I think my world has been turned slightly upside down. Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller may not be as bad as I think she is every Tuesday night. She spoke with a local newscaster in Michigan, and the pair had a frank sit-down about the background behind the show. Abby even chastises him for only having watched one episode of her show.
It's a long chat, but Abby actually makes some valid points. She also dishes on how the show came to light, and it's not what I expected. It appears that Abby has been a victim of reality television as well. Is it scripted? Duh. Does drama create ratings? Bravo 101. Would Abby like the show to focus more on the kids and their dancing than manufactured craziness? I honestly believe she does. If you could ever knock me over with a feather, now would be the time!
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Todd Chance at MLive! recently interviewed the Abby, and she was every bit as matter-of-fact as she is on her show…however (thankfully!), she was far less abrasive.
When questioned as to how the idea for the show came about, Abby explains that it was the brain child of someone she met in the industry. She says, "We actually were working on the competition show which turned out to be Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition prior to Dance Moms."
She reveals that she always traveled with her dancers to various competitions and conventions to New York and Las Vegas ("No moms. No moms. No moms.") in hopes of finding representation, and the competition show was a frontrunner. However, the man who conceived the show's idea became more intrigued by the interactions between Abby and the mothers.
After being asked about the reality behind her current group of dancers, Abby admits, "That's a big huge misconception about the show." Apparently, the mothers were interviewed for the spots on the show, and the daughters didn't try out for the troupe. Abby maintains that the show was never supposed to be about the kids or the dancing…just the drama brought by this group of mamas.
"Thank God that's changed," Abby jokes. She now enjoys the balance of the show. Of course, Abby admits that if she was editing, she would show less moms and more dancing.
Abby's three most important rules won't come as any shock to viewers: "Don't contradict your teacher. Don't interrupt your teacher. Don't be disrespectful to your teacher."
She explains that she's not putting on any type of bravado for the cameras. In fact, Abby's former students actually think she's gotten nicer as the years have passed. She spends part of the interview discussing her success stories, chatting about a male dancer who just scored a gig in Newsies on Broadway. Abby brags about saving his parents hundreds of thousands of dollars in college tuition, and now he's making more than both his mom and dad combined. All thanks to Abby…and perhaps his talent? I'm not sure–she didn't clarify.
When asked about whether she considers herself to verbally abusive to her students, Abby chalks it up to her particular coaching style. She shares that only two types of parents ever choose to leave her studio–those who can't take the heat (whether they are talentless or too sensitive) and those who can't afford it. Her rates are very reasonable, by the way. She adds, "My dreams for them are bigger than their dreams for themselves."
Abby does remind everyone that her students are doing what they love. The interviewer makes a valid point…people can easily name famous actors or musicians, but a successful dancer may not necessarily be a household name. Also, Abby wants to be compared to Bela Karolyi, the gymnastics coach who gave us Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton and Dominique Moceanu (just to name a few). He may not have had the sunniest disposition, but he created champions. Abby fancies herself the Bela of dance.
The show has put a kink in Abby's actual dance training because there are more and more restrictions and time constraints that come with filming a reality series. However, Abby thinks the perks are amazing. Not only does she get to do things like attend the Oscars (what?) and enjoy her own little piece of celebrity, she thinks the show inspires more children to want to dance. She concludes, "More little girls and boys are dancing."
Check out the interview in its entirety below. It's a lot more interesting than I expected, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!
TELL US-WHAT DID YOU THINK OF ABBY'S INTERVIEW? DID IT CHANGE YOUR OPINION OF HER AT ALL?
[Photo Credit: Lifetime]