|Christi Lukasiak and daughter Chloe, stars of Dance Moms on Lifetime|
Previously on Dance Moms, Nia Frazier's tribute to the late Maya Angelou and the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) group routine both won 1st place. This week on Dance Moms S4 E29 titled "45 Second Solos," the girls have that much time to impress studio owner Abby Lee Miller in hopes of securing a spot at Nationals. They do this during the ALDC's annual dance concert, which this year is dedicated to Abby's late mother and is titled The Story of Maryen Lorrain: One for the History Books. There's mama drama when Kamryn Beck from the Select Team is invited to vie for a solo, and it escalates when Christi Lukasiak finds out that when her daughter Chloe beat Kamryn, Abby lobbied the judges to reverse their decision.
On Dance Moms S4 E29 "45 Second Solos," Abby Lee Miller presents the ALDC's annual dance concert, which she describes as "the culmination of all the work the kids have done all year. They are in number after number after number. It's the hottest ticket in town - you better know what you're doing."
Abby congratulates Nia and the team on last week's first place wins in Orlando, Florida (if you missed it, read my recap for Dance Moms S4 E28 "Another One Bites the Dust"), and then reveals her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the dancers of the ALDC. It is, for the most part, based on how the girls did at the previous week's competition. From the bottom up:
Chloe Lukasiak: missed a day of rehearsal due to injury.
Mackenzie Ziegler: issues with facial expressions and timing.
Kendall Vertes: came in second place.
Maddie Ziegler: guaranteed a solo at Nationals, but may have a gig instead.
Nia Frazier: overall high scoring soloist in the competition.
Next, Abby tells the dancers what she expects from them this week. At the concert, the girls will perform in multiple numbers including a new jazz routine called "The Heist," in which Kamryn will be lead dancer. During the recital, each team member will also do a 45-second solo that will help Abby determine who performs at Nationals. It's up to the girls and their mothers to pull their best 45 seconds from previous routines; neither Abby nor her staff will be involved. Maddie is exempt from this audition because Abby has guaranteed her a spot at Nationals, but, if she's called away for a gig, Kendall is Abby's top choice to sub for Maddie.
This week, two girls from Abby's Select Team are invited to dance with the Elite Team: Sarah Hunt (her mom is Christy with a Y) and Kamryn Beck (her mom is Jodi). Christi (Chloe's mom) is annoyed that the Becks are present because Chloe beat Kamryn (back in Dance Moms S4, E16 "Presenting My New Team"), so she shouldn't be in the running for a solo at Nationals.
Christi says, "I don’t understand how Abby can say that she's not bending the rules for anyone when she does indeed bend the rules for Kamryn, because Kamryn got beat by Chloe. But, she’ll put her on her team to dance because it suits her needs. How is that fair?"
To make matters worse, there's a rumor that back when Chloe won over Kamryn, Abby went to the judges and questioned the results (just as she did when Chloe beat Maddie in Dance Moms season 3, episode 22). Christi decides to find out for sure, and places a call to an official named Francisco from the Energy Dance Competition. He tells Christi, "Basically, Abby wasn't happy with the win, she doesn't know what they were watching on stage…" Christi interjects with "and she felt that Kamryn should have won," and Francisco answers, "Yes." Christi goes on, "So, she went to the judges and was campaigning against her own student and tried to get them to take away Chloe's win?" Once again, Francisco answers "Yes." Christy says "It's crystal clear now, Abby is setting Chloe up to fail, and the best revenge is success."
Because dance concert week is so stressful, Abby surprises the girls with a bit of fun: a dunk tank set up in the studio parking lot. It's $10 a throw, and the proceeds go to the Maryen Lorrain Children's Dance Foundation. The girls take turns and miss, but then they all rush the tank and push the button, so Abby is submerged.
That night, the ALDC reports to the Hillman Center for Performing Arts for the dance concert tech rehearsal. Earlier, Christi said that Chloe didn't want anyone to know that she's supposed to rest her foot because she didn't want to lose the opportunity to dance at Nationals. However, after rehearsal, she is limping and her foot is so swollen she can't fit it into a pointe shoe. This is especially awful because last year, Chloe was cut from Nationals after Christi and Leslie Ackerman got into a physical altercation. Christi is so upset for Chloe that she is near tears. Chloe goes for X-rays, and the next day at the studio, she's is in a boot cast for a buckle fracture; she has to wear it for a week. Christi says it's minor (this type of fracture often is), so Chloe shouldn’t be out of the running for Nationals.
While the girls go over their solos, the parents hang out in the Mom Loft (the studio's mezzanine) and argue with Jodi about how "convenient" it is that Kamryn (who is referred to several times during this episode as Abby's favorite on the Select Team) arrived just in time to compete for a spot at Nationals. When Christi accuses Jodi of being glad Chloe is injured, Jodi chides her with "shame on you for acting like an idiot right now," and Christi counters with "You are filth on bottom of a shoe."
When the team runs the group number with Gianna "Gia" Martello (Abby's assistant choreographer), Chloe sits and watches. With Chloe sidelined, the choreography isn't balanced (most routines have an odd number of dancers), so Abby pulls Sarah H from the number. Christy with a Y interrupts rehearsal to make an appeal to Abby, but Abby won’t hear it, and tells Christy and Sarah H to leave. Christy tells Sarah to go back in, but she cries and implores her mom to "let it go." When Christy goes back to the Mom Loft, they urge her to let Sarah go home. At first she refuses, but they wear her down and eventually she leaves. I've lost count of how many times little Sarah H has been dismissed this season, but it's a real shame: she's a good dancer, she's adorable, and her mother's behavior, at least in this instance (unlike in this one), wasn't out of line.
Finally, it is the night of the ALDC dance concert – The Story of Maryen Lorrain: One for the History Books – and it's a sold out show. Chloe sits in the audience; she looks beautiful in her white dress. The Elite Team performs "The Heist" in black backless unitards and eye masks. The choreography is sharp, and the team looks cool executing it.
After the group routine, Chloe goes backstage and asks the girls if they're nervous to do their 45-second solos. Nia says she is because "sometimes Abby doesn't pick like, the best dancers, she just picks like, whoever she wants to pick." Nia dances first with her "Goodbye Maya" contemporary solo; she wears a long white skirt, midriff shirt and headband. Nia really wants this – she's never had a solo at Nationals – and she does a fabulous job.
Kendall goes next with her "Applause" jazz solo; she wears a white two-piece costume with colorful tulle embellishments at the shoulder and hip. She's lovely, and she wows Abby and Gia with her turns.
Mackenzie is third with her "Out of my Mind" jazz solo; she wears a black skirted costume. Because Mac is at the young end of her age group, Abby says her chances of getting a solo "slim to none." Mackenzie doesn't do her best work – her timing is clearly off at the end – and afterward, she's upset and gets in a spat with Maddie and pinches her. They are sisters; Maddie seems to take it in stride.
Kamryn performs last with her "Faith" lyrical solo; she wears a burgundy, backless, skirted costume. Jodi says she's nervous, and admits that she's "thankful Kamryn is one of her [Abby's] favorites." When Kamryn falls out of a turn, Holly says, "I think Nia has a good shot at a solo," but up in the booth, Abby and Gia compliment Kamryn, noting how she plays to the back of the house. I am impressed with her grace and flexibility; Kamryn is a strong dancer.
Backstage, Chloe tells Christi it’s hard to sit in the audience, and that she realizes she took the ability to dance for granted. She says not being able to dance makes her want to dance even more. Abby arrives with notes for the girls and says, "I saw some things I loved. Some of the dancers projected all the way to me... That's going to be important when they're performing." Still, she says she needs time to decide; she has "to look at the odds, and go for the win."
After Abby leaves, Christy asks Jodi if Abby's notes mention Kamryn falling out of her turns. When Jodi answers, "no," Christi and Holly (Nia's mom) throw their hands up and Jill (Kendall's mom) makes a face. Christi calls Kamryn "the Maddie of the Select Team," in reference to how Abby never finds fault with her, and Holly tells the camera it's not okay for Jodi to go along with Abby's view because Kamryn didn't give a flawless performance. I like Christi and Holly (and all of the moms and kids), but I don't agree that Jodi should take Kamryn out of the running – she can't give up what might be her big break. Nia cries a little, but Christi gives her a pep talk and tells her she was the best out there, and that no matter what happens, it doesn't take away from her win last week.
As the episode closes, Abby, her staff and her dancers are at the post-concert memorial dinner for Maryen Lorrain Miller. Abby tells the group that when her mother passed away on February 8, 2014, her last words were to Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie's mom) and they were, "I just want to dance." Abby goes on to say, "My mother touched so many lives and she made the world a happier place. I don't think the same will be said about me, but her dancing shoes are too big to fill."
Next week, on first half of the Dance Moms season 4 finale titled "Hollywood Here We Come, Part 1" (season 4, episode 30), Abby Lee Miller and the ALDC head to Los Angeles CA for the Intensity Dance Competition Nationals; Maddie Ziegler is on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to teach him her dance from Sia's "Chandelier" video; Jeanette Cota and daughter Ava Cota from the Select Team make an appearance, as does Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein.
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Dance Moms airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c on Lifetime
Photo courtesy of Lifetime
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014