|L to R: Maddie Ziegler and Kalani Hilliker, stars of Dance Moms on Lifetime|
Previously on Dance Moms, studio owner Abby Lee Miller didn't show up for rehearsals or the competition attended by her team, the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC). Abby's absence came on the heels of a bitter argument she had with Kira Girard (Kalani Hilliker's mom). This week on Dance Moms season 5, episode 27 titled "Abby vs. Kira… AGAIN," the two continue to fight for the same reason: Kira has once again invited a choreographer into Abby's studio without permission; this time it's Kalani's hometown coach, Alexa Moffett.
As Dance Moms S5 E27 opens, Jessalynn (JoJo Siwa's mom) tells the camera, "The ALDC is on a losing streak. It's only four weeks 'til Nationals. Abby needs to be here, it is crucial that she does not skip out on us anymore." She is referring to the fact that Abby was missing all last week; if you didn't see the episode read my recap for Dance Moms S5 E26 "Where in the World is Abby Lee Miller?"
The moms meet at 3rd Street Studio, the ALDC's temporary home in LA. As if the argument in Dance Moms S5 E25 "Abby vs. Kira" wasn't bad enough, Kira is doing the same thing this week: she's invited ANOTHER choreographer to teach without consulting Abby. This time it's Alexa Moffett , Kalani's coach from Club Dance in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, where the ALDC is competing this week. Kira concludes, "Whether Abby says yes or no, she's going to do the solo." Kira tells the moms if something happens [as in, if Abby flips out] she and Kalani will be going home with Alexa. Melissa (Mackenzie and Maddie Ziegler's mom) just smiles [probably at how ludicrous this situation is], and Jill (Kendall Vertes' mom) laughs and says, "Nice knowing you!"
All of this happens in the first three minutes of the episode. In minute four, Kira mentions that the Candy Apples Dance Center (CADC) team owned by Abby's nemesis, Cathy Nesbitt-Stein, is being taken over by another Abby rival, Jeanette Cota (dancer Ava Cota's mom; they were dismissed from the ALDC in season 4).
Abby arrives at 3rd Street Dance and immediately starts putting the girls through their paces. When asked, she says she hasn't watched their solos from last week. When the moms attempt to engage Abby in conversation, she continues to call out dance steps. Abby tells the camera, "For the last few weeks all these moms wanted were classes. Well now I'm giving them classes and what do they do? They interrupt."
Kira tells Abby about Alexa, and obviously, Abby's not into it. Then, the moms want Abby to let the girls warm up with Gianna "Gia" Martello (Abby's assistant choreographer) so they can discuss her absence, but Abby doesn't want to talk, she just wants to work with the kids. She relents, but as she leaves the room behind the moms, she tells Gia to come and get her in 5 minutes and not to let anyone stop her.
During the meeting, Holly (Nia Frazier's mom) tells Abby they were concerned when she wasn't there, but Abby responds, "That's bull crap." When Jessalynn mentions the heated argument between Abby and Kira, Abby's surprises her by saying, "It had nothing to do with her. Actually, it was you." Abby claims she was offended that Jessalynn said, "If you can help somebody, why wouldn't you?," because she DOES help everyone. Holly says Jessalynn is just a scapegoat because Abby can't stay mad at Kira because "she needs Kalani [on the team] to win." After five minutes Abby leaves, and Jessalynn and Kira argue because Kira didn't admit that she caused the argument.
This week, Abby and the ALDC will be traveling to Phoenix, Arizona, for an Xpression Dance competition. The group will do a contemporary piece called "The Panic Room"; Kalani will do a solo called "The Investment." When Kira meets with Alexa, they both criticize Abby's assessment of Kalani; Abby has Kalani pegged as an acrobatic dancer, but they see her strong styles as lyrical, contemporary and ballet. Kira says, "Alexa is gonna show the type of dancer that Kalani really is."
When Kira brings Alexa into the studio, Abby asks her, "What's your story?" Alexa answers, "I'm just here to teach my student." In a talking head interview Abby states, "I cannot believe how disrespectful Kira is being to me right now." However, instead of throwing Alexa out of the studio, Abby asks her to sign a "no compete" contract, and even lets her stay when she declines.
Alexa tells Kalani that the storyline for her solo is that she's investing a lot of time and not getting anything out of it. Alexa says she's spending a lot of time on corrections that Abby let go, and tells Kalani she isn't the same dancer she used to be.
Meanwhile, Jeanette Cota is running CADC rehearsals at the International Dance Academy. She tells the camera, "I am here in Los Angeles because I am a studio owner, and Cathy has asked me to help lead the Candy Apples to a victory against ALDC." Jeanette gives the team a contemporary routine called "Famous, Infamous," which is about being well known for the right or wrong reasons. Jeanette assigns daughter Ava a solo called "Praying Mantis," and tells her, "You have something mean and ugly that Abby has said to you and your turning it into something beautiful." She is referring to when Abby insulted Ava (in season 4) by telling her she looks like a praying mantis.
Competition day arrives. Ava takes the stage for her "Praying Mantis" solo; she wears a grey, long sleeve leotard with rhinestone embellishments. Ava has long, graceful limbs and her dancing is wonderful. Kalani follows with her "The Investment" solo; she wears a beautiful black and silver costume with a halter neckline, and her dancing is, as always, lovely.
While the girls prepare for the group number, an issue arises regarding the age divisions. Xpression starts their Teen Division at age 13, and with Nia and Kalani both aged 13, they pull the average up. So, in order to keep the ALDC in the Junior Division, Abby cuts Kalani from the number. Kira sees this as punishment (and though I am Team Abby regarding their ongoing argument, I do find it hard to believe no-one checked the age divisions before they headed to Arizona), and says if Kalani doesn't dance in the group number, "she won't be going back to California."
The CADC does their "Famous, Infamous" number in costumes that recall Bjork's famous swan dress from the Oscars. The swans are all white, except for Ava, who is in black. They do very well. The ALDC goes next; they wear black leotards and leggings with a sheer skirts. As they enter the stage someone yells out, "Kalani!" The choreo for this piece is very cool, and the team's timing is right on.
The awards ceremony begins. In the Teen Solo Division, Ava gets 4th Place; Kalani wins 1st Place, and also gets the Heavyweight Belt for highest score of the day. In the Junior Group Division, the CADC gets 3rd Place; the ALDC wins 1st Place.
In the ALDC dressing room, Kira tells Kalani, who is in tears, "Let's just go where you're respected. Let's go." Abby asks, "This is all because you're not in this group dance?" Kira responds, "It’s not fair to her to be giving up everything, come to her home town and be taken out of the group number. It's not fair. She's done. Completely."
Outside of the venue, Kira explains to the moms, "I'm just so sick and tired of the two-faced bulls--t... She's got four more years of dance left. Am I really gonna give it up for someone who wants her one day, doesn't want her the next day?" A tearful Kalani adds, "She doesn't want me there so what's the point of being here? I have teacher that wants me at dance class every day and that's what I deserve"
Next week on Dance Moms S5 E28 "Solo Battle: Round 1," JoJo and Kendall compete head-to-head, and the girl who gets knocked out doesn’t get to dance at Nationals; the team lobbies Abby to get Kalani back; Abby's rival Jeanette Cota is still in LA.
*************Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime.
Photo courtesy of Lifetime.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2015