|Chloe Lukasiak, star of Dance Moms on Lifetime TV|
Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller and the adult cast sparred at a reunion show hosted by executive producer Jeff Collins. This week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 18 titled "Girl Talk," it's the dancers' turn to tell their stories and there are no moms allowed. This reunion features regulars from the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) – Nia Frazier, Chloe Lukasiak, Kendall Vertes, Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler (Kalani Hilliker wasn't shown) – plus recurring cast members Payton Ackerman, Asia Monet Ray and Vivi-Anne Stein. This episode showcases their favorite routines, and marks the video premiere of "It's a Girl Party," the new single from Mackenzie Ziegler (aka Mack Z).
During the Dance Moms S4, E18 "Girl Talk" reunion, executive producer Jeff Collins introduces the girls (although Chloe appears to be the de facto host), and they answer questions submitted by fans via Twitter. Chloe and Maddie discuss what it's like to be friends and compete – Maddie says, "We kind of have to like each other, we live together half of the time." When the topic of Maddie being Abby's favorite is raised, she admits it's hard because of the pressure, and we learn that during a three-week spell when Abby wasn't assigning her solos (at the time, it seemed Abby thought Maddie had lost her drive), she learned what it felt like to be Nia, who rarely gets solos. Meanwhile, Chloe says she does wonder what it would be like to be Abby's favorite, but also realizes she's the dancer she is because she's not Abby's number one girl.
Recurring cast members Asia Monet Ray and Livi-Anne Stein (daughter of Abby's nemesis, dance teacher Cathy Nesbitt-Stein) stop by to show off their eyebrow skills (both can move one at a time), and we get a visit from Payton Ackerman, the 16-year-old, on-again, off-again ALDC member who is repeatedly recruited then dismissed from the team. When the girls field a question about injuries they've sustained, Payton – who was at one point let go after she broke her ankle at a competition (Abby heard she was goofing around backstage) – has the funniest line of the reunion when she jokes that when Maddie falls, Abby blames the floor.
When Maddie's younger sister Mackenzie Ziegler (aka Mack Z) is asked about her favorite part of Dance Moms, it's the perfect segue into the world premiere of the video for her new single "It's a Girl Party." Between Mack Z's popularity with Dance Moms' younger fans, and the song's catchy, anthemic, processed pop vocals, it's likely to do well with the 9-year-old girl power demographic.
What stands out the most about this reunion is that it's a reminder of how young the dancers on this show really are. On regular episodes of Dance Moms we see the girls in competition mode – taking direction, striving for perfection and dealing with rejection – but we never see them being silly kids. Yes, we know their ages and we know what 'tween girls are like, but to see them giggling, making faces, finding their moms "a little bit crazy" (Chloe), resisting the urge to smoosh Maddie's hair sprayed bun (Nia) and mimicking their mother's makeup application (Kendall), is still a welcome surprise.
This point was most evident in the segment in which the girls discussed their former teammates, Brooke and Paige Hyland, who left the show after their mother, Kelly Hyland, was involved in a physical altercation with Abby (lawsuits are ongoing). When Chloe talks about how she and Paige had planned a dual wedding, and how they were going to move to LA and be neighbors, we are snapped into the true reality of this reality TV show. Regardless of what we see on camera, in their real world, Chloe and Paige were two best friends plotting their pink and purple futures, and they were, as Chloe put it, "supposed to be together forever." The fact that that is both a possibility and an impossibility illustrates what it's often like to be 12 years old, and what I think is often missing from Dance Moms. Sure, the fights and mama drama draw viewers and headlines (including here at Glamorosi Magazine), but it was lovely to see the kids wearing their party dresses and having good, goofy fun.
Reese Amorosi (aka Glamorosi) recaps Dance Moms and Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition.
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Photo courtesy of Lifetime TV.
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2014