Last night was the premiere of the first Dance Moms‘ spin-off, Dance Moms: Miami. We are introduced to Victor Smalley and Angel Armas, owners of Star Dance Studios in Miami, Florida. I am curious to see if they will be as horrible as Abby Lee from the original Dance Moms, but from an overview of the upcoming season, they seem to be reserving the insanity for the moms. Good call.
Victor and Angel are quick to point out that they would never put up with these crazy-a$$ mothers if it weren’t for their sweet and talented children. Victor is the good cop to Angels’ stricter bravado. Sammy Small and her mother Abby are new to the studio, but they aren’t new to Debi Epstein and her daughter Hannah. Sammy and Hannah danced together when they were younger, and Sammy, who has grand plans to be the next Hannah Montana, apparently wasn’t the nicest to Hannah. Abby thinks people are just jealous of her family’s wealth and talented children. Perhaps, although Abby’s husband doesn’t seem to keen on spending on his “wealth” on his daughters’ dancing.
Victor’s mother, Mayra Smalley, runs the studio and is challenged with corralling the moms. Victor and Angel have a “list” where they rate the dancers’ performances, based on their own opinions, not how well they did in competition according to judges’ scores. Debi is floored to see Hannah at the bottom. An adorable Lucas Triana, is on the verge of tears when he’s told his cuteness will only get him so far, and ends up next to last on the list. His mother Brigette, thinks her nine-year-old is winning multiple competitions should grant him a better place on the list. Oh, and she also touts herself as the resident dance mom b!tch. Good to know!
Kimmy Kopke is third on the list for her inability to memorize choreography, and new girl Sammy scores the second spot much to Debi’s eye-rolling and chagrin. The coveted top spot belongs to Jessi Kennedy. Her mother Susan is going to be a spitfire, mark my words. The troupe prepares for an upcoming competition, and Victor gives them a pep talk. Jessi scores a solo, and Lucas and Kimmy will have a duet where the young pair will be competing against twelve-year-old dancers. Hannah is saddened to learn that she will not have a solo this week.
The routine for the competition is “jazz funk.” Bring it! The moms are kicked out of the studio while Victor teaches dark “Miami-fusion” style choreography to the students. In the moms’ holding room, newbie mom Abby asks for the lowdown on Victor and Angel. Both Brigette and Kimmy’s mother Anicia Guttierrez can’t hide their smugness. Debi jumps in to talk about how strict this studio is compared to the one Sammy used to attend. Abby agrees that it must be, as Hannah seems to be dancing a bit better than the last time Abby saw her. Mee and yow. Brigette finds it hilarious as Abby and Debi rattle off their daughters’ impressive dance resumes.
Debi admits that she is far more competitive than her daughter. She cannot wait until Hannah is a superstar and shows up Sammy. Does Debi realize she’s jealous of a tween? Debi blames Victor for not giving Hannah a solo or a duet. Victor divas up to Debi after she accuses him of casting Sammy when she hasn’t paid her dues at the studio. He sashays away leaving Debi fuming. I already like this show so much better than the original! When Susan questions Debi about the altercation, she curtly replies she doesn’t want to talk about it.
We learn that Jessi is uber-competitive and wants to win at all costs. We also learn that Jessi’s grandmother was a ballerina in Colombia. A bit more history? Her mother Susan didn’t quite make it as far in the dance world as she would have liked. Shocking…her mother’s a famous dancer, and now her daughter lives to dance, admittedly to please Susan. Lifetime, you also may have a movie of the week with this one.
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Kimmy is nine, and she wakes up every morning at 4am to complete her homework so she can get her dance practice in while juggling elementary school. Anicia believes Kimmy gets her OCD tendencies from her, and she fancies herself the peacekeeper among the other moms. Kimmy and Lucas have quite the little duet kicking…are they nine or nineteen? Angel sees absolutely no chemistry between the two. Kimmy tries to cheer up her partner after he’s upset after dropping her. Yes, that’s right…the nine-year-olds have a lift.
Susan chastises Jessi for resting when she should be practicing her solo. The other mothers feel that Susan is far too hard on her daughter. Victor informs Angel that Jessi is now practicing under Susan’s watchful eye in the lobby. No way, lady! Angel is going to nip this in the bud. Susan is not a dance instructor, and her daughter will be far too tired to work with Angel when her time for instruction comes.
The dancers show up for the first competition, and Lucas is channeling his mini-Bieber. Victor is super sick, and he keeps vomiting everywhere. He tries to rally for the dancers, but he should probably see a doctor. Susan can’t believe this! Who will help Jessi with her stretches and give her a pep talk? Angel jokes that Victor is pregnant. Debi doesn’t think that Victor needs to see a doctor, and Brigette is floored that these ladies don’t think he needs medical attention. Once they arrive at the competition, Angel urges the usually unruly ladies to stay quiet so Victor can rest. Mayra doesn’t think her son needs to go to the hospital, and she and Brigette start barking at one another. Susan then jumps on Brigette and Debi, causing Jessi to lose her focus. If she dances poorly, Susan thinks the other moms are to blame for rattling her daughter. Meanwhile Abby is just wondering what she’s gotten herself–and her daughter–into with this studio.
Jessi performs her solo, and Angel calls it “phenomenal.” Of course, Jessi is in tears because she doesn’t think she danced her best. Susan goes looking for her daughter because she knows Jessi is likely upset about her showing. After returning from the doctor, Victor arrives in time to see Lucas and Kimmy perform their tango duet. Lucas hopes he won’t drop Kimmy, and Kimmy just wants to remember the choreography. The little guys do an amazing job, but Lucas is extremely hard on himself. Kimmy thinks they did fine.
The group dance is out of control…these are some super talented kids. The moms are very proud, but Angel thinks a few of the students were off a bit. Jessi wins second place for her solo, and her mother is in tears–not with pride, but because the moms bickering stressed her out too much to garner first place. Is she kidding? Kimmy and Lucas win first place in the duet category. The troupe wins small group and Hannah goes to collect their trophy. Jessi snatches it away like a mean older sister. Victor does not like bad sportsmanship.
Back in the holding area, Debi excuses the dancers to discuss what has just happened with the other mothers. Susan is immediately on the defensive and storms out crying. Angel thinks these ladies are uncontrollable animals. Angel is likely on to something!
Next week, Jessi is at the bottom of the list due to her behavior, and Victor and Angel quarrel over choreography. Debi and Brigette get into it.
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE MIAMI SPIN-OFF? DO YOU LIKE IT BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL DANCE MOMS? WHO DO YOU THINK WILL CAUSE THE MOST TROUBLE THIS SEASON?
[Photo Credit: Scott Gries; MyLifetime.com]