The New Not-So-Normal (My Episode 1, Season 3 Recap)
Returning to the studio after the break was exciting. We were eager to get started with the competition season and we missed the team. It was wonderful to have the time off to spend with family, yet it was also good to return to our “dance family” routine. The first week back after returning to the competition team, this sense of exhilaration quickly evaporated when I realized that there would be no sense of normalcy.
From the moment we entered the dance studio it was apparent this was not going to be the normal start to the competitive dance season. First, Kelly did not show up to rehearsal with Brooke and Paige. Although Abby returned to Pittsburgh, the “new but not necessarily improved Abby” abruptly decided to tear down her own pyramid! Although I am not a fan of the pyramid system, on some level, the girls strive for a position on the pyramid knowing that it represents Abby’s given framework for evaluating their performance. The pyramid system at least requires Abby to articulate some “objective” reason for the place she assigns each dancer on the pyramid.
There was much drama from day one. Nia did not get a solo this week and I was frustrated and disappointed that she was left out. Abby moved forward with speed and relish in deciding to hold open auditions to replace Brooke and Paige! This is every dance mom’s nightmare because it affirms Abby’s mantra that everyone’s replaceable. If Abby thinks it is a good idea to replace Brooke and Paige who will be replaced next on the team? It was apparent during the audition that there are many talented dancers but Abby has to remember that she is creating a team of dancers, not several talented individual dancers. Abby needs to remember that she trained our girls so their performance is a reflection of her work and training. Instead of focusing on attracting talent from other dance studios, she should be focused on developing the talents of the dance students she produces. The girls appreciate what Abby has taught them and the experiences they have had under her leadership, but Abby should also appreciate how this competition team has helped catapult her reputation as a dance teacher on a national level.
Despite the tumultuous start to the competition season, I am glad that I decided to take Nia to Denver for the competition. At one point, I was seriously considering not going to the competition if I was not certain Nia would be performing. I decided to take a leap of faith and go because I believe in Nia! I believe that the right message to send and also to learn is that a member of a team supports the team. I am glad that we went and I am thrilled that Nia performed in the group dance. I disagreed with Abby’s decision to use the group dance as a way to rein mothers in as a control mechanism. She was not using artistic license, she was being manipulative and demonstrating her control.
I was delighted that the girls performed well. They were amazing on stage. They proved to Abby that they have strong skills and talents. Abby doubted that our girls had the passion and ability to win. The stakes were high with this competition. We definitely felt that our girls needed to win. If our girls did not win, it would affirm Abby’s belief that she should replace the entire team. When our girls placed first it was a tremendous victory. Our girls won first place for Abby, but they also won for all of the girls on the ALDC team- including Paige and Brooke! Now our mission is to find a way to get Kelly, Brooke and Paige back on the team and back with our “dance family”!
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