|Dance Moms stars Kelly Hyland and Christi Lukasiak|
Over the past two episodes of Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller has been in Los Angeles filming the second season of her other hit show, Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, so the spotlight has been on Abby’s nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein from the Candy Apples Dance Center. Now the focus has shifted again with season 3, episode 26 of Dance Moms Chatter, Part 1 - it’s a sit-down with the show’s executive producer, Jeff Collins, Dance Moms stars Christi Lukasiak, Kelly Hyland and Kaya Wiley (aka Black Patsy), plus two "super-fans", blogger Nadine Rajabi and comedienne Lisa Arch.
Jeff Collins hosts the episode and opens with a series of clips showing this season’s mama drama, including the infamous season 3 Dance Moms walkout, in which the parents boycotted rehearsals to force Abby to let Kelly and her daughter Paige and Brooke rejoin the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC). Another highlight showed when Abby cried while blaming her young star pupil, Maddie Ziegler, for siding with the moms during the walkout.
Then Jeff introduced “Dueling Dance Moms, Christi and Kelly,” and questioned them about Abby’s love life. Jeff heard that Abby has two boyfriends, but Kelly asks, “What do you consider a boyfriend, someone who’s willing to talk to her?” and says that one of them, John, is only with Abby because he likes to be in the tabloids. They also tell Jeff that their bus driver for competitions takes Abby to the movies when they’re on the road.
The conversation then moves on to this season’s on-again-off-again fight between Christi and Kelly, who are normally best friends. They fought because after Christi and Chloe left a competition in anticipation of Abby laying into Chloe for dropping her hat during a performance (and then they were suspended by Abby), Christi feels like Kelly didn’t call her, Kelly says she did, but Christi didn’t answer. We see a clip of them arguing, then Kelly tells Jeff, “There’s always going to be a part of me that is going to feel like I don’t know if she’s 100% on my side.” Christi disagrees but understands, stating, “That’s Kelly’s perception of it… perception is reality… every day we move forward… gaining Kelly’s trust isn’t something you take lightly.” Kelly then says, “I think I just know where I stand with her now.” The segment closes with the clip from when they hugged and made up, in which Christi compares Kelly to being like a sister, and says that she may not always like her sister, but she’ll always love her.
Next, Jeff introduces Dance Moms “super-fans”, blogger Nadine Rajabi and comedienne Lisa Arch. They ask the moms if they ever have time to do anything, and Kelly answers, “We have very good husbands, and we do have to hire people to take over some of our jobs.” They joke that Maddie and Mackenzie’s mom, Melissa, hires someone to brush her teeth.
Then Jeff says, “Mom-on-mom rage has been a staple of Dance Moms since day one,” and they spend time talking about Asia Ray’s mom Kristie. Apparently, the other Moms are a little afraid of her because she has offered to take a few of them “outside”.
The discussion moves on to some of the other additions to the ALDC, and Jeff brings out “fan favorite” Kaya Wiley, aka “Black Patsy”. Kaya explains her nickname: her mother thought she acted like the late pageant mom, Patsy Ramsey (mother to murder victim Jon Benet Ramey), and people started calling her “Patsy”. Because there were two other women named Patsy in her group, they became “Italian Patsy”, “White Patsy” and “Black Patsy”.
Black Patsy has been combative on Dance Moms, but Lisa Arch thinks she’s actually “shy inside”. Black Patsy says, “You have to put on a tough front with these bitches”, then adds she means “bitches” in a nice way.
Jeff asks Black Patsy if she has any nicknames for the Dance Moms, and she offers, “Mild Mannered Melissa”, “Holy Holly”, Crazy Christi”, and “Clonazepam Kelly” (it’s a drug used to treat seizures and panic disorder). She doesn’t have a name for Jill because she’s not talking to her.
When Jeff questions Black Patsy about what she thinks of the "old school Dance Moms", she answers, “They were like a gang but they didn’t want to jump anybody in.” They talk a little more about it, then Jeff cuts to commercial with, “Let’s hear it for some tough bitches.”
Then they play a game with a pyramid of Dance Moms trivia questions for the super fans to answer, and they show a montage of Jill’s outfits. I don’t find Jill’s outfits (lion sweaters, cowboy hats, etc.) all that odd, but it is funny when Christi says instead of looking in the mirror and removing one accessory (an old fashion rule), Jill actually adds three things. We also see Abby’s fashion metamorphosis, ending with her carrying a designer bag and wearing sunglasses and fur. Jeff describes Abby as “John Belushi playing Elizabeth Taylor.” Miao, Jeff!
We see clips of Dance Moms “meltdown moments”: Abby yelling at Chloe about dropping her hat; Kelly crying at the competition after Paige was critiqued by Candy Apple Dance Center owner Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and choreographer Anthony Burrell; Cathy and Abby fighting; Abby calling Chloe lazy; Christi calling Abby a plagiarist for claiming Sophia Lucia as a student, but not really being her dance teacher.
The talk turns to the recent “Two Girls, One Solo” episode, in which Abby gives Maddie and Chloe the same choreography, costumes and music for a competition. Christi says Abby did it to spite her, because she’s always saying, “give the girls an even playing field and see where the chips fall.” Christi also discussed what happened after the competition – in case you missed the show, Chloe won 1st place, Maddie won 2nd, but then the emcee came into the dressing room and said that Maddie had actually won. Abby tried to pass it off that the judges noticed a mistake, but at the end of the episode we find out that Abby lobbied the judges for the change. Nothing on Dance Moms surprises me, but of all three years that I have faithfully watched the show, it is the main moment that stands out for me; it was heartbreaking to see Chloe have to give up the win, but impressive to see her grace under pressure.
Jeff shows clips of different Dance Moms cast members crying, then asks Black Patsy who she thinks cries the most. At first she says Chloe and Paige cry too much, but then changes her mind and says Jill’s daughter Kendall is a crybaby. Then they discuss Maddie’s dramatic weeping – she cries “theater tears.”
To close the show, Jeff asks all in attendance what lessons they have learned from watching Dance Moms. Lisa Arch, referencing how often the moms quit the ALDC, says, “There is no more dramatic exit than to say, ‘That’s it, I’m done!” Nadine refers to the Dance Mom’s style choices and says, “No matter what you wear and no matter what anybody says about you, you can still keep dressing terrible day after day after day.”
Black Patsy says, “I’ve learned how to argue more with other women.”
Christie and Kelly give more philosophical answers regarding what their daughters are learning from being competitive dancers with the ALDC. They agree that the lesson is that “No-one’s going to hold them down,” and that they are going to do well without anyone telling them, “You can do it.” Kelly says her father believes the girls are “learning how to be a good loser.” I agree. No-one wins all the time, and learning how to handle defeat and move onward and upward is important. This is a skill they doubt Maddie is learning from her constant victories and praise from Abby.
Jeff Collins ends the episode with a promise for “more dish and drama” next week when Dance Moms Chatter, Part Two airs.
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Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo by Barbara Nitke, courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, July 3, 2013