'Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition' S1, Ep3 Recap: Get into Character

Brianna was the featured dancer in this week's group number

On Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, teacher Abby Lee Miller (of Dance Moms fame) leads the show along with judges Robin Antin and Richy Jackson. Young dancers ages 6 through 13 compete for a $100,000 cash prize and a scholarship to the Young Dancer Program at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. This weeks season 1, episode 3 is titled "Get into Character", and the remaining ten dancers perform duets based on “American Extremes”.

Host Kevin Manno and Abby arrive in the rehearsal room together. Kevin tells the dancers this week’s competition dances will be duets, and that the winner of the Challenge Dance gets to pick their partner (everyone else will have their partners assigned to them). Abby tells them to be careful who they pick as their partner because “they could make the dance, they could break the dance” and “you need someone you can trust, but not someone who can outshine you.” We learn that for this week’s competition the theme is "American Extremes" (as in excesses), and the skill Abby will be looking for in the Group Challenge Dance is character and how well they portray a role.

Kitty McNamee (artistic director of the Hysterica Dance Co.) comes in to choreograph the challenge routine, and tells the dancers to “think about a moment in your life when you really wanted to be a part of a group and you just were feeling like you didn’t fit in.”

The dancers learn the group dance, a contemporary routine to “Good to be Me”, and perform for Abby. She commends Hadley for being “in it to win it”, Asia for her “outstanding facial expressions”, and Lexine for “bringing it”. Abby chides Tua saying that like last week, she was looking at everyone else to see what they were doing.

When Abby asks “Brianna, what was your story,” the young dancer cries and says, “I’m an outcast sometimes” and we find out a mean girl at her school started a “hate Brianna club”. It is very sad, and Abby advises the kids, “Dance is the place that you’re at home” and to “use all that pain and all that agony for a sweet victory.”

Lexine is named the winner and picks Hadley as her partner “because she’s at the top right now that means I have to push even harder and it like, improves me more.”  Abby and I both say “great answer” at the same time, so Miss Abby owes me a coke.

Hadley’s mom Yvette tells the girls they are the “Dynamic Duo”, but then tells the cameras there were better dancers she would have picked to win the challenge. Meanwhile, Shayna tells daughter Tua she needs more confidence, but then undermines her with, “Now you’re the kid that doesn’t learn choreography.”

The duet rehearsals begin. Jordyn is an experienced hip hop dancer, but her partner Amanda is primarily a ballerina and is out of her element, so choreographer Anthony Burrell tells her to watch Jordyn and “take all of her moves.” Erin is concerned about how daughter Elisabeth will fare being paired with Madison, who is “stellar”. Zack and Brianna struggle learning their lift and they do take a tumble, but they are fine.

Kitty McNamee says this week they are also going to do a group dance working with the idea of ”feeling like an outsider”, and because of Brianna’s “wonderful commitment”, she is chosen as the featured dancer. Part of what the dance will explore is body image, and Brianna will perform in a padded suit.

Hadley’s mom Yvette goes to Shayna’s hotel room under the guise of guiding her through the hazardous activity also known as dancing with Asia. She says she just wants to make sure that Tua stands out and that it’s not “the Asia show.” Yvette says Asia’s personality is “very overbearing because her Mom is” and that they need to make Tua stronger and raise her energy level, or “Asia is going to run over her.”

Kristie finds out about the meeting between Yvette and Shayna and thinks it was a private lesson, so on the day of the competition, she doesn’t take daughter Asia to duet rehearsal. When they arrive later to get ready for the show, Shayna says she wants to talk to her, but Kristie is in no mood for that nonsense. Then Shayna loses it and starts yelling, “enough with the drama”, but she’s the only one being dramatic. Hadley, the voice of reason in this scenario, tell her Mother Yvette, “you shouldn’t have talked”.

We watch the group number. The dancers are dressed in school uniforms and there are chairs on stage to represent a classroom. Brianna, in the aforementioned padded suit, portrays a girl who is struggling to fit in because she’s overweight. Then the other students rally around her and lift her up over their heads crowd-surfing style. Abby tells Brianna she did outstanding work, and Brianna says the dance was more than a victory, “it hit home”.

Backstage, Kristie and Shayna argue while Yvette wears a maniacal smile (her instigating face) and says, “I’m not sorry for anything.” Kristie tells Yvette she should be scared. Then it's time for the competition.

The first duet is Elisabeth, 13, and Madison 13, with a Jazz Contemporary dance choreographed by Anthony Burrell to "Looks are Everything". They both play beauty queens. Abby says Elisabeth’s French twists are a “big, hot mess” and Richy said he needed more emotion. Abby says Madison didn’t hold pose; Robin said she had “the connection to the diva”.

The next is Lexine, 11, and Hadley, 12, with a Jazz dance choreographed by Kitty McNamee to "Riches to Rags". Lexine is portraying the 99% of the working people; Hadley is the 1% who can buy anything. Abby tells Lexine she needs to turn your feet out, Richy thought she did a fantastic job. Abby wants Hadley to stop clenching her feet; Robin thinks she “brought the rich girl to life.”

Then we see Jordyn,12, and Amanda, 12, do a Hip Hop number choreographed by Anthony Burrell to "Internet Legend". Their dance is about addiction to technology. Abby says “I was impressed “and Richy tells Jordyn she did a “great, great, great job”. Robin feels Amanda isn’t “sitting back in it”. I think Amanda held her own in a genre she isn’t completely comfortable with yet.

The fourth pair is Brianna,13, and Zack, 13, with a Lyrical routine choreographed by Ricky Palomino to the song “Last One Standing”. Their characters are politicians, with Zack as the Democrat, and Brianna as the Republican. Abby tells Zack to watch his feet and offers, “Just like a politician pay attention to the details”. Richy thought he was a little rushed. Robin says Brianna has “beautiful technique” but needs to work on her pirouettes.

The last duet is Asia, 6, and Tua, 9, and they do a Funk dance choreographed by Victor Rojas to "Ugly". They portray extreme activism, with Tua acting pro-fur and Asia taking the anti-fur stance. Abby remarks to Asia, “When you do a duet and you work with a partner, there needs to be communication. So all those tough nasty looks that you were giving to me, you should have been giving to her given to her.” Richy says Tua really dove into the character and Robin says she handled it well, but Abby doesn’t agree – she tells Tua she lucked out she was dancing with a six year old, and that the level of difficulty was not as tough as some of the other dancers.

Shayna and Tua
The contestants who are safe are named, and the bottom two are revealed to be Asia and Tua. Abby tells Tua, “Once again you didn’t shine, and that’s what we need right now,” and then says to Asia, “We were blown away with your performances up until tonight.”

Ultimately it is Asia is who is safe, and Tua who is cut. Abby’s parting words to Tua were, “I’m sure you have a very bright successful future ahead of you.” We agree. Tua is a little cutie pie and if she decides to keep dancing, there are plenty of auditions to ace in the years to come.

Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime To see all of our AUDC coverage click here.   Photos and video ©Lifetime   Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012 7:25 PM