Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dance Moms Miami: Season 1, Episode 1

This week was the premiere of Dance Moms Miami, a spin-off of Dance Moms.

Dance Moms Miami features Stars Dance Studio. The owners are Victor Smalley and Angel Armas. They noted that they love the kids at the their studio but hate the moms, and their goal is to create artists. They want to create winners.

New dancer Sammy and mom Abby walked into Stars Dance Studio for the first time, and the drama was instantaneous - Sammy has an existing conflict with fellow dancer Hannah. Abby opened up with a pretty conceited line, noting that her family has money and she and her daughter are pretty, so it's obvious that people are jealous.

Like Dance Moms' pyramid, Stars Dance Studio has a list. Hannah found herself on the bottom of the list for her bad technique. Lucas was right above her. Kimmy was next, then Sammy, although she was new. Jessi (the new Maddie, I'd say) was at the top of the list.

Lucas, whose mom is named Brigette, dances up to 30 hours a week. He's got plenty of confidence and awards under his belt. Brigette noted that people say Lucas only wins because he's a boy, but they're wrong.

The dance teachers told the team that they'd be going to Hollywood Vibe this week. Jessi would have a solo this week. Kimmy and Lucas had a duet in the solo category. Hannah was specifically told she wouldn't get a solo.

The group number was jazz funk. It was intended to be edgy. Right from the first rehearsal, it was evident that the Dance Moms Miami choreography would be nothing like Abby Lee's choreography.  It was more modern and edgy.

The cattiness began right away - Abby and Debi (Hannah's mom) started bragging about their daughters straight off the bat and tried to outdo each other. Debi's all about competition and it bothers her that Hannah isn't as competitive.

Debi and Victor argued because Hannah didn't get a solo. Victor said there's nothing Debi can do about it. He shut Debi down way faster than Abby can shut down her students' moms.

After the argument, we met Jessi and mom Susan. Jessi's grandmother was a dancer, and her mom is a competitor. Jessi knows that her dance means everything to her mom.

Lucas and Kimmy practiced their solo. They had to act like a couple in their dance. Kimmy's mom Ani said she's OCD because of her, and Ani also said that she's the peacekeeper among the dance moms. She lives for dance.

During the rehearsal, Lucas dropped Kimmy. That's when we saw the snarky side of the dance teachers that Abby doesn't have. We also saw the supportive side that Abby doesn't have. These teachers are definitely different than Abby Lee from the original Dance Moms!

Susan pulled Jessi out of practice to coach her herself. The teachers commented that Susan should back off because she's not a dance teacher, so she shouldn't teach. Her presence actually inhibits Jessi's dance, in the opinion of the dance teachers. (Very different from the moms-must-be-present approach at Abby Lee!)

Victor, one of the dance instructors, noted that he felt sick before the competition. Even so, Victor went on the bus with the dancers. Some people believed Victor should go to the hospital, Debi argued against it, presumably so he'd be at the competition to help her daughter. When the team arrived at the competition, Brigette noted that Victor should go to the hospital. Mayra, Victor's mom and manager of the studio, insisted that Victor was fine. Victor eventually left to seek medical help and came back feeling much better.

The competition

Jessi danced first. Her dance was much less classic and much edgier than the dances we see from Abby's girls. I really enjoyed it. Lucas and Kimmy were next. Despite their initial issues, they danced very well together. You could see that the tango style of dance made sense to them. The kids were adorable - they hugged when they got offstage.

The group was next. Lucas was FIERCE. In fact, the whole dance was fierce. And somehow, while the costumes seemed to want to invoke more sex appeal (not something we need or want from kids!) than Abby's costumes, the costumes seemed more age appropriate.

Jessi got second place in her solo category. Her mom blamed everyone but Jessie for her loss. Lucas and Kimmy won their duet category. The dance company took first place in the group dance. When the group got the trophy, Jessi pulled it from Hannah's hands. After that, mom madness ensued.

My thoughts on Dance Moms Miami

- The drama is clearly contrived. For example, Sammy was clearly cast to throw off the dynamic of the studio. And the arguing seemed very cued.
- The show has more wit than the original Dance Moms. The teachers are snappier, but less mean than Abby Lee.
- The dances are a lot of fun to watch. You can see a lot of amazing Spanish influence in the moves.
- This show is different than the original Dance Moms. It's not as exciting or mean, but it seems like it'll have more variety, and may be less repetitive.

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