Dance Moms. Best. Show. Ever. Well, maybe not, but man does it get me fired up! Let’s set the stage (pun intended)… Abbey Lee Miller Dance company = one of the most competitive, successful, well known dance companies in the United States. She is infamous for her turnout of employable, professional dancers. She has been running her company for 31 years and obviously knows her shit. But does she really? From a sport psychology perspective, or even just human behavior and motivation perspective, Abbey Lee Miller is a gigantic heart attack to watch instruct 9-11 year olds. She will openly berate them infront of each other and in front of their parents (well…their moms. Dance Moms. Housewives who have nothing else to do but watch their daughters’ dance practice 4 hours a day). To her, this is the ultimate way to the top. Get over yourself, don’t ever cry, and you better know what every word that comes out of her mouth means, or you are automatically dumb and stupid.
The kicker with Abbey, is that she rates her dancers in a pyramid. One dancer will be at the top, two below that, and the remaining four are on the bottom, and criticized for it. This pyramid is unveiled after every competition, and you are not allowed to express any reaction to your placement or you will be moved down. Does this even sound appropriate for kids this young? Or in general? This become the only thing these poor girls care about. it is all they talk about. Who cares if you win your division at the competition and get an audition, or heaven forbid, have fun…all that matters is where am I going to be in the pyramid on Monday??? Why would you ever put into place an assessment tool that is so distracting and overwhelming to kids…yes kids….that they can’t even enjoy or think about anything else? However, this is often the kind of system that is set up in professional dancing. But these kids are 9, 10, and 11 years old. Why would you put that much pressure on them when they cannot even cognitively reason as to why it is necessary yet. Oh, and of course Abbey Lee Miller has no kids…so she doesn’t feel as though she needs to be nice to any of them. Wow….no I need a glass of wine…I’m all fired up.