|Christi Lukasiak, Abby Lee Miller and Holly Hatcher-Frazier of Dance Moms|
Previously on Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) moms had lunch with former team member Kelly Hyland, and the girls competed for a special role in the group routine. Kendall won, but Abby Lee Miller didn't deliver the prize. This week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 10 titled "No Solo for You," Kendall struggles to learn her solo; Kira is upset that her daughter Kalani doesn't have a solo because Abby won't let her dance against Maddie (her star pupil); Nia's mom, Dr. Holly Hatcher-Frazier, publishes her first book, Moments of Clarity.
Before we begin, I've received email messages asking why my Dance Moms recaps have been late the past few weeks. It's because Lifetime has stopped supplying media screeners, so I don't get to watch it before it airs. Given the Dance Moms lawsuits that followed the physical fight between Abby Lee Miller and Kelly Hyland, I'm not sure if/when Lifetime will resume supplying media screeners, but until then, my recaps won't be up as early as they used to be.
As Dance Moms S4, E10 "No Solo for You" opens, the ALDC members arrive for class, and Abby congratulates them on their winning streak; last week was their eighth win in a row. Holly (Nia's mom) announces that she too has an accomplishment to celebrate; she invites the group to attend a signing for her new book, Moments of Clarity. It's a collection of life lessons and positive affirmations, and it's available at DrHollyFrazier.com.
Abby reveals her pyramid, the system she uses to rank the dancers of the ALDC. The pyramid is based on the previous week's competition results, and sometimes, like this week, ego, favoritism, and personality clashes with the moms figure into the equation. This week's pyramid from the bottom up:
Nia: Abby says she was "not so great" in the group routine.
Kendall: Abby says she was good, but she is low on the pyramid because Abby didn't like that Jill (Kendall's mom) called her out for going back on her promise to give Kendall a special role for winning last week's dance-off. Jill asks, "How fair is that?" and Abby gleefully admits, "Oh, it's not fair at all."
Maddie: Abby says Maddie can't be on top of the pyramid because she wasn't at rehearsal due to her gig in LA. Abby says the team comes first, but she wants Maddie to do other things. She calls it a "double-edged sword."
Chloe: She won 2nd Place. Shockingly, Abby says Chloe had a "great performance" and "nothing was wrong."
Mackenzie: won her division.
Kalani: won her division.
This week, the ALDC will be traveling to Detroit, Michigan for the In10sity Dance Competition. The group will be doing a musical theater style number called "Riches to Rags" based on how the Depression caused a decline in car sales (for those of you who aren't from the USA, Detroit is well known for automobile manufacturing); Maddie will be doing a contemporary solo called "Timeless"; Kendall will be doing a lyrical solo called "Battled Feet."
Upon hearing the dance assignments, Kira asks Abby to explain "where Kalani fits if she can't go against Maddie for the number one spot on this team?" Abby answers that "Kalani was brought here to dance with Maddie, not to go up against my own students." When Christi (Chloe's mom) points out, "You put her up against Chloe last week," Abby says, "I did and look what happened. So I've learned from my mistakes." Too bad Abby's "moment of clarity" doesn't extend to the entire team, and especially Chloe, who has repeatedly been made to prove herself by dancing against her teammates.
While the girls rehearse, the moms head up to their loft and discuss Abby's reluctance to let Kalani and Maddie compete. Christi talks about how Abby protects Maddie from losing, and even Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) agrees. Then, Christi asks Kira, "Last week you kind of gave Abby an ultimatum. You said like, 'If Kalani left a team that she's number one, why would I come here to be number two?' Now she's not letting her go up against Maddie. Are you planning on still staying?" Kira says she's upset, but doesn't answer as to whether she's staying. Perhaps Kira is having a "moment of clarity" about how things REALLY work at the ALDC.
In the next scene, Dr. Holly is at her book signing party for Moments of Clarity. Holly's handsome hubby Evan is there, as well as other members of her family and cast members from Dance Moms. Abby shows up and insults Holly's book, saying it should be a pamphlet at a gynecologist's office. Dr. Holly takes it in stride and chalks it up to jealousy on Abby's part. She says, "At least I have a book, that's the bottom line." I agree, I think Abby has a hard time sharing the spotlight, but soon she will have her own book published – she mentioned it the last time she was on The View. It's called Everything I Learned about Life, I Learned in Dance Class, and it's due to be released on May 20, 2014.
Kendall rehearses her "Battled Feet" routine with Abby and assistant choreographer Gianna "Gia" Martello. Her solo is about a dancer's relationship with her pointe shoes, and she has to carry a pair as a prop during her number. When Abby and Gia both give Kendall corrections at once, she becomes flustered, and she asks to use the restroom. Abby says "no", because she knows Kendall just wants to go in the bathroom and cry. Jill sees this as "two grownups against one child", and enters the studio, something the moms don't usually do without invitation. From what was shown, it doesn't seem like Abby was being too hard on Kendall this time, but Kendall is so used to getting yelled at, it may just be that she's expecting the worst; it looks like she's close to hyperventilating.
During the argument that follows, Abby tells Jill, "This is you realizing that your kid is not picking up fast enough." As they head out of the studio, Kendall asserts herself and says "I'm not doing the solo." Afterward, Abby tells the camera, "You know what? Keep bailing your kid out of trouble and you're gonna be bailing her out of jail."
While Maddie rehearses, Jill and Kendall talk in the hallway and Kendall says, "I'm getting kicked off this year, I don't want it anymore." Then, Abby comes out of the studio gloating about how Maddie learned her solo in 29 minutes. Kendall asks Jill why Maddie never gets yelled at when she makes mistakes, and she says, "I don't want to go back in there, I hate this." I think Kendall may be having a "moment of clarity" too – no matter what she does, she'll never be appreciated the way Maddie is.
It's heartbreaking, just like it was a few episodes back when Chloe was crying and telling her mom that she was scared. I am all for tough teachers, but what's been happening in the past two seasons of Dance Moms is too much – there's a difference between being a strict coach and making the students hate coming to dance class, or worse yet, making them hate dance. And Kendall is such a sweetie – when she, Maddie and Kalani are looking their new costumes, Kendall praises Kalani, saying, "I really love having you here because you're an amazing dancer and you kind of inspire us to dance better." Kalani says, "Well I love you guys and I don't want to leave either, of course, but I'm probably gonna be gone next week because I'm not doing a solo."
Although they don’t show it this week, last week the preview for this episode teased that Abby and Kira were headed to NYC for Abby's first court date with Kelly. I'm guessing that's where Abby is at this point of this episode, because she's away, and Gia is running the studio.
The mom's talk in their loft, and Jill tells them she told Kendall that Abby is just angry about the situation with Kalani's mom, so she's taking it out on her. In rehearsal with Gia, Kendall is still having issues with certain steps, and Jill says Abby has planted the seed "that Kendall's not good enough to do this." Jill says Kendall is embarrassed, but Christi says Jill should tell her they are all rooting for her.
The team arrives in Detroit, and Abby is approached by dance teacher Jeanette Cota (owner of Broadway Dreams Academy in Michigan). Her daughter Ava auditioned for Abby in NYC (Abby calls her "one of the best dancers in the country"), and Jeanette isn't going to give up until Ava is a member of the ALDC.
The competition begins. First we see Ava Cota in a platinum and purple (or is it black?) two-piece costume, then Kendall does her "Battled Feet solo" in a chiffon skirted costume in pale yellow (she does a very pretty series of turns, and she looks so happy when she dances), then Maddie does her "Timeless" solo in a similar pale blue costume. All three girls are lovely.
Out in the hallway at the competition venue, Kira and Kalani are having a quiet disagreement because Kira wants to enter Kalani as a soloist without Abby's blessing. Kalani says that she's going back inside and getting ready to run the group dance. Abby approaches Kira and warns her, "I have told you once, and now I'm telling you again – no solo today."
The ALDC is up next with their "Riches to Rags" routine. They wear sheer dresses with black shorts and cardigans. As Christi mentions, the routine's theme is not apparent, but the dancing was great.
After the performance, Jeanette enters the ALDC dressing room, and in front of all of them, including the kids, she tells her daughter Ava, "I don’t necessarily think you have Maddie beat this time, but I think you got Kendall." It's incredibly rude, and Jill tells her so. Then, Kira jumps in to defend Kendall (bravo, Kira!), and when Kalani's name winds up in the mix, Kira goes into full mama bear mode. Unfortunately, Jeanette does not appear to have a "moment of clarity" – she maintains that what she said was her opinion, without conceding that it rude to enter another team's space to say you're better than them, and of course, it was wrong to say it in front of the kids.
Abby says they'll settle it on the dance floor, because in just a few minutes, thirty-five girls, including the ALDC crew and Ava, will be dancing in an improv competition. During the dance-off, Nia, Mackenzie, Kendall and Maddie are cut, as is Ava, and it comes down to Chloe, Kalani, and a girl from another studio named Marisa. Chloe absolutely shines in this competition – I think she feels and interprets the music better than the other two girls, and she's doing cool moves I haven't seen in any ALDC routines (so maybe she's taking classes elsewhere?) – but Marisa wins.
The awards ceremony begins. In the Elite Junior Solo Division, Kendall tales 9th Place and Maddie wins 1st Place. In the Junior Small Group Division, the ALDC is awarded 1st Place, which marks their ninth consecutive win.
Backstage, Abby says Jill owes her $500 because if Kendall had scored three points higher, the team would have won the overall high score. Then, Abby tells Kalani, "I love you babe, but you were supposed to win that improv dance-off," and she tells Chloe she repeated too many moves, and didn't do them as well the second time. When Christi rolls her eyes, Abby tells her to "get rid of the attitude." Christi says that she's just responding to what Abby said, but Abby tells her, "You have an attitude being on this team," and Christi answers, "No Abby, I have an attitude with you." Then, when Abby says it's going to affect Christi in the long run, Christi shoots back, "No Abby, it isn't." I hope this was a "moment of clarity" for ALL of the moms and kids; many of us are tuning in to see THEM, and we will watch them elsewhere when their contracts are up.
In an interview Christi says, "I think Abby has found that if she just keeps digging at me maybe she'll be able to get rid of me. But you know what Abby? I'm not going to give you the satisfaction." The argument continues out in the hallway, with Christi against the wall and Abby going on mere inches from her face, but instead of taking the bait, Christi purses her lips and blows air in Abby's face. A few minutes later Christi tells her, "I'm not afraid of you, Abby," and "I will not back down to you, I won't." It's awesome, and from the look on Abby's face, it may have been her second "moment of clarity" for this episode: it’s going to be a lot harder to get rid of Christi than it was to get rid of Kelly.
Next week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 11 titled "Blame it on the New Girl," Abby introduces dancer Fallon Chapman and her mother Cheryl to the team, and Abby's nemesis Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her Candy Apples team are back to compete against the ALDC.
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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, March 5, 2014