Divided We Conquered (My Episode 16, Season 3 Recap)
Hear no evil? What about “speak no evil”? As we turned to this week’s pyramid, I wished that Abby would heed those words. Clearly there was no way that was happening since Abby promptly delivered her critiques of the girls with her usual vigor and pointed remarks. I must admit that Abby’s positive comments about Nia’s performance in last week’s group dance were special (and surprising since rare for Abby). Hearing Abby say “outstanding” regarding Nia’s performance in the flag dance last week was a memorable moment. By moving Nia up on the pyramid, Abby recognized Nia’s positive contributions in last week’s group dance. Nia was excited about the opportunity to perform a duet with Asia this week. Abby had high expectations for this duet and she challenged Nia to keep up with Asia’s energy and fierce attitude. I knew that Nia was up to this challenge- dancing beautifully and “full on” while remaining true to herself - being Nia. Nia felt encouraged despite Abby’s mistaken assessment that Nia lacks Asia’s energy.
The pyramid brought highs, lows and frustration. Abby blamed all of the girls, except Maddie for the group’s second place finish in last week’s overall. Abby’s solution was to teach the girls a lesson by removing Maddie from the group dance this week. Abby’s challenge - the girls had to win the group dance without Maddie dancing. Perhaps Abby thought that her harsh comments about the group’s performance would serve as motivation for the girls. I disagree. Mean spirited comments about the girls’ lack of discipline and passion are not the best motivational tool for girls who truly work hard and strive for personal excellence! Abby thought Maddie’s removal from the group dance would be a punishment. I think that the girls saw it as an opportunity to prove their talent and commitment and show that they could win first place. Abby may believe that there is just one star on the team. Yet each girl brings something uniquely special to the group and that makes for a happy, dynamic and successful team. Division should not be encouraged (especially not by the dance instructor).
I do not know what is going on with Mackenzie’s foot. I have to defer to Abby, Melissa and the doctor on how to address Mackenzie’s health and when she is ready to dance again. Clearly this was a sensitive issue and tempers flared for various reasons. Abby had to prepare the girls for the performance on “The View” and she needed to ensure that Asia could handle Mackenzie’s part in the dance if necessary. Since Mackenzie was part of the winning national team, I can see why she would be disappointed if she were replaced in the dance on “The View”. However, I understand the importance of a doctor’s note and erring on the side of caution. Abby’s concern was justified. There is no need to rush recovery. One thing is certain-we all share a genuine concern for Mackenzie’s health and well-being.
One of the scariest moments I have ever faced at a dance competition occurred when the duet was called to compete before they were ready. Although I was confident that the girls had the ability to perform well, I was upset that they were put in a situation that was unsafe. I was appalled that Nia and Asia were prematurely being put on stage without the proper preparation-without stretching or running the duet. There was tremendous risk with the duet performing a number without being warmed up before going on stage. My focus was on safety before anything else. Nia was doing an incredibly difficult lift where she lifted Asia, who is close to Nia’s body weight, over her head. This was frightening to watch and as a mother I could not enjoy the routine as they performed it since I was very anxious and worried about the girls potentially getting hurt. There will be many opportunities to teach general life lessons about the need to audition without notice. This was not that situation and I viewed Abby’s deflection of the magnitude of the situation as a way to relinquish responsibility about the matter. You can teach lessons of adaptability and flexibility without compromising a child’s safety in the process. Although Abby maintains that the girls could practice backstage, we all know that just a few weeks before Abby instructed the girls that they were not allowed to rehearse backstage because it was distracting and unsafe. Abby’s job as teacher and coach is to ensure that the girls are prepared to compete. She does so with every group number or soloist. I hold Abby accountable as a dance educator and professional to always consider the girls’ safety the priority. The duet’s first place finish was so inspiring! Nia and Asia worked it out fearlessly and fabulously despite the disadvantage! I guess Abby strutting her stuff was more than just mere entertainment for the moms in the galley!
The girls were brilliant in the group dance. It was a mature contemporary number with intricate movements, timing, and music. Yet the girls were able to capture the judges’ eyes in a positive way and win first place. Watching the group on stage I was pleased. The girls looked cohesive and strong and danced beautifully as a team. They were not at loss without Maddie participating in the dance. Abby kept stressing all week that the girls needed Maddie to win. This week the girls proved to Abby that they could win without Maddie. There is enough motivation, talent and strength among all of our girls that they pulled off a first place win despite Abby’s unkind remarks earlier this week. All of the team was smiling-Maddie included! The girls work together so well! I am proud of our girls and the group performance. Outstanding!!! Maybe the group win will silence Abby for a while and we will not hear any evil next week. Let’s hope but I doubt it!