'Dance Moms' Recap - Camouflaged Maneuvers: Abby Goes on a Date, Mackenzie Hurts her Foot

Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays on Lifetime

Last week on Dance Moms studio owner/teacher Abby Lee Miller went speed dating; this week on season 3, episode 11 titled "Camouflaged Maneuvers", the Dance Moms are excited to learn that Abby has a date. Meanwhile the girls of the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) struggle to learn a military-inspired group dance, and Mackenzie has an injured foot – or maybe she doesn’t?

Abby reveals this week's pyramid (her ranking system for the ALDC) – from the bottom up it’s Mackenzie (because there was an 11-point gap between her and the dancer who scored above her at the last competition); Nia (her being sick last week is no excuse for her sloppy legs, feet and arms) Paige (her arms were out of control – remember, in a previous episode her Mom says Paige has "noodle arms"), Maddie (she did four stunning turns then bobbled on an easy move), Kendall (“your Mom could help you or hurt you - this week she helped you”), and then at the top, Brooke, who did well as lead dancer last week. Chloe asks, “What about me… how come I’m not on the pyramid? “ and Abby snaps that it’s because she’s still on suspension. She wants Chloe to work hard to get back in her good graces.

This week the ALDC is headed to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the in10sity Dance competition. Abby gives out the assignments: there will be a group number called “Don’t Ask, Just Tell” – it’s a hip hop routine based on the former policy of the United States military regarding gay and lesbian servicemen and how they were made to, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” regarding their sexuality. Abby says she wants the girls to be themselves and not live with secrets or lies. Brooke, Kendall and Maddie will all be doing solos. Abby dismisses the girls and tells them to go warm up, but has the Moms stay behind so she can lecture them about how disappointed she is about last week’s scores.

While the dancelings rehearse, the Moms hang out and talk, and Melissa tells them she’s looking for a place to go on a honeymoon. This is surprising to the other Moms who aren’t sure if she’s married or not because she's been wearing a wedding ring, although no-one has brought it up because last year when they asked Melissa about her engagement, she had her lawyer send cease and desist letters forbidding them to talk about her relationship. Now she’s talking about it, and even though the Moms aren’t invited to the wedding (it’s going to be a small ceremony) they want to be a part of it and offer to go dress shopping with her, and Melissa agrees.

Meanwhile, Nia’s Mom Holly is miffed that during the pyramid Abby praised and rewarded Jill for her underhanded tactics last week when she worked against the Nia/Kendall duet by getting Kendall private lessons instead of having them rehearse together for the good of the routine. Jill objects to being called “sneaky” and can’t believe Holly is still “stuck on this”. In terms of her drive to get her daughter opportunities, she thinks they should all “deal with it”.

Abby gets a phone call from a man, a gets all girly and giddy. It’s actually kind of cute until we find out Abby doesn’t know the guy, she just met him at a gas station (he offered to pump her gas) and now they’re going on a date. Later in the episode Abby reveals she doesn’t know what he does for a living, and jokes that she didn’t do a credit check, but geez Abby, did you even Google the guy?

Abby teaches Kendall her solo, a piece called “Secrets and Lies”. Jill is thrilled that Kendall has another opportunity, but Abby chides Kendall for being expressionless, or as she puts it, “dead in the face.” Maddie rehearses her contemporary solo – it’s called “Uphill Battle” – and Abby says it’s a little darker than her usual pieces.

Then it’s time for another group rehearsal, but Mackenzie’s missing. Melissa heads downstairs to see what’s going on and it turns out Mackenzie’s foot is hurt. She cries and says they should just go home because she doesn’t t want to disappoint Abby. Hmm….

Abby goes to the salon to get her nails done, and Jill, Melissa and Holly show up to give her pointers and fashion tips. Jill drapes a scarf around Abby’s neck, but Abby nixes the idea saying “I’ve got one thing going for me and that’s cleavage - I’m not going to cover it up.” Then out of nowhere, Jill does her version of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance.The Moms leave and Abby finishes getting her nails done.

Later at the studio, Abby’s date shows up – it's a man named Louie with an interesting sideburn/beard combo and a bow tie. Jill, Holly and Melissa greet him at the reception desk to size him up and give him tips – Jill suggests that he pulls out Abby’s chair. On the way out the door he asks Abby if they are her friends and she says, "No, they're not my friends, they're my customers."

For their first date Louie has rented an entire space called Flowers in the Attic, an establishment that is a combination florist, restaurant and gift shop. Louie tells Abby he’s writing a book because he’s on the verge of figuring women out, and this gives Abby a laughing fit. We don't see them eat a meal, but they do share a dessert called "Chocolate Eruption" and they have red wine (a combination I can wholeheartedly endorse). Louie says “eruption” is one of his top 12 favorite words, he tells Abby he used to be a male stripper, and describes himself as 180 pounds of “twisted steel and sex appeal”. After the date Abby says she might keep Louie around for a while because she could use the laughter.

Jill takes Kendall to get new headshots – she wants something dynamic. Then she poses for a couple of mother/daughter shots, then she nudges Kendall out of the chair entirely and gets a closeup of her own.

The Dance Moms take a limo ride to the bridal salon, where Jill has planned a small, surprise wedding shower for Melissa with gifts, snacks and champagne. Melissa tried on dresses – Christi thinks they’re beautiful but perhaps for younger, more virginal brides who haven’t already been married three times. I understand what she’s saying, but I disagree – Melissa should wear whatever she wants, as should all brides – your wedding, your choice. At any rate, Melissa sharing her wedding plans with the group is a big change from last year, and Holly sees it as a turning point for the Dance Moms.

Melissa drops Maddie off at the studio, and tells Abby she’s taking Mackenzie to the hospital to have her foot checked. Later Melissa calls Kelly from the hospital and asks her to drive Maddie home. Abby encourages the Moms to discuss gay rights with the girls, and we see a scene in which Kelly talks to her daughters Paige and Brooke, and tells them everybody should be allowed to express themselves, and that they are free to love whomever they want.

Later Kelly drops Maddie off and stops in to see Mackenzie, whose foot isn’t broken, just sprained - she has to keep it elevated. Melissa goes on about how much Kenzie loved doing the hip hop dance (she does this throughout the episode – it does look like she’s covering for Mackenzie), and Kenzie is just kinda quiet. Kelly thinks Mackenzie was intimidated by the hip hop dance.

The ALDC arrives at in10sity in Minneapolis, and Abby starts to give Mackenzie a hard time about not dancing and tells her, “if you can walk, you can dance”, but then Kenzie produces a doctor’s note saying she has to rest her foot. A few minutes later, Abby brings in a wheel chair for Mackenzie. Kelly and Christi discuss Mackenzie’s foot, and think maybe she just didn’t want to do the group dance.

Kendall performs her solo, “Secrets and Lies”, in a black two-piece costume with white trim. Abby thinks she was good, but not good enough for first place. Maddie does her “Uphill Battle” solo in a flowing, skirted outfit and a head wrap in a shade of midnight blue that looks amazing on camera. It’s nice to see Maddie do a contemporary routine.

Backstage Abby sees Brooke rehearsing and says, “Just keep doing what you’re doing” as she exits the room to take Mackenzie to a seat in the audience. Kelly complains that Abby hasn’t paid any attention to Brooke – she hasn’t run her routine with her, she didn’t provide any guidance for her costume or makeup – Brooke did it all on her own.

Jill tells the team she’s headed out for a bathroom break, but uses the opportunity to show Abby Kendall’s new headshots.

The Moms confront Melissa about Mackenzie, who apparently has been backstage running around and doing cartwheels. Melissa backs Kenzie, saying she’s not faking. Christi thinks they should just fess up and get their punishment over with. Kelly and Holly also think Kenzie was faking an injury to get out of the group dance.

Brooke does her acro solo to "Arm Yourself” in a gorgeous one-shouldered grey sequined chiffon costume. She does a wonderful job interpreting the music. Afterward her mom Kelly asks her if it bothers her that Abby didn’t help her, and Brooke answers, “It’s better than her yelling at me.”

Abby questions Mackenzie about how her foot feels and asks, “What are you resting from, all the cartwheels you were doing?” Busted! Abby lines the dancers up and interrogates them about Mackenzie’s foot. They all look like they’re ready to laugh. Abby says if she finds out Kenzie is lying there will be serious repercussions, but even though it’s obvious she’s been fudging, she doesn’t seem to be in trouble.

In the most ridiculous moment of the episode, Abby takes Chloe aside and tells her the reason she’s still on probation is because she doesn’t speak up for herself by correcting her Mother. For crying out loud Abby, Chloe is a young girl! Work it out with Christi yourself and put Chloe back on the pyramid. Sheesh!

It’s time for the group number. The dancelings wear camouflage and face paint, and they march onto the stage. It’s a cute routine - Holly describes it as, “flawless, no, entertaining, yes.” Abby does her drill sergeant schtick again and tells the girls to line up, makes them admit something they did wrong during the performance, and has them do push-ups.

The awards are announced…

In the Elite Teen Solo Division Brooke takes 2nd place. In the Elite Junior Solo Division Kendall gets 4th place and Maddie gets 2nd. In the Group Division, ALDC places 7th. Shortly after the girls return to the dressing room, Abby comes in waving a white flag stating that she surrenders - she is not happy that they didn’t win first place. As the episode ends Abby says, “There is something broken at the ALDC and I need to fix it, and I need to fix it quick.”

In the previews for next week, we see Candy Apple Cathy is back. Yikes. 

To see all of our Dance Moms coverage click here.

On Tuesday (March 19) Dance Moms airs earlier than normal again, with a special two-hour episode beginning at 8/7c on Lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013