An Unexpected Guest (My Episode 20 Recap)
As usual this week on DanceMoms was filled with plenty of mama drama and antics from Abby. There is never a dull moment at the ALDC. Although I was not present during pyramid, once I arrived, it became apparent that the week was going to be even more challenging than usual and not just for the girls! Who could have predicted Jill’s arrival during pyramid? As if her mere presence wasn’t surprise enough, Jill had the audacity to expect Abby to immediately put Kendall in the group dance and add her to the pyramid as a member of the ALDC. Bizarre- but so was the result! Jill’s aggressive approach was rewarded when Abby allowed Kendall to practice and travel with the group! It seems that Jill is using the old playbook with the number one rule “It’s all about me and my kid!” Time will tell if Jill has learned anything from her last experience as an ALDC Dance Mom.
I am thrilled that Nia had a solo this week. Nia has grown tremendously as a dancer and the solo was a great opportunity to display her individual talent. I decided to take the high road and embrace the solo and focus on the positive theme of the Working Girl performance. (I have affectionately named this dance Laquifa Part 2). I wanted Nia to proudly portray the character. I did not want Nia to think that I did not support her solo. Yet, I was cautiously watching how this dance developed in case I needed to be vocal about the Laquifa Part 2. I am pleased that new choreography and costuming elevated the piece making it a more competitive number to showcase Nia’s great dancing.
As it turned out, Nia’s solo choreography was the least of my worries this week. I found myself in a bitter war of words with Abby over Nia’s appearance. Nia’s braids had been approved. Abby targeted Nia’s hair and her hair is an extension of her identity. I still cannot believe that Abby criticized Nia’s hair in such an inappropriate manner. This was a personal attack based on someone’s appearance. I am shocked that Abby thought she had the right to make outrageous comments about Nia’s hair. It was cruel and mean spirited. I was disappointed that a grown woman would target a child’s physical appearance in such a negative and public way. I had to defend my daughter and her right to proudly wear braids. Abby’s disgusting comments about Nia’s hair were offensive and insulting. She left me with no other choice. I had to respond to Abby in terms that I knew she could understand. I encouraged Abby to focus on herself first- that leaves less time for her to unfairly criticize others!
Abby crossed a line of decency. You do not attack a person’s self-image. I am sensitive to Nia’s views of herself. I want her to have a positive self-image. Nia is a good person and I don’t want her to aspire to someone else’s version of beauty. I want Nia to see the beauty she has to offer and to ignore those who try to negate her self worth. Shame on Abby!! That is why I am present at the studio and at the competition. I am the parental voice for Nia. The first job of a DanceMom – protect your child!
Knowing that this week was incredibly stressful on Nia I was worried about Nia remembering her solo. When Nia panicked in the dressing room I knew I had to calm her down- and fast. I refused to allow Nia to succumb to the idea that she did not know her dance. Nia knew the choreography for her solo inside and out. It would not serve Nia well if I coddled her at that moment. I had to be firm and clear with her and tell her she could do the dance. I was not going to buy into this worry or self doubt that she started to embrace in the dressing room. There was no time for that and all of her energy had to be focused on owning that dance so that when she entered the stage she would step on it as a confident dancer.
I was thrilled with Nia’s performance. It was outstanding. This was a turning point for Nia. She earned a standing ovation and she brought tears to many eyes- no exaggeration. She was a different dancer when she left Lancaster. What I see happening before my eyes is the evolution of a dancer. Regardless of Nia’s place I know that she achieved at a high level. You can never predict what the judges might be looking for. Nia’s 9th place overall score was significant. We have chosen to look at this experience as one of her personal bests. Nia garnered a lot of recognition for this dance. Nia is a talented dancer and entertaining performer.
People often ask why I stay at Abby’s studio. Is it worth it? Looking at Nia today I can honestly say- yes it is. I am optimistic. I see a metamorphosis occurring. The transformation of Nia as a dancer is incredible. She is maturing and developing. Her performance skills are amazing and her technical skills are improving. Nia still has the joy and passion in her eyes when she dances. She loves to dance and she enjoys working with Abby. They have a rapport that is hard to describe. In the event it’s necessary, however, I am the “mommy monitor” and never off duty!
Don't miss new episodes of "Dance Moms" Tuesdays at 9/8c. Watch full episodes online now!