'Dance Moms' Recap S4 E5 No One is Safe: Abby Holds Atlanta Auditions

Nia Frazier, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime
Nia Frazier, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime


Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller cut Payton from the team; the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) beat Cathy Nesbitt-Stein's Candy Apples group at the Dance Troupe International competition in Roanoke, Virginia; Chloe won over teammate Kendall when Abby made them dance head-to-head. Despite her team's recent success, Abby is still determined to replace some or all of the girls (except for Maddie, her favorite). This week on Dance Moms Season 4, episode 5 titled "No One is Safe," Abby holds auditions in Atlanta, Georgia; Melissa defends her choice to homeschool her daughters Maddie and Mackenzie; Nia is featured dancer in the group routine.

Dance Moms S4, E5 "No One is Safe," begins at Maddie and Mackenzie's house, where they are studying with their tutor. Regarding her decision to homeschool her daughters, Melissa states, "I'm happy, my girls are happy, and Abby's most certainly happy." Jill, who is there observing, wonders if homeschooling would work for her daughter Kendall, so like Melissa's kids, she'll have more time to focus on dance.

All of the girls and their moms arrive at the studio, Abby congratulates them on their wins at Dance Troupe International in Roanoke, VA, then she reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the dancers of the ALDC. The pyramid is usually based on how well each dancer fared at the previous week's competition, although sometimes, other factors like ego and arguments color the results. This week though, it's all about the numbers. The pyramid from the bottom up:

Kendall: The only person on the team who didn't come in first place.
Brooke: Abby was unhappy with her lack of height in her acro moves.
Paige: Abby wants her to work on her posture.
Mackenzie: Needs to learn to hold her belly in.
Nia: Abby was happy with her performance and facial expressions in the group number.
Maddie: Was outstanding on stage, and helpful in rehearsals.
Chloe: At the top! Chloe won last week and Abby says she owned the stage. Go Chloe!

This week Abby is holding her second round of open call auditions for the ALDC: this time, she'll be seeing dancers in Atlanta, Georgia. "I think this audition is gonna be even bigger and better than the first one," enthuses Abby. "If I have to replace everybody, so be it." Holly (Nia's mom), has experience as a school admissions officer (she's a professional educator with a doctorate), so she volunteers to help (all the while keeping an eye on what Abby is up to), and Abby takes her up on it. Maddie and Mackenzie will be traveling with Abby to assist, just like they did at the Orlando, Florida auditions.

After the open call, the entire ALDC will be traveling to Atlanta to compete in the Masters of Dance Arts Competition. Paige, Chloe and Kendall will be doing a musical theater style trio called "Southern Belles"; Maddie will be doing a ballet solo called "Ballerina"; Mackenzie will be doing a jazz routine called "Love Overdose" in the lip sync category (Abby wants Kenzie to master singing and dancing at the same time because she has "big plans" for her); the Group Number (minus Kenzie) will be a contemporary routine based on the civil rights movement called "At Last," in which Nia will be the featured dancer. Abby tells Nia, "The weight of this victory is on you." Holly hopes that Abby will treat the subject matter with dignity and respect without sensationalizing it.

While the girls rehearse, the moms hang out in their loft and question Holly; they want to know if her position helping Abby with the auditions will keep her from speaking honestly if she's unhappy with Nia's role and how she's portrayed in the group dance. Holly answers that she is "cautiously optimistic." Christi thinks Abby will cross the line, because "The woman was born over the line."

Maddie rehearses "Ballerina." Melissa says having a ballet solo will be a challenge for Maddie, but the other moms disagree based on the fact that Maddie has been having weekly private ballet lessons. Melissa says she's sick of hearing about it AND her choice to homeschool her girls. I agree with her; if Melissa has the means to give Maddie and Mackenzie an advantage in their chosen career, more power to her.

Later in the episode, Kelly worries that Abby will think less of the girls – including her daughters, Brooke and Paige – who aren't homeschooled. Kelly says in her family, school comes first. I agree with Kelly, too. I think each parent should decide what's best for their own child without having to defend it to anyone. However, it's an issue for Abby, and during Maddie's next private lesson with instructor Lindy, Abby disparages Chloe, saying that she's no longer a rival for Maddie in ballet. Then, Abby tells Christi that if Chloe is serious about her career, she should be homeschooled. Christi discusses it with Chloe, who says she loves dancing, but "can't imagine" her life without school, and says it's her "normal part of the day."

The action moves to Atlanta, Georgia, and the auditions begin. Abby puts the dancers through their paces, and cuts them as she goes. She chides one mother for the way her daughter looks – she says that with her edgy haircut – a crimped, short bob – she's limiting her marketability. Two other girls are cut, one for changing her outfit mid-audition (not a great idea, in a setting where the judges may only remember you as "the girl in purple"). When the mothers yell out for Abby to gives their girls another chance, it is odd, and a little off-putting – it's not something you normally see at auditions – but at least from what we see on camera, it doesn't get too out-of-hand.

The Masters of Dance Arts competition begins.Mackenzie performs first with "Love Overdose"; she wears a black and white two-piece costume with pink chiffon on the tush. I think this is my favorite Mackenzie dance!

Maddie dances next in a pretty pink costume with a ring of flowers in her hair around a high bun. Her smile is beautiful, and the music is lovely.

The trio goes next, and their yellow costumes with orange trim make them look a bit like fancy chickens, but they're all gorgeous girls, so they can wear anything. The choreography is cute, and their timing is spot-on for their aerials.

The ALDC takes the stage for their "At Last" group routine wearing skirts, ruffled tops and head scarves. Nia does an outstanding job in the featured role; she is growing into a sophisticated, modern dancer. The performance gets a standing ovation, even from people who aren't associated with the ALDC.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Elite Mini Solo Division, Mackenzie gets 2nd Place; in the Junior Duo or Trio Division, Paige, Chloe and Kendall are awarded 1st Place; in the Elite Junior Solo Division, Maddie wins 1st Place; in the Elite Junior Small Group Division, the ALDC wins 1st Place.

Next week on Dance Moms S4 E6 titled "Clash of the Chloes," Abby brings a new girl into the ALDC for a trial run, and her name just happens to be "Chloe"; Holly and Jill are excited their daughters Nia and Kendall have a duet, but from the previews it looks like Abby is threatening to pull it; Melissa worries that her daughters Maddie and Mackenzie are being overshadowed.

How do you feel about this episode of Dance Moms? Would you consider homeschooling to help further your child's career? Were you as thrilled as I was to see Chloe at the top of the pyramid AND see Nia in a featured role? What do you think of season 4 of Dance Moms so far?


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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime

Photo courtesy of Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014