'Dance Moms' Recap S4 E28 Another One Bites the Dust: Nia Wins 1st Place

Holly and daughter Nia Frazier from Dance Moms on Lifetime
Holly and daughter Nia Frazier from Dance Moms on Lifetime
By REESE AMOROSI

Previously on Dance Moms, the parents kept a scorecard on how many times studio owner Abby insulted their daughters, and the resulting argument between Abby and Holly Frazier (Nia's mom) led to the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) being pulled from competition. This week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 28 titled "Another One Bites the Dust," Abby and Holly put their differences aside, so Nia Frazier gets to do a solo in tribute to the late Maya Angelou, and she wins 1st Place. Also, Sarah Reasons from the Select Team is invited to perform with the Elite Team, as is Kayleigh Cavanaugh, a dancer Abby met in auditions.

As Dance Moms S4 E28 "Another One Bites the Dust" begins, the mothers enter the studio without their daughters because they want to discuss "unresolved issues" with Abby after last week's scorecard episode (if you missed it, read our recap for Dance Moms S4, E27 "The Understudies"). Holly doesn't mind Abby being tough with the girls, but she wants her to stop calling them names. Abby disagrees and says "this whole entire thing with Holly criticizing my teaching methods is a big excuse for Nia's failures." Thankfully, they put their difference aside and Nia has a great week (more on that later).

Abby summons the girls to rehearsal and explains to them that pulling the group routine last week was her "professional prerogative" and was done so their mothers would learn to "act like ladies."

Abby reveals her pyramid, the rating system she uses for the girls of the ALDC. It is usually based on the previous week's competition results, and normally Abby gives each girl notes, but since Maddie was the only one to dance last week – she did her "Fool Me Once" solo – Abby has no critiques or ranking. So, she simply turns over the girls' photos in this order: Mackenzie Ziegler, Chloe Lukasiak, Kendall Vertes, Nia Frazier, and at the top, Maddie Ziegler.

This week the ALDC will be traveling to Orlando, Florida, for Dance Kids USA. It’s their last competition before next week's dance concert (annual recital) and the following week's Nationals (their biggest competition of the year). Sarah Reasons from the Select Team is dancing with the Elite Team; she will do an acrobatic solo called "Sun Goddess" (Tracey, Sarah's mom, interrupts Abby to say the Select Team "seems to be falling apart" and she wants her daughter on the Elite Team). Kendall will do Maddie's "Fool Me Once" solo from last week, this time called "Fool Me Twice," and Nia will do a contemporary solo called "Goodbye Maya"; it's a tribute to the late, great, Maya Angelou.

The group will do a musical theater style number called "Seven Dancers" inspired by the Seven Dwarves in Snow White. Christi (Chloe's mom) tells Abby that they have to leave rehearsal early because Chloe needs to get an MRI to help diagnose a foot problem (this potential injury figures into next week's episode). Meanwhile, Abby only has six dancers and the number requires seven, so she brings in Kayleigh Cavanaugh, who auditioned for the Select Team (and now that Ava Cota is gone, Abby is considering adding her). Tracey immediately feels threatened because she doesn't want her daughter Sarah to have any competition for a permanent spot on the Elite Team. She tells the moms that she heard Kayleigh's mom (Kate) is "really crazy."

Kayleigh arrives with her dance teacher mother Kate. Jill (Kendall's mom) asks Kate what Kayleigh will be bringing to the team, and Kate answers that her daughter is very good at musical theater. Tracey is "annoyed" by Kayleigh and Kate's presence because "this is supposed to be Sarah's week," and she gets a little dig in by pointing out that Kayleigh didn't make the cut for the Select Team. Kate handles the moms well for the most part, but she rubs Christi (Chloe's mom) the wrong way when she makes a remark about Chloe being injured. Christi shuts her down with, "Excuse me, that's none of your business."

The girls learn their solos. Holly tells Nia that Maya Angelou was a fighter and a brilliant woman, and she wants Nia to "be confident, even in rehearsal as you're learning it." Nia works on her solo with teachers James and Gia, and then with Abby. The routine contains moments of spoken word, and Abby wants Nia to "embrace the spirit of Maya Angelou," to have "power and conviction," and to "enunciate and project." Abby invites Holly to observe the rehearsal, and Holly is pleased with how Abby gives Nia constructive criticism. When Jill (Kendall's mom) asks Holly if she thinks that last week's scoreboard helped with how the girls are being treated this week, Holly says it did bring some positive change.

The ALDC arrives in Orlando, Florida, and discovers that Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein from the Candy Apples Dance Center in Ohio, is there too; she's working with Lucas Triana and his mom Brigette (from Dance Moms Miami). Cathy tries to bait Abby and the moms into an argument by yelling things as they walk away, but they don’t bite.

The competition begins. Sarah goes first with her "Sun Goddess" solo; she wears a yellow costume with a flower on the bodice and orange and yellow scarf at the waist. She has very graceful arms. Nia competes next with her "Goodbye Maya" solo; she wears a white skirt and midriff top with yellow headband, and she does a phenomenal job. I love Nia – I attend professional dance performances on a regular basis, and her style – especially with modern pieces – reminds me so much of the routines I see. Kendall dances third with her "Fool Me Twice" solo; she wears a pretty pink skirt and halter top costume. She makes the solo her own, but in the audience, Brigette tells Cathy the dance "looked better on Maddie." Jill hears this, and later, she confronts them; she calls Brigette "ignorant" and Cathy a "wanna-be."

In the ALDC dressing room, Abby asks Kate what she thought of Sarah's performance. She responds that "Sarah had sloppy feet, her transitions were not smooth and she has no connection to the judges whatsoever." Tracey, of course, is not pleased.

In anticipation of the group number, Abby takes her seat in the audience, but then moves a row up because Cathy, who is sitting behind her, pokes her. The ALDC performs "Seven Dancers"; they wear t-shirts with their names (Silly, Shady, Slouchy, etc.), white Capri pants and hats. The routine is cute but not amazing. Jill says she's "not feeling it" (earlier she described it as a number for girls in the "8 and Under" division), and of course Cathy says "it was the worst dance I've ever seen."

The awards ceremony begins. In the Overall Solo division, Sarah gets 4th Place; Kendall takes 2nd Place; Nia wins 1st Place. Nia looks beyond thrilled and Holly and Abby are ecstatic. In the Small Group division, the ALDC wins 1st Place.

In the dressing room, Holly and Abby hug, and Abby tells her it was great to Nia "excited and happy on stage, and that’s what makes a teacher put up with all of you and all of your crap." Nia tells the camera, "I won for my mom."

Abby chides Kendall for not winning 1st Place with Maddie's solo, and says Maddie is the only one she can count on. She tells Kayleigh she was "outstanding" and that she'll get back to her, and then dismisses Sarah from the Elite Team. Tracey is upset and asks the moms, "Isn't anyone going to stick up for Sarah?," but Abby makes it clear that it has nothing to do with liking or not liking Sarah, she's just not right for the team. As Tracey leaves she yells "This is not what I signed up for." Christi remarks that she's not surprised that another dancer and mom from the Select Team have been sent packing.

Cathy crashes the ALDC dressing room, tells them their group number was "the dumbest routine I've ever seen," and says that she has something "enormous" planned for her team at Nationals. She starts to leave but Abby says, "I've had it with Cathy's mouth today," and then she yells, "Hey stop! Cathy, you're finished, you're washed up, get on your broom and fly away." In the ensuing argument Cathy tries to stick it to Abby, but Abby nails her with "You're a joke in the dance community."

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Next week on Dance Moms season 4, episode 29 titled "45 Second Solos," the ALDC has their annual dance concert – this year it's a tribute to Abby's late mother, the beloved dance teacher Maryen Lorrain Miller. Unfortunately, it seems Chloe's pain gets worse because her foot is in a boot and Abby replaces her with Kamryn Beck from the Select Team.

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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo by Scott Gries courtesy of Lifetime

Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014