Abby teach her daughter. Later, Cathy quit Abby Lee's studio to return to leading her own. The two studios are now rival enemies, with Cathy shown in especially hostile relationships with Abby and Christi.
Leslie
  • Leslie Ackerman: Mother of Payton, Leslie appeared on the first episode of Season Two, and has made subsequent appearances. Leslie's loud shouting has generally alienated the other Moms.

The Dancers

Maddie-pyramid-s4-wimm-edit2
  • Maddie Ziegler: Melissa's older daughter. Abby considers Maddie her prize student. The other Moms have complained repeatedly to Abby that she gives Maddie special treatment, sometimes causing Maddie to respond apologetically or with distress. Maddie is considered strongest at lyrical and tap, although the latter is rarely televised.
Chloe-s4-pyramid-wimm-edit2
  • Chloe Lukasiak: Christi's older daughter. Abby has tried to promote a rivalry between her and Maddie, a theme also heavily echoed by the show's editing. Chloe is a strong dancer with especially good turning abilities.
Mackenzie's new headshot
  • Mackenzie Ziegler: Melissa's younger daughter, and the youngest regularly-featured dancer. Mackenzie enjoyed limited success during Season One, but transformed into a highly successful dancer during Season Two. Her sense of humor has become regularly highlighted. Strongest at acro.
Brooke S4pyramid - WIMM-edit2a
  • Brooke Hyland: Kelly's older daughter, and the oldest regularly-featured dancer. Abby has called her a "brooding teenager." On the show, Brooke has complained that dance classes consume too much of her time, and considered quitting to become a cheerleader (like her mother did.) Extremely flexible, Brooke is especially strong in acro, but also has suffered back problems.
Paige pyramid DMW-WIMM edit3b
  • Paige Hyland: Kelly's younger daughter. Abby criticizes Paige as a gifted underachiever. Paige is kind and supportive, and has often been upset by the show's fighting and other stressful situations, with her mother calling her a "sensitive kid." Also considered strongest at acro.
Nia-s4-pyramid-wimm-edit1
  • Nia Frazier: Holly's daughter. Abby often has assigned her ethnic roles, saying those will be available as jobs for her later in the world of professional dance; Holly has complained of stereotyping. During Season Two, Nia was praised for her hard work, and given a scholarship to the ALDC as most improved dancer.
Kendall-s4-pyramid-wimm-edit2
  • Kendall Vertes: Jill's daughter. She was on probation in many episodes, due to her newcomer status in Season Two, and due to her mother's behavior; additionally, she bounced back and forth from Cathy's studio following her mother's decisions to defect (or "studio hop".) Impressed by Kendall's dancing towards the end of the season, Abby was left wondering how fast Kendall would zoom up the ranks of her fellow dancers.
Vivi2012
  • Vivi-Anne Stein: Not as strong as the other dancers on the show, Vivi-Anne complained in Season One that she didn't want to be in show-business, and would rather play softball. Since Cathy withdrew her from Abby's studio, Vivi has not been heavily featured on the show, similar to the other Candy Apple's dancers.

For other Moms and dancers appearing on the show, see also:

About

Set in Pittsburgh’s renowned Abby Lee Dance Company, owned and operated by notoriously demanding and passionate instructor Abby Lee Miller, “Dance Moms” follows children’s early steps on the road to stardom, and their doting mothers who are there for every rehearsal, performance and bow … all under the discerning eye of Miller. Presenting a powerful cast of characters known to raise eyebrows, the series immerses itself in the highs and lows surrounding competition season to deliver an intriguing and dramatic look at the cast’s frantic pursuit of the ultimate National Dance title. The series is centered on the devoted Miller, who runs her school with an iron tap shoe as she instructs her young and talented students, while also dealing with over-the-top mothers who go to great lengths to help their children’s dreams come true. “Dance Moms” poses the tough questions many ask about what really goes on behind the scenes in the fast-growing and controversial art of competitive dance.

Constantly on edge from her strict discipline and at times harsh “my way or the highway” style of teaching, Miller's students and their mothers are pushed to the limit emotionally, physically, socially and, in some cases, financially as the students tirelessly rehearse every day for weekly dance competitions throughout the U.S. Some students and mothers in Miller’s universe buy in to her methods, while others crack under the pressure. Either way, “Dance Moms” uniquely captures this outrageous and dynamic interplay among teacher, student and parent as Miller commits herself to bring out the best in those students — and mothers — willing to dedicate themselves to be part of one of the best dance teams in the nation.[3]

Cast selection

In an interview after the first season, Abby Lee Miller claimed that the production company interviewed "23 families to choose those mothers. The children were never auditioned." However, mom Christi Lukasiak claimed that Miller's statement was false. "The children absolutely auditioned, too. I have Chloe’s audition tapes saved on my computer." Abby later stated that the children merely sent in short videos that were "20 seconds of amazing," rather than the face-to-face interviews of the mothers.[4]

The Pyramid

Nearly every week on the show, Abby Lee Miller uses a pyramid system to show her dancers and their mothers who she feels previously performed the best, and who needs to improve. The pyramid has been known to change every week. The pyramid became a subject of controversy among viewers because of its perceived negative aspect. Abby Lee Miller said it was not her method, but it was developed by the producers of the show.

Season 1

Episode  1  2  3  4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12 
Maddie Top Top Top Middle Top Top Top Top Week-Off
[n 1][5]
Top Top Straight Line
Chloe Middle Middle Middle Middle Bottom Middle Middle Week-Off
[n 2][6][7]
Top Middle Middle Straight Line
Brooke Middle Bottom Middle Top Middle Bottom Middle Middle Middle Bottom Middle Straight Line
Nia Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Middle Bottom Straight Line
Paige Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Middle Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Straight Line
Mackenzie Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Straight Line
Vivi-Anne N/A N/A Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Quit
  1. Maddie was given the week off, and her picture was placed well off to the right at a height equal to the top of the pyramid.
  2. Chloe's picture was placed in the bottom row between Nia and Vivi-Anne. Abby told Chloe she was taking the week-off without a solo so she could work on her technique. Christi said she was shocked Chloe was placed at the bottom.

Season 2A

Episode  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13 
Maddie Top Top Middle Middle Middle Middle Bottom Middle Top Top Top Top Top
Brooke Bottom Bottom Top N/A Top Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Middle
Chloe Middle Middle Middle Top Middle Middle Middle Middle Middle Middle Middle Bottom Bottom
Nia Middle Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Top Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle
Mackenzie Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Top Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom
Paige Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Top Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom
Kendall N/A Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Quit
Payton N/A Bottom Removed

Season 2B

Episode  14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26 
Maddie Middle Middle Top Middle Top2X Middle Top Top Middle Bottom Top Bottom Top
Chloe Top Top Bottom Middle Middle Top Middle Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Middle Bottom
Nia Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Top Top Middle Middle Bottom
Mackenzie Middle Bottom Middle Top Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Top Middle
Brooke Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Middle Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Middle
Paige Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom
Kendall Quit N/A Bottom Bottom

Season 3A

Episode  1 
[n3 1]
 2 
[n3 2]
 3   4   5   6   7 
[n3 3]
 8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16  17/
 18 
Maddie N/A Top Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Middle Top Top Top Middle Middle Top Top Middle Top Middle
Sophia N/A Top Top N/A
Kendall N/A Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Top Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Middle Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Middle
Chloe N/A Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Middle Bottom N/A Middle Middle Middle Bottom Middle Top
Nia N/A Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Middle Bottom Top Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom
Mackenzie N/A Bottom Bottom Bottom Top Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom
Brooke N/A Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Top Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom
Asia N/A Bottom Top Middle Bottom
Paige N/A Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Middle Middle Bottom Middle
Ally N/A Middle Quit
  1. In week 1, Abby threw unrevealed pyramid photos into the trash due to the absence of Brooke and Paige, stating "no pyramid." Later she tells Chloe "You were at the top of the pyramid. You were the national winner." It has been logically speculated that Brooke and Mackenzie would have been placed in the middle, also winning with solos at Nationals.
  2. In week 2, pictures in the layout of the pyramid were shown, but the pyramid was not formally presented.
  3. In week 7, Chloe was placed on the bottom with 'suspended' written across her photo, which was eventually replaced by a picture of Brooke.

Season 3B

Episode  22   23   28   30   31   32   33   34   35 
[3b 1]
 36   37 
Maddie Top Middle Top Middle Middle Middle N/A Middle Middle Top
Chloe Middle Middle Middle Middle Middle Middle N/A Top Middle Middle
Mackenzie Bottom Middle Middle Top Middle Bottom N/A Middle Bottom Middle
Asia Middle Bottom Middle Middle Bottom Bottom N/A Middle Top Middle
Kendall Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Top Middle N/A Bottom Middle Bottom
Brooke Bottom Top Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom N/A Bottom Bottom Bottom
Nia Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Top N/A Bottom Bottom Bottom
Paige Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom N/A Bottom Bottom Bottom
Payton N/A Bottom N/A (?) N/A Bottom
  1. Payton's picture may have been on the bottom in "Divas Las Vegas," but was not formally presented

Season 4A

Episode  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13 
[n4 1]
 14   15   16 
Maddie Top Top Top Top Middle Middle Top Middle Top Bottom Top Middle Middle Straight Top Middle
Kalani N/A Top Bottom Top N/A Bottom Top Bottom Bottom
Mackenzie Middle Bottom Middle Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Middle Middle Middle Bottom Middle Straight Middle Top
Chloe Bottom Middle Middle Middle Top Middle Bottom Bottom Middle Middle Bottom Middle Bottom Straight Middle Bottom
Kendall Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Top Bottom Straight Bottom Middle
Nia Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Top Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom Straight Bottom Bottom
Paige Middle Middle Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom N/A
Brooke Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom Bottom Bottom Middle Bottom N/A
Payton Bottom Bottom Bottom Bottom N/A Bottom Middle N/A
Chloe N. N/A Middle N/A
Fallon N/A Middle N/A
  1. In week 13, Kelly was put on top of the pyramid in a sarcastic manner

Studio owner Cathy Stein, and co-owners Victor Smalley and Angel Armas have also been known to present their own "pyramids" in a similar fashion to Miller's.

Ratings and Reception

The 2011 series premiere drew slightly over 1 million viewers, a 70% increase over the previous time period average, including especially disproportionate increases among adult women.[8] The final four episodes of the first season averaged 1.7 million total viewers, a further 70% increase.[9]

Dance moms-bieber-2012teenchoice

The first episode of the second season attracted an audience of 2.5 million viewers.[10] Overall, season two averaged a 69% increase over season one in adult viewership, including a 72% increase among women aged 18 to 49. Already with Lifetime's youngest audience, the median age of viewers further dropped to 32 years during the second season.[11]

The third season premiere became the most watched broadcast episode of the series, with a total audience of 2.8 million.[12]

In 2012, Dance Moms was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in the Television/Reality category, losing to MTV's Punk'd.

Dance moms ratings through beginning of season 4 v2

Trivia

  • Early in the show's conception, it was called Just Dance, with the idea of being a documentary.[13] About five different girls from five different cities would compete, and then meet in a finals.[14]
  • Abby has stated that early plans were to make the show 85% about the moms, 10% the kids, and 5% the dancing, with Abby not even in the equation.[15]
  • According to Abby, the first dancers John Corella suggested to other producers were Paige, Maddie, Chloe, Mackenzie and Nia; Abby had considered Brooke too old when she had sent pictures to John. Chloe similarly relates that Brooke was selected following her sister.
  • The cast expected only six episodes to be produced. After they were filmed, they were surprised when Lifetime ordered more.[16][17]
  • Thirty families were initially interviewed, twenty-seven from Abby's studio, and Cathy was the first person to be cast.[18]
  • According to Abby after Season 1, the girls were not being paid, because then they would be considered professionals.[19] However, at the time of filming the early third season episode Out With the Old, In With the New, Abby claimed on Twitter that the moms were on strike to seek better pay and perks[20]; Kelly later echoed this claim regarding the actual nature of the parking lot sit-in dispute.[21] Kelly's 2014 lawsuit against Collins Avenue (link to pdf) includes a copy of changes in her Collins Avenue contract, including various forms of compensation to be paid to the Hylands as a group; a small fraction of which was allotted directly to Paige and Brooke, at $1050 to each star per regular episode in the season. (The Pennsylvania 2012 Child Labor Act requires payment to child performers into a trust fund or scholarship, at 15% of the minor's parent's or guardian's total compensation.[22])
  • When possible, dances are often performed and filmed twice at competitions, with only one performance judged;[23] although with editing, this can sometimes lead to strange angles.[24] Repeat performances have been especially common with group dances since Season 3.

Related Shows

A sister show is Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, a panel-judged elimination contest series. A second sister show called Ice Moms was going to be in production, but they never decided to produce it. It was going to be focusing on figure skaters and their demanding mothers. And in October 2012, Collins Avenue Productions and Lifetime announced preliminary work on yet another Dance Moms franchise, in addition to the two located in Pittsburgh and Miami. [25]

External links

References

  1. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-east/reality-tv-shows-success-surprising-315793/
  2. http://www.amazingkids.org/childrensinstitute/userfiles/file/TCI10299_AK_Winter2012_FArev.pdf
  3. http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/dance-moms/about
  4. http://youtu.be/Mg8XngzhPvU?t=13m20s
  5. http://dancemoms.wikia.com/wiki/File:S01-E09_04-21.jpg
  6. http://dancemoms.wikia.com/wiki/File:S01-E08_01-53.jpg
  7. http://dancemoms.wikia.com/wiki/File:S01-E08_02-17.jpg
  8. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/07/14/lifetimes-rosannes-nuts-premieres-to-1-64-million-viewers/98071/
  9. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/12/05/abby-lee-miller-and-lifetime%E2%80%99s-hit-docu-series-dance-moms-to-take-center-stage-again-on-january-10/112727/
  10. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/01/11/lifetimes-dance-moms-returns-with-2-5-million-viewers-its-most-watched-episode-ever/116193/
  11. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/10/10/dance-moms-renewed-by-lifetime-for-third-season/152443/
  12. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/01/02/dance-moms-rings-in-2013-with-series-best-2-8-million-total-viewers/163549/
  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbNw4Tda0jg
  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEb8bKeAbiQ&t=2m00s
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P4WHWsx8MA&feature=youtu.be&t=16m00s
  16. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/exclusive-abby-lee-miller-talks-about-dance-moms-some-more-12771.php
  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbNw4Tda0jg
  18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg8XngzhPvU&feature=youtu.be&t=36m20s
  19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF0Kj9d6Ihs#t=12m20s
  20. https://twitter.com/Abby_Lee_Miller/status/260698760554897408
  21. https://twitter.com/dancemomkelly/status/304056068311482368
  22. http://filminpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Child_Labor_Act_revised_2013_Jan_via_L-I.pdf Section 5, paragraph (e), especially at (2)(iii)
  23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ41DG6CPU4&t=2m40s
  24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQjri6fJgFo&feature=youtu.be&t=45m40s
  25. https://twitter.com/BryanStinson/status/255729565165576195/photo/1
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