Dance, Sing and Drink Wine

Daily Necessities of Life – and Coffee Helps Too

Scripted and Staged, but Still Real – Dance Moms

DISCLAIMER – I am a PROUD Dance Mom. I have met some of the most wonderful, generous, supportive, kind and fearless group of Moms in my Dance Mom Community. The Dads too! But all groups of people have negative sides, and there is always someone who wants to make some money using said negative traits. The show Dance Moms EXPLOITS negative traits of moms of competitive dancers and blows them way out of proportion. There are many more positives to us REAL Dance Moms than negatives. In fact, I would bet three pairs of tap shoes that all of the traits (good and bad) depicted on the show in question and this very blog post could also be projected on to moms of any other sport.  Don’t even get me started on those Soccer Moms – I’m a Goalie Mom, so I never STFU! — Having said all that ………..

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Truth– The show Dance Moms featuring Abby Lee Miller and her ragtag crew of designer clothes wearing, wine gulping, sometime potty-mouthed Moms and their incredible dancers is real. Pretty much.
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As a real-life Competitive Dance Mom, I’m supposed to deny it. In fact, there will probably be a price on my tiara-wearing head as soon as this post goes live (we only wear the tiaras inside our own dance studios – they help to distinguish our hierarchy/pecking order). I know exactly which Mom will lead my lynching too. She can suck it if she can’t take the truth and have a little fun with it!

Yes, Dance Moms might be scripted at times. Ok, it’s totally scripted and staged. But the show that everyone – both inside and outside of the dance community – has come to either love to hate or hate to love is pretty spot on when you get down to the nitty gritty. There is a lot of truth in all the events, emotions and arguments the show features. You know, the kinds of nonsense that no one wants to talk about – but we all love to watch play out on TV.

Each of these Moms portrays - in a most exaggerated fashion - the good, but mostly bad and ugly, traits of real dance moms.

Each of these Moms portrays – in a most exaggerated fashion – the good, but mostly bad and ugly, traits of real dance moms.

While we typical Dance Moms tend to show up to the studio in less spectacular clothing and no false eyelashes ever, there is some truth to the show. For one, we do love wine – it’s a requirement. I should know because I actually sell wine (shameless plug), and I make a killing off of fellow Moms. There is an upcharge for Moms from other studios, but they don’t mind.

But, we never display public drunkenness. And if we throw a drink, we do it with much more grace and savoir fair!

Honestly, what the show does is take real situations and personalities and blow them up all to Hell! Let’s pour ourselves a glass of wine (screw what time it is) and explore:

Melissa – Dedicated, Sneaky



Every studio has a Melissa. You’ll recognize her as the one that helps. A lot. She’s the Mom that everyone wants to hang with and slit her throat at the same time. She believes that hard work and dedication pay off, and her children prove that. She acts sweet and unaffected, but the truth is that if you or your kid ever get in the way of her dancer – SHE WILL CUT YOU. And then she’ll innocently try to find you help. She’s silent, but deadly.

Christi – Witty, Outspoken



You know that Mom that never danced as a child, but seems to know everything? She’s the one who can tell you what’s wrong with the schedule, the costumes, the choreography, the carpet in the lobby and why her child will never get a break. She has to – HAS TO – tell everyone exactly what she knows too. She doesn’t care how loud she has to be or who she offends. That’s Christi. Every dance team has at least one. God help you if yours has two or more.

Cathy – Ambitious, Cray Cray

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Then there’s the Mom from the other studio that is going to take your team down at any cost – even if the cost means she loses her mind and dignity with each loss. The thing is, I want to like Cathy. She wants the best for all the dancers she parades through each week, but she’s blinded by her hatred for that “other studio.” You have one. Her kid might even go to the same school as yours. She’s that Mom across the traffic circle at drop off in the mornings who tries to pretend like she’s not watching you. And taking notes.

Jill – Spirited, Opportunistic



And then there is Jill. She was brought in somewhere in Season One or Two when the producers realized they were missing the opportunistic and meddlesome yet genuinely likable and spirited one. Does anyone else get the feeling that Jill was deprived of something as a child and still thinks she has to overcome that with every breath she takes? At your studio, you’ll probably see her in the Mom that is always asking about what your kid is doing. She’s the one that compares the costumes and choreography. She also proves how genuine she is by giving out gifts and carrying the largest designer bags she can find.

Holly – Level-headed, Over it 



That absentee Mom – either absent physically, emotionally or just always zoned out – that’s Holly. She’s the one that stays away from the drama because she’s so “above it.” However, watch your back with her. Push her or her dancer too far and she starts wagging those perfectly manicured and rhinestoned fingers at you.

Kelly – Protective, Drama Queen



And every studio has seen a Kelly or two. They are the ones that firmly believe that every correction given to her dancer is a dagger to the heart – a kill shot. Every day she stayed at your studio, she got a little crazier. Her eyes bug out every time someone mentions her kid. She can NEVER sit still and watch. She’s pretty twitchy. Eventually, she leaves the team in a dramatic fashion thinking she’s saving her kid from a horrible fate. In actuality, she’s saving the kid from what a little competition does to her!

The Newbs – Jessalyn and Kira

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Every studio has the “vicariously- living in her child’s spotlight” Mom. That’s pretty much all of them us, but I’m thinking the two newbies, Kira or Jessalyn might have been cast to exploit this. I have not seen too much of either of them, so I’m only guessing. Still …………

Have you met the Mom who is so, so, so supportive of everyone – but only at the studio? This Mom has a totally different personality once she arrives at the competition. She goes in to crazy bitch mode. As soon as she gets to the dressing room, she immediately sets up a perimeter around her dancer’s “area.” Don’t block it – she will cut you. Accidently step in to their space – God help you because no one else will. And let me tell you that if you ever make any comment that she could glean as anything less than positive about her kid – she will campaign to have you shunned for life. I suspect one of the Newbs will become this Mom on the show.

Back to Reality

So, I’m sitting at the dance studio one Saturday morning while my daughter rehearses her solo. In the other studio is a recreation dance class for the littlest dancers (i.e. they just take classes for fun and to be in a recital in the spring). Their Moms are all plastered to the window watching the class of three and four year olds in pink leotards and tights. Some enrolled their kids because they want them to be dancers – either because they danced themselves or because they are enamored with Dance Moms. Others just put them in the class because they want their kid to do “something,” and their kid likes to dance. Both groups have no frickin’ clue what they are getting themselves in to. I watch them and wonder which kind of Dance Mom they will turn in to if their kid goes the competitive route.

We’re all pretty much the same. We’re competitive and we have a flippin’ glorious amount of glitter and rhinestones all over our minivans or SUVs at any time. We all drive minivans and/or SUVs because there’s no effin way we could stuff all the Dream Duffels full of costumes, makeup and hair shit in to a sedan. And sometimes we have props! But each type of Mom has special nuances. It’s hard to tell who will be what, but it’s fun to guess.

Then I start freaking out because I wonder which kind of Dance Mom I am. I took this quiz on the official Dance Moms website. It said I am Melissa. A fellow Dance Mom of mine said that seems right. Really? I would have thought Jill, but whatever – that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

Honorable Mention – More Dance Moms that have graced ALDC

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Leslie – Yes, she’s loud and crazy, but she keeps coming back. She’s like an abused dog – kick her and she comes back for more.


Kristie – Pure self-indulgent evilness lives inside of her. Yes, she got a spin-off, but she had to sell her soul and her children to the devil of exploited children to do it.


“Christ”y – Is she for real? Seriously? This is one Mom that I can’t buy in to as “real.” I’m pretty sure she was lifted right out of a bad Fox sitcom from the 1980s and green screened on to the show.

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Jeanette – I have to give her a shout out. She and I both taught for the same studio (though I was years ahead of her and we never actually crossed paths). Still, I feel a close connection to her. I am Team Jeanette even if we dropped cable before her season started. I’ll catch up on DVD.

Black Patsy

Black Patsy – Who could forget her? She sure left the show with a bang (or in a cop car — same difference). You have to hand it to someone who has the balls to name herself after Patsy Ramsey.

19 comments on “Scripted and Staged, but Still Real – Dance Moms

  1. Missy
    February 9, 2015

    I’ve never seen this show but now I’m curious!

  2. Amanda
    February 9, 2015

    I’ve only seen Dance Moms a few times on TV but I always assumed it had to partially scripted!

  3. lderringer
    February 9, 2015

    I’m fascinated by shows like Dance Moms. Really all reality tv fascinates me haha. I know it has to be staged to some extent, but they have to create these characters from some truth. I loved reading this! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Dance moms is one of my guilty pleasures! :). Great post!!!

  5. Talia Foster
    February 9, 2015

    I’ve never seen this one but I’ve seen another show and it seems that everyone has lost their minds and the kids are caught in the middle.

  6. randomlittlefaves
    February 9, 2015

    This is hysterical! I haven’t seen the show, but you’re making me want to watch it (or better yet, head down to the local dance studio and watch the real life dance moms battle it out, lol). I love your writing! Great post (and I hope the other moms go soft on you 😉 ).

    • julieswinecellar
      February 10, 2015

      Well, I was at the studio last night, and no one slashed my tires. Actually, a couple of Moms read it right there and loved it (PHEW!)! Thanks!

  7. Samantha Bender
    February 9, 2015

    This is too funny! I’ve watched the show here and there, and it’s interesting to know that there are some things that ring true about it. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Victoria
    February 10, 2015

    I have heard of this show. However, I have never watched it. I love your post though.

  9. Tayler Morrell
    February 10, 2015

    This is an interesting take on Dance Moms. My husband and I have seen the commercials for it and feel so bad for all the publicized drama the kids are put through!

  10. glamourousguide
    February 11, 2015

    This is hilarious! I’ve watched the show and lived it as a dancer and have witnessed these “Dance Moms”. My mom was the one who would sit with the family in the audience waiting for my performance (thank god!). I was always so embarrassed for those other girls. They on the other hand always ‘felt bad’ for me. I think I turned out ok and I wonder where they are… Lol

  11. naturalfitfoodie
    March 12, 2015

    I’ve never heard of this show as I don’t live in the North America but it seems quite entertaining. My daughter is a budding dancer so I’m gonna go take that quiz too and find out which one I’m like!

    • Julie Smith
      March 12, 2015

      Do you have NetFlix? You can find the first season there. How long has your daughter been dancing?

  12. mags
    March 12, 2015

    This show is such a guilty pleasure! I’ve taught dance for years and dealt with my fair share of crazy dance moms.

    • Julie Smith
      March 12, 2015

      God Bless you then! There are some nuts out there. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Pulse
    April 1, 2015

    It’s interesting to sit in the studio and pick the mom/dads for the next cast of Dance Moms. They are there in your studio… They are in most studios. Some of them cover it well. Others don’t. At our old studio, I could pick the cast easily from wicked to nice back to wicked again. Have some fun. While you sit in your studio. Develop a cast list. Then you know who us and who isn’t a team player on your dance team.

    • Julie Smith
      April 1, 2015

      Absolutely! Luckily, all the Moms and Teachers loved this post. Whew!

  14. Pingback: Moms vs. Zombies | Dance, Sing and Drink Wine

  15. Pingback: You Might Be A Competitive Dance Mom If ….. | Dance, Sing and Drink Wine

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