How mean Abby Lee is sending our kids back to class
- Last Updated: 12:48 AM, April 13, 2012
- Posted: 11:52 PM, April 11, 2012
The second season of Lifetime’s hit reality series “Dance Moms” closed with egocentric, domineering dance instructor Abby Lee Miller having a breakdown.
After months of showing favoritism, shushing dance moms and barking orders in her raspy, overused voice, Miller abandoned her kids in the middle of a New York dance competition and jetted home — a shocking cliffhanger that will keep fans panting until the show returns this summer.
More surprising still is that kids are Miller’s biggest fans, in spite of her super-competitive, win-or-go-home teaching style.
The Girl Scouts’ 2011 national survey, called “ Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV,” reveals that reality TV is the most popular genre of programming among girls aged 11 to 17.
New York mom Kate Cronin, a managing director of Ogilvy Public Relations, recently wrote about this phenomenon for the blog Womenology.
Cronin’s own girls (ages 14 and 9) are obsessed with “Dance Moms,” she says.
Her 14-year-old jokingly suggested Cronin sign up her younger sister for dance classes, so the p.r. exec could be a dance mom who’s too busy working to interfere — unlike the obnoxious moms on the show.
“I think my daughters appreciate that, in the show, the mothers are silenced, that Abby constantly puts them in their place,” says Cronin. “Abby lets the kids shine on their own.”
Which may explain why some dance schools are reporting that — rather than being scared off by Miller’s bullying way — the girls want what Miller is selling.
For tweens, the dancing “Dance Moms” presents is something young girls want to try.
Rysa Childress, owner of Allstar Studios in Forest Hills, Queens, says that her dancers between the ages of 7 and 12 are inspired by the talent and ability of the show’s dancers, who are in the same age group.
“They’re constantly asking me, ‘How can I learn to do that trick?’ ” Childress says.
“It gives them something to work for, but they’re wondering why they can’t dance as well. ‘Dance Moms’ doesn’t show any teaching of technique or the hours that go into being able to dance like that.
“There’s a lot going on that isn’t depicted.”
At other schools, the name Abby Lee Miller is not to be mentioned.
Jennifer Kliegel, director of the Dance Studio of Park Slope, Brooklyn claims that her students send her e-mails expressing their gratitude because she isn’t like Miller.
“I think [‘Dance Moms’] is a phenomenon that exists outside of New York,” says Kliegel. “Kids here are busy. They have better things to do.”
Well, one thing’s for sure.
They’re watching it.