Review: Dance Moms “No One is Safe” (4.5) (Group Dance SPOILER)
Okay. This group dance. It was an absolutely stunning number. Nia danced the greatest I’ve ever seen her dance – and her emotion was on point. I seriously cried while watching it. But…can we please address the giant elephant in the room? (No, that is not a joke about Abby Lee Miller, who actually looks fantastic lately.) That dance was about slavery. Abby and the moms kept saying the dance was about “the Civil Rights movement.” Um, no. That was what the Rosa Parks dance was about. This dance featured Nia as a mistreated servant or slave who was being beaten down repeatedly by all of the other girls while just trying to dance and be treated the same. They were literally jumping at her and doing all of these moves which would signify some kind of physical altercation. Then at the end Nia, as Abby said, “finally breaks free.” “Breaks free,” like… escapes. Had they said “slavery” in the show, it would correctly frame Dr. Holly’s comments about the dance being controversial and her hesitation on allowing Nia to perform. In the end, Dr. Holly decided it was an appropriate and moving tribute.
I don’t know. I just wonder what the thought was behind tip toeing around that when it was so obvious. I am glad they (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) won. (Not much of a spoiler, though. Didn’t we all see that coming? Who wouldn’t pick that dance to win?)
(TV Challenge – Dance Memories)
One of my favorite set of dance memories is chronicled in Honey Mustard and Miss Rockford – but that is by far from my only story. I danced for over a decade; I grew up a dancer, and I competed for several years as well. Although we didn’t have crazy moms like on “Dance Moms,” it still brings back fond memories of the time I spent in the studio or competing at convention centers.
Dance competitions took place alongside dance conventions. Dancers were divided by age and given a daily schedules of classes. Conventions were the place we could try new genres (clogging, hip hop, Irish dance, stomp) and learn new tricks and moves in the genres we already knew (jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical.) We also had workshops – audition workshops, stretching workshops, etc. Audition workshops were an anomaly because they didn’t require us to do much. Someone was onstage talking, he or she took volunteers, and then those people demonstrated the different “audition tips and tricks” the speaker gave. After I had been to a few conventions, I felt more comfortable at the workshops. I remember the first time I volunteered to demonstrate was during an audition workshop.
I raised my hand when the woman called for volunteers to demonstrate her first point. My friend Bria and I were called onstage, along with a few other girls. The speaker began talking about ways to be remembered. The first tip was to say something quirky about yourself after announcing your name.
My mind went blank. 150 peers were staring up at the handful of us on the stage, all secretly glad they weren’t put on the spot. The woman started with the girl at the opposite end of the line, so I had a tiny bit of time. It wasn’t enough, though. As the woman went down the line, listening to each answer and then critiquing it, my mind stirred and stirred but brought up nothing. When it was my turn, I opened my mouth and the following sentence spilled out:
“My name is Rachel _____, and I’m gellin’ like a felon.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar, this was from a Dr. Scholl’s ad campaign for gel insoles. I didn’t wear them, I had no particular affinity for the commercials…. I had no idea why I’d said that. My face immediately grew hot. I thought everyone was secretly laughing; everyone else onstage had said a fun fact about themselves, and I had quoted a commercial. If I’d said that at a real audition, I would have been laughed out of the building. Did this lady even know what I was quoting? Did I watch too much tv? Was the phrase even “gellin like a felon” or was it something else? Did I even say my name? Was I the worst one? Will I ever get a call back at any audition or will this happen every single time?
All of this ran through my head in the few seconds between my answer and the woman responding, “Nice! Funny! Just make sure you clearly pronounce your last name.”
And that was the end of that. Don’t we make the biggest deals out of the smallest things? The life of a drama queen.