Some of you have probably seen the new Lifetime show "Dance Moms". Here is an Open Ed letter from Daryl Fink of Hall of Fame Dance Challenge.
Here are my thoughts on Lifetime's new show, "Dance Moms."
Reality Dance Moms show is Far from Reality
17 July 2011
Lifetime’s new show, Dance Moms, has hit a new all-time low for reality television, which is no easy task.
The show centers on a Pittsburgh dance studio and its 9 to 10-year-old competition team. It is a cynical portrayal of the world of dance competitions and the people involved in it. The coach/teacher is a tyrannical individual who lives by the motto of the sign that is posted in her studio, which reads: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” This is drummed into 9 and 10-year-old girls.
The dance moms themselves are aggressive and self-centered, caring little about their children’s teammates. And when it comes to their own child, the ladies main concern is to live vicariously through them. In one scene, despite her daughter being sick, one mother tells her to ignore her stomach ache and keep dancing. There are no likable human beings, save the children, in this so-called “reality” show.
The truth of it is, very little from “reality” exists in this show.
As the Owner and Director of Hall of Fame Dance Challenge for the last 10 years, and many years experience as a dance parent, I have been surrounded by dance moms who are caring, giving, and team players all the way. We have been blessed to meet beautiful people all over the country. In our experience, dance moms are no different than hockey moms or baseball dads in that they care about giving their children positive life experiences. They give their children a chance to experience healthy competition, sportsmanship, and probably most important, from a social standpoint, interacting with others their own age.
Further, dance provides opportunity for college, scholarships and, in some cases, a professional career.
Perhaps most important, this show births dangerous implications. It is dangerous not only for the competition industry, but also for the dance world as a whole. What is a young mother, with no exposure to the dance community, to think when she sees the depiction of crazed mothers and abusive teachers? And this false exposure of the dance community presumably has the full support of a major cable network. It’s harmful to the dance community.
I think the competitions and conventions that were filmed for this show were seduced by Lifetime and/or the show producers into believing they would be fair in their portrayal of dance life. Apparently, Lifetime took advantage of their final cut privileges, duping my colleagues. Suffice it to say that I find it unlikely my colleagues would agree to film a show about crazy dance parents at their event.
Occasionally you will get an over-zealous parent, but that is the exception not the rule. And as far as dance teachers are concerned, the portrayal of the studio owner herself is so far from the norm that Lifetime should be ashamed of itself. Shame on you.