I am the acting CEO of Dancers Inc. one of the leading Competitive Dance companies in the US. We span from coast to coast and see thousand of talented kids from thousands of incredible dance studios all over this country. So I’m no stranger to the competitive dance environment. I’m also a dedicated dance Dad, with two daughters who have been dancing collectively for over 10 years. I’m very involved in their dance education at their studio, as well as very invested in how they do at competitions. And having succeeded in the corporate world, I know the dedication, drive, and determination it takes to attack your goals and achieve them. These are the lessons I strive to pass along to my daughters as they perfect their dance craft.
My children watch “Dance Moms” on a fairly regular basis, so I catch my fair share of episodes. But when I saw the most recent episode, I was disgusted and appalled. I understand that this is a scripted reality TV show, and that sadly, this kind of crazy drama sells. But this episode in my opinion took drama to an unacceptable level.
I’ve read other people’s comments; that Abby got what she deserved, or people joking that it was a surprise that Abby wasn’t the one doing the hitting. But this is not the kind of backlash an incident like this should engender. Instead of laughing at Abby and the seemingly endless depths she will let herself sink to in order to be “entertaining,” we should be labeling this show what it really is: CHILD ABUSE.
I can appreciate the desire to instil a level of commitment and dedication in young dancers. I play an active role in my daughters’ dance education, and truly love being a part of their learning process. Learning dance is not an easy task; for the dancer, the teacher, or the parent. It’s called a discipline for a reason. It’s hard work. In order to achieve your goals you need passion, drive, and above all and willingness to accept criticism and take corrections. You won’t get better if you don’t.
Now I am not attacking the kids or their level of talent because make no mistake, it’s fantastic. But I believe that the way Abby treats her dancers and her dancers’ families is UNACCEPTABLE. The environment they foster and portray on that show is despicable, and completely disingenuous to how good studios/dance companies operate. I can say for certain that the type of behavior that Abby and her parents exhibit would not be tolerated at any dance studio or competition that I attend.
This type of programing gives the whole industry a bad reputation. The “reality” they show each week is more fabrication and fantasy then truth. But parents, teachers, dancers, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE. We watch this show, we accept their version of reality, and we simultaneously validate their hypocrisy when we speak out to condone it.
Concerned Dance Dad!