Dance Moms Recap: Tiny Dancers

Dance Moms minis

With the Dance Moms finally (FINALLY!) getting along and forming an alliance in the wake of Abby Lee Miller’s indifference for the elite team, Lifetime had to do something to stir up some additional drama. Enter the mini team with mothers who may be even battier and more hungry for fame than the veteran ladies. Last night, the little rump shakers came back with a vengeance, and their daughters were right there with them! 😉 I guess this means I have to make an effort to learn the mini moms’ names. Bear with me.

As the episode begins, Jill passive aggressively greets her her mini mother counterparts. “Oh, isn’t she the cutest?” while staring darts at a six-year-old…you know the drill! The veteran moms explain the recent antics surrounding Abby’s behavior, and Holly is hopeful that this week Abby will be able to balance giving the proper attention and direction to both teams. That wish is quickly dashed as Abby hobbles into a studio using a walker. She has recently had knee surgery, and while she’s in a lot of pain, she’s excited about the painkillers she’s been prescribed. This should be fun! At pyramid, Nia is present but sick with strep throat. How miserable! Before she reveals the order of the pyramid, Abby introduces Lilly and her mother Stacey. Stacey is a psychologist whose daughter has wanted to be an ALDC member since she was a newborn. Hmmmm. Does someone need a bit of self-reflection? Holly demands an apology for flipping the bird, and she takes it as a good sign when Abby concedes. 


Abby unveils the pyramid by starting at the top for once. Nia is in the coveted position for winning with her trio, followed by Kalani, Kendall, and JoJo for a solid performance as Abby’s Angels. Brynn takes the last spot because she didn’t dance in anything other than the group routine. The bottom rung of the pyramid is comprised of the mini team. She rattles off their names (do I have to learn them yet??) while providing each with constructive criticism. The minis will be dancing in a pageant themed number while the elite team will be playing homage to Prince with a number called Purple Fame. Jessalyn interjects that she knows someone who used to dance with Prince. She feels the girls need to learn the story behind the artist so the final product doesn’t fall flat. Abby gifts Nia and Kendall a duet inspired by Beyonce and Lady Gaga. The girls are both thrilled, although Nia remembers their last failed routine…not to mention she feels like crap. Brynn and JoJo are paired together which will be more a test of how their mothers will be able to get along. 

Dance Moms elite

As the girls rehearse, the mothers discuss the issues the girls seem to have connecting with the subject of the routine. Brynn reminds us that she has no clue who Prince is as she was born in 2003. Brynn and JoJo’s duet requires them to dance as the mirror image of the other. Abby believes she’s challenging the girls to work to the other’s strengths. What JoJo exudes in stage presence, she lacks in technicality, and vice versa for Brynn. Ashlee is trying to bite her tongue as the girls practice. Perhaps Abby just wants Jessalyn and Ashlee to live in peace in harmony? Jill can’t laugh hard enough at that revelation. Since when are peace and harmony in Abby’s vocabulary. Jill jokes that Abby probably has the girls dancing together so she can sit back, chomp on her popcorn, and watch the fireworks between the volatile moms. Abby reveals that she is trying to give Kendall a lot of dances so she won’t get lazy. Holly is concerned that being under the weather is going to make this week’s routine much harder for Nia.

Gia is assisting Abby with the minis choreography, and Abby looks less than pleased. She wants to see big personalities and facial expressions. The minis are excited about the concept–the mini who will be crowned the winner of the pageant won’t know it until the day of competition. In the viewing area, Tiffany opines about the symbolism of the piece. Abby clearly wants to crown the next Maddie, and she thinks her daughter Alexis has what it takes. Sari can’t roll her eyes hard enough. Why can’t Tiffany focus on the team as a whole? Sari interrupts to remind her cohorts that her daughter is Abby’s favorite. Gia urges the minis to practice hard and to look to Alexis for guidance. In the parking lot, Tiffany wants to take a poll. Which mini will get crowned the winner? She is vocal about how there really isn’t much of a contest. It’s going to be Alexis, right? Sari is over Tiffany’s delusions of grandeur, and she gets right in Tiffany’s face to tell her as much. Name calling and threats ensue until a still nameless mini-mom screams out the nonexistent battle cry of the ALDC: Why can’t we just be a team? Good luck selling that silly notion, lady!

Dance Moms minis rehearse

The following day, Abby lords over the minis’ rehearsal, and Tiffany has decided to remain mum on her daughter’s amazing dance abilities. She’s over fighting with these other moms. Abby has the minis positioning her knee as she attempts to get the girls to show some acting chops. She lets each practice winning the crown, as Tiffany seethes that her daughter hasn’t yet been named the be all end all of the mini team. Meanwhile, Jessalyn and the veteran moms greet her friend who danced with Prince for five years. I hope this isn’t going to exploit Prince’s memory, especially so soon after his death, but this is Lifetime, so it totally will. Jessalyn introduces her pal to Abby in hopes she’ll allow Prince’s muse to watch the dance and give the elite team some insight into the genius that is Prince’s legacy. Maybe an eight-count into the routine, Jessalyn stops the girls. This is boring! She needs the girls to know the meaning behind Purple Rain, and she provides her critique and suggestions. Abby pretends to be keen with another dancer coming in to train to her girls, but she does a terrible job. 

Nia and Kendall approach Abby and ask if they can postpone the number for a few weeks since Nia feels so cruddy. Nia want to channel her inner Beyonce when she’s at one hundred percent. Kendall doesn’t want to lose the duet entirely, so she counters that perhaps Kalani could step in to replace Nia. Abby understands both girls requests, but she plans to start over with the duet’s choreography. It will no longer be a dance inspired by Beyonce and Lady Gaga. It will be inspired by a phone cord. Jill is concerned about the cord as a prop. Someone is going to lose an eye. Much like being clueless about Prince, these girls have never lived in a world where they had to deal with phone cords. At least the mothers aren’t biting off each others’ heads. They’ll save that for the minis. Tiffany is beside herself that the other mothers haven’t admitted her daughter is the strongest member of the team. She complains to Abby that the other moms are taunting her, asserting that Alexis’ choreography isn’t as hard as her teammates. She bursts in on the elite rehearsal followed by the other whiny moms. Kira has reached her breaking point. She screams that the mini moms need to respect their practice time and kicks them out of the studio. Abby thanks her. 

Dance Moms mini mom

At the competition, Abby shoos the minis and their mothers into a smaller dressing room so the elite team can prep in the larger space. Tiffany is floored. Her daughter is an official mini, and she should be able to get ready with the official elite team. She is beside herself when the other mini moms march to the servants’ quarters. This is unacceptable, and she has about half a sentence out of her mouth (“We gave up so much to be here!”) before she’s completely shut down by Abby. Jill takes great pleasure in reminding Tiffany that the minis haven’t yet earned the right to be in the big room. Tiffany argues that the elite team got to be in the big room when they were starting out with Abby. Um no. Abby reminds her that the elite team didn’t start out with a bazillion followers on social media and a hit television show. She warns Tiffany that one more word will be the end of Alexis in the group number. Tiffany sullenly retreats to the tiny room where the other mothers are crossing their fingers that she won’t be the demise of the entire team. She can’t help it if she needs to stand up for herself! 

Kalani is a bit concerned about her duet with Kendall. She doesn’t want to let down Nia after stepping in to take her place. After Brynn and JoJo do a run-through, Holly questions if Abby paired the two together because they look so much alike or because she wanted to unite Jessalyn and Ashlee. Abby smiles slyly before giving both duets an encouraging pep talk. Backstage, Kendall and Kalani promise to make the best of bad situation, but their tangled cord driven duet is actually really amazing. The girls are ecstatic. JoJo and Brynn follow suit with an equally wonderful performance. Jill is quick to praise Abby for giving the girls some high caliber choreography. Before the minis take the stage, Abby once again has each mini pretend to win the crown. As the mothers watch anxiously, Tiffany prods Abby for a winner. Bad idea. Alexis is passed over for Sari’s daughter Ariana. Tough break. Abby recites her speech about not being owed anything and having to earn respect before sending her mini team off to dance. 

Dance Moms duet

I’m not going to lie, those minis are a talented bunch, and their group routine is adorable and sassy and filled with some major facial expressions. Even Tiffany is impressed, despite the fact that her daughter was a runner up to Ariana. The elite team performs Purple Fame, and the moms worry that it will fall flat like their Michael Jackson tribute. I don’t love the choreography, but the girls give it their all, and it’s a phenomenal routine. The mothers are proud, but cautious. At the awards ceremony, Brynn and JoJo’s duet wins its age group, and Ashlee admits she’s excited to see the girls becoming such great friends. Hopefully she and Jessalyn will follow their lead. Likewise, Kalani and Kendall win their division as well. The minis keep up the momentum as well, winning with their group number. Unfortunately for the elite team, they rank second with Purple Fame. Jill blames Abby’s focus on the minis. When Abby praises the girls post-competition, Tiffany boasts that her daughter stole the show. Kira’s claws come out with that comment. Can’t Tiffany just revel in the team’s success? The other mini moms concur. Has Tiffany never been a part of the group? Tiffany has no time for their lectures. She has grand plans for Alexis to be the next Maddie


[Photo Credit: Lifetime]