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'Dance Moms' 101--About Lifetime's Dance Docu-Drama


Dance Moms logo featuring Abby Lee Miller

What is 'Dance Moms'?:

Dance Moms is a reality show that premiered on the Lifetime cable network July 13, 2011.

Dance Moms is a documentary-style reality show as opposed to a competition. The show focuses on a group of students (and their mothers) at the Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as they train and participate in dance competitions around the country.

What is 'Dance Moms' About?:

Dance Moms is primarily about these three things:

  1. Dance instructor Abby Lee Miller, her training techniques and her quest for regional and national titles.
  2. Abby's students, the choreographed dances they perform and their successes and failures.
  3. The dancers' stage moms who live vicariously through their children and fight with each other and Abby.

The central drama on Dance Moms comes from the regular competitions, while the show's conflict is driven by the moms clashing with each other and Abby. They frequently complain about Abby's training style and have called Abby names (everything from poking fun of her weight to calling her 'evil'). The moms also frequently accuse Abby of being unfair. This seems to happen whenever one of the girls fails to win Abby's accolades (i.e. at least once every episode).

Additional conflict arises from competition with Abby's rival Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and her Candy Apples dance troupe; and Abby's weekly ranking of her dancers in a pyramid with the best performer on top.

Who Stars on 'Dance Moms'?:

Dance Moms stars:

The original moms don't take kindly to new dancers and tend to make new moms feel unwelcome. Whether it's that hostile environment or other factors, new cast members rarely stay long on Dance Moms.

'Dance Moms' Awards and Ratings:

In 2012, Dance Moms was nominated for a "Fan Favorite" Teen Choice award and for a "Best Candid Reality Show" Tubey award from Television Without Pity.

The second season was the top rated reality show on a cable network during its Tuesday night time slot among women 18-49.

Are There 'Dance Moms' Spin-offs?:

The success of Dance Moms has spawned two spin-offs, Dance Moms Miami and Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition.

Set in Miami, Florida's Stars Dance Studio, Dance Moms Miami premiered on April 3, 2012.

Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition premiered October 9, 2012 and featured 12 dancers competing for the chance to win a $100,000 scholarship to the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School.

Who Produces 'Dance Moms'?:

Dance Moms was created by Collins Avenue Productions. It is executive produced by Gena McCarthy, Jeff Collins, Kimberly Chessler, Michael Hammond, Mike Aho, Robert Caplain, Robert Sharenow, Sara Quick and Stephen Schwartz

When Does 'Dance Moms' Air?:

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9/8PM Central on Lifetime.

The first season of Dance Moms ran from July to October 2011 and included 12 episodes. The second season ran from January to September 2012 and included 26 episodes. The third season premiered January 1, 2013 and will also run for 26 episodes.

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