My Life As A "Dance Mom"

After watching the new season of Dance Moms last night, this Dance Mom has to defend herself!

So last night after still recovering from this past weekend's Relay for Life, my 12 year old daughter squealed in delight that the original "Dance Moms" was returning to the LifeTime network (I had not allowed her to watch Miami only because I couldn't stand the squawking in the promos). 

Those who are familiar with me know I do get a bit caught up in my reality shows - I lived breathed and died for Real World San Fran, Boston and Seattle. Yes, I've been known to "tweet" Caroline Manzo on one or more occasion. 

But my biggest brush with reality fame was being re-tweeted by Andy Cohen, the brains behind the Housewives franchise, when I told him that the "Real" NJ Housewives were at Costco. 

He said he was "sorry, he missed me!" At any rate, I enjoy the guilty pleasure of Reality TV just as much as the next guy, but Dance Moms makes me sad. 

I took dance classes for 12 years. Each spring we would have our year-end recital over 4 long nights with half of the school population being exhausted on Monday morning due to either performing or going to see a performer.

My children dance and again 3 nights a week of 9 classes total between the 3 children.  A week of dress rehearsals, and this weekend, ending with 4 recitals (because of course we can't be in all the same shows, could we?!).

My sister in law was also a dancer, and even minored in Dance at Rutgers, teaches at the dance school we attend and even belongs to a dance troupe that performs beautiful pieces around the county.

So with all these years of combined dancing, you'd think that maybe the behaviour we see on Dance Moms might not surprise me. Wrong. 

Call me crazy, perhaps I miss the arguments and drama, but seriously, what upstanding dance studio do you know that would allow their parents and teachers alike to behave in such a manner while in the studio and, better yet, out representing your studio?! 

Last night's episode of Dance Moms had Miss Abby drilling into the heads of her students (who in my opinon are innocent, talented, little girls) that it's HER name out there and they must perform to their absolute best. 

So why then, is it okay for her scream and yell and carry on in front of cameras, judges and other audience members? Does she think that people will ignore her behavior but pick up only on the fact a 10 year old child forgot to point her toe?

Our dance school does not compete. However, we do perform at local events throughout the year and in past years they've performed at Disney, Washington DC, Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade and this year are planning on going to Niagara Falls, Ontario and Toronto and we have a reputation of presenting ourselves very well. 

I don't know the pressures of the competition scene, but I've never seen parents scream or yell at the teachers or the teachers scream and yell at the children or parents. 

That's not to say, that everybody has gotten along or there aren't differences between people. There have been times during dress rehearsals or picture day that voices may be raised or stern requests are made, but not to the point where the children are in tears! The people I've been around in dance schools and at dance competitions I've attended are normal, sane, well-behaved adults. 

As we near recital weekend in our house, I'm getting a bit stressed as to what shoes need to be sprayed or if I have enough hairnets for the weekend which is all normal and par for the course. 

I do not find myself coming up with quick insults to throw out to any of my "frenemies." I am, however, a bit embarrassed to say I couldn't stop watching last night after my daughter abandoned the episode and had to see how Miss Abby Lee would handle her "loser" dancers and her "Mothers of the Year" Dance Moms. 

I can only hope that if dancing becomes something my children seriously pursue, that I continue to be the Mom that flies by the seat of her pants, texts her sister in law teacher with questions, or just does the best she can for her kids because for the past 8 years, it's been working pretty well for me. Guess I'll never get my own reality show......

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cindi forsythe June 09, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Glad to have a real "Dance Mom" share her life experiences as a dancer as well as the mother of three who have followed in her footsteps. I have seen two of the Walsh children's dance recitals and was around their home during the days leading up to the performances, so I saw first hand the amount of time the "moms" dedicate to the whole experience. What we see on the reality show "Dance Moms" may be happening in that studio, but I sure that the dance school that the Walsh kids attend does not run on "drama" but on hard work by everyone ...instructors, students, and moms and dads!! Cindi F.
lisa June 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM
We attend the same dance school as the Walshs and I can proudly say everyone there is respectful, friendly and most of al supportive of the children and their efforts.You actually do become part of the "family" . This is clearly visible when you attend a show or a recital which btw was FANTASTIC !
Stephen Waldrup June 20, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Lindsay--Just wondered if you saw my earlier blog on "Dance Moms" entitled "Let's Keep the Drama on Stage." Glad to see that there are other non-crazies out there!
Lindsay Brydges Walsh June 29, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Oh Stephen I didn't see your blog. I'll go visit yours to see what you had to say. It truly is amazing how people can lose their minds.


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