‘Dance Moms’ Recap Season 3 Episode 13 - She’s a Maniac: Guest Choreographer Rachelle Rak

Abby Lee Miller Dance Moms Photo
Abby Lee Miller and cast members from Dance Moms

On this week’s season 3, episode 13 of  Dance Moms titled “She's a Maniac”, Kelly is upset when studio owner Abby Lee Miller pulls her daughter Brooke from this week’s number due to her mistakes in last week’s “Rosa Parks” routine at the competition in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Abby invites Broadway star Rachelle Rak to choreograph a Bob Fosse-inspired group dance, but they disagree over the routine’s style and content.

As always, the episode begins with Abby revealing her pyramid, the ranking system she uses for the ALDC. From the bottom up its Brooke (forgot choreography and talked on stage during “Rosa Parks” routine), Mackenzie (didn’t dance), Nia (was outstanding as Rosa Parks), Kendall (second overall high score in Junior division), Chloe (part of a duet that won overall high score), Paige (took initiative to ask for duet), and at the top, Maddie (Abby said, “You gave people chills when you were dancing”).

Abby’s other big reveal during the pyramid is that Brooke is dismissed from competing this week because of the mistakes she made during the “Rosa Parks” number last week. But wait! Last week in the dressing room right after that show, Abby joked about Brooke’s mistake and everyone laughed. It was a nice moment! I will say that back in my day if one of us had ever dared to talk on stage our director would have had us in front of a firing squad, BUT, Brooke should have been reprimanded on the spot, not ambushed a week later.

This week the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) will be traveling to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the Dance Expressions competition (scenes for this episode were taped there in January). Maddie and her little sister Mackenzie will do a contemporary duet called "Run from Mother"; Chloe finally gets to do a solo – it’s a contemporary piece called "Black Heart" with an edgy, 80s rocker theme; Kendall will do a jazz solo / flapper routine called "Easy as 1-2-3" – her routine is designed to help build her stamina, and Abby makes her jog in place while she talks about the dance assignments; the group will do a jazz /musical theater number called “Golddigga”.

Rachelle Rak
Rachelle Rak aka Sass
Abby brings in a special guest choreographer, Rachelle Rak, a Pittsburgh native who made it to Broadway, and is currently starring as Tess in the national touring company of Flashdance - The Musical. Rachelle’s nickname is “Sass”. Sass has a big personality and she's into her work - she gets right down on the floor - and the girls seem to pick up quickly from her. She teaches the ALDC Fosse-style moves, some that require the dancers to have their feet in a pigeon-toed position. The Dance Moms worry about what Abby will think of the girls turning their feet in. When Sass singles out Paige for some featured moves, Kelly wishes her other daughter Brooke was there to witness it.

While the girls rehearse, the Dance Moms hang in the loft and Christi (Chloe’s mom) notices that Melissa (Maddie and Mackenzie’s mom) is wearing a wedding ring. Turns out she got married at home in her living room the previous Monday. Congratulations, Melissa! Kelly (Brooke and Paige’s mom) gloats about being able to keep a secret; she knew about the wedding because Paige was there. Christi humorously points out that Abby likes to pick themes for the dances that reflect what’s going on at the studio, and wonders if the dance “Golddigga” is a tribute to one of the moms.

Three days before they are scheduled to leave for the competition, Abby yells at Brooke for being eight minutes late to class, and Kelly intervenes and tells Abby she should pick up Brooke herself. Then Kendall comes in late too. As she leaves the reception area, Kelly slams the door and Abby tells her not to, but Kelly barks, “I’ll slam whatever I want.”   

The dancelings rehearse with Sass, and as the Dance Moms observe from the loft, they discuss Sass’ great figure, and the talk turns to wraps, as in, the beauty treatment in which spas wrap different body parts with herbal potions, seaweed, etc. as a beauty treatment. Later in the episode Kelly throws a wrap party at her house, and it’s funny seeing them all decide what area to work on and get wrapped in plastic (Kelly gets a butt wrap, Melissa gets a belly wrap, Holly opts for a facial...).

Abby runs the solo routines and works on the group number. She says that Sass only came in for one night, and now she’s in the awkward position of having to clean up and make corrections on another choreographer’s work.  She takes Mackenzie out of the routine because she’s not dancing as well as the older girls, and is a foot and a half shorter than all of them. She thinks Mac would be better off concentrating on her duet with Maddie. Then Abby yells at Chloe for not instantly knowing the new spacing of the Mac-less dance. After rehearsal Chloe cries and Christi gives her a pep talk about not letting Abby get to her.

Holly (Nia's mom) thinks Abby is changing the choreography because she can’t handle that someone else did the number.

The ALDC arrives in Grand Rapids to a crowd of cheering fans. Abby continues to work on Kendall’s stamina by making her jog and “sit the wall” (stay in a seated position with her back against a wall). This may be a good strength building exercise, but I’m surprised Abby has her do it right before she has to go on stage; I’d rather be stretching my muscles than tensing them right before a performance.

Kendall from Dance Moms
Kendall from Dance Moms
The show begins and Kendall goes first. She wears a cute pink fringed flapper costume and a headband. Her Mom Jill says she “showed Abby she has what it takes to start strong,  stay strong and finish strong.”

Next we see Maddie and Mackenzie’s duet. They wear pretty robin’s egg blue costumes with chiffon skirts and floral headpieces. They don’t do a lot of moves in unison because they dance at two different levels, but the number works and they are wonderful together.

Chloe Paige and Maddie on Dance Moms
Chloe, Paige and Maddie
Chloe wears a cool costume with a black heart on a red shirt, shiny black leggings, and crimped hair. It’s fantastic to see her doing a solo again, and surprising to see her doing more acro than usual. The dance has an especially cool ending sequence in which she does a series of turns then falls to the floor. As she exits the stage she does the devil fingers hand gesture - Abby is furious, calling it “inappropriate.”

Sass shows up, and Abby tells her that she pulled Mackenzie from the dance and changed the beginning choreo. They run the routine for Sass, and Holly says, “ It’s clear there’s some tension mounting.”

Sass doesn’t care for the changes, and Abby tells her the dance didn’t look right with Kenzie in it because she’s so much shorter than everyone else on the team. Sass says that Kenzie's “size isn’t new information,” and she puts her back in the number. Then she leaves! Snap!

The ALDC gets ready for their performance. They wear gold tops and black booty shorts. Abby calls out Sass for only choreographing the number, but not following through by coordinating the hair, makeup and other details. Now the team is looking for direction and Abby says, “I didn’t have the control, and we all know I’m a control freak.”

Finally, it’s time for the group routine, and it’s fabulous. The girls look sharp in their costumes, they do well with the Fosse moves, and it’s impressive when they all do side aerials in unison in a big circle.

The awards ceremony begins. In the Junior Solo Division Kendall takes 3rd place and Chloe wins 1st Place. In the Junior Duo or Trio Division Maddie and Mackenzie take 1st Place. In the Junior Small Group Division, ALDC wins 1st Place.

Regarding the wins Abby says, “It’s not the choreography, it’s the training.” Despite the awards, Abby is not happy, she’s “appalled.”

First Abby yells at Kendall for practicing backstage where she could have kicked someone, plus she was visible to the judges and audience. Not good. Kendall’s mom Jill tells Abby if she’s going to yell at Kendall she should yell at all of the girls because they all did it. They get loud for a minute or two, then Abby moves on to Chloe.

Abby is angry with Chloe for doing the devil horns hand gesture as she exited the stage during her solo. She tells the girls if she wants them to do a certain move in stage she’ll give it to them herself, and she blames Christi for putting the idea in Chloe’s head. Christi denies it and says Chloe was merely in character for the rock-themed routine, but there’s footage showing that Christi actually did coach Chloe on it. Back to Abby though, it seems a little like she’s worried Chloe actually summoned a demon.

Abby closes the episode by saying, “the lesson to be learned is that each week you’re a little bit closer,” and then adds the Bob Fosse quote, “It’s all in the timing.”

Kristie and Asia from Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition
Kristie and Asia from AUDC
Next week Asia Monet Ray and her mom Kristie from Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition (AUDC) join the Abby Lee Dance Company! Woo! Also, Abby is visiting a taxidermist. I don’t want to go.

To see all of our coverage of Asia and Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition click here.

To see all of our Dance Moms coverage click here.

Dance Moms airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on Lifetime

Abby Lee Miller photo courtesy of Lifetime
Rachelle Rak photo ©Rachelle Rak
Kendall photo ©Jill Vertes
Chloe photo ©Christi Lukasiak
Kristie and Asia photo courtesy of Lifetime