Set in Pittsburghâ€™s renowned Abby Lee Dance Company, owned and operated by notoriously demanding and passionate instructor Abby Lee Miller, Lifetimeâ€™s explosive new docu-series DANCE MOMS follows childrenâ€™s early steps on the road to stardom and the doting mothers who are there for every rehearsal, performance and bowâ€¦all under the discerning eye of Miller. Presenting a powerful cast of characters sure to raise eyebrows, the series immerses itself in the highs and lows surrounding competition season to deliver an intriguing and dramatic look at the frantic pursuit of the ultimate National Dance title. Centered on the devoted Miller, who runs her school with an iron tap shoe as she instructs her young, talented students while dealing with over-the-top mothers who go to great lengths to help their childrenâ€™s dreams come true, DANCE MOMS poses tough questions about what really goes on behind-the-scenes in the fast-growing and controversial sport of competitive dance.
There's crying, tantrums, sassing back, and lots of pouting--and that's just the moms. Dance Moms
, the Lifetime reality hit, is compulsively watchable because it features dance, as well as ambitious mothers living through their kids, but not in as creepy a way as, say, pageant moms. Most of all, Dance Moms
has a great star and antihero in dance teacher Abby Lee Miller, whose Pittsburgh dance studio is apparently where aspiring young dancers go to learn how to make it on Broadway. Miller is a drill sergeant who may or may not have a heart of gold, but the moms of the young dancers believe in her strict teaching methods, even if they often roll their eyes when Miller's not around. The dance world is fascinating, and the world of young kids devoting themselves to an art so single-mindedly is also fascinating. Miller likes to say (several times an episode) that her feedback may seem harsh, but she would rather her students hear it from her, "in my class, in front of eight people, instead of 800 at an open audition." If she sometimes seems extra harsh with her tween girls, there's no denying that the dancers have learned not only captivating and competition-winning moves, but also poise and comportment. The moms are a whole other arc of interesting watching; many of them were Miller's students when they were their daughters' age. Dance Moms
mostly stays on the side of sympathizing with the young dancers, letting the moms and Miller take the lumps for occasional off-putting behavior. But it sure looks like the moms and
Miller can take pretty much anything anyone dishes out. Reality fans will eat it up. --A.T. Hurley