Hey Gasmii, welcome to Miami! We are at Stars Dance Studio, which is run by Victor Smalley and Angel DeArmas. Apparently Victor was on So You Think You Can Dance a couple years ago but I’ve never seen that show so I am unfamiliar with his oeuvre. According to Victor and Angel, they are not just raising dancers, they are raising stars! Yay! The world needs more stars. Their object is to go to Nationals every year and win. As opposed to going to Nationals and being completely humiliated, I guess.
The dance moms and dance kids enter the lobby in pairs. We have Susan and Jessi, Ani and Kimmy, Debi and Hannah and Brigette and Lucas. Angel says they love the kids, hate the moms but take them both so they can pay the bills. Victor says what he means is, the kids are awesome and they tolerate the moms. Angel says he doesn’t need Victor to interpret for him. He says to Victor that he hopes there will be “no attitude this season.” I have a feeling his hopes are going to be dashed before the hour is up. Angel informs us that you don’t come to Stars to be a backup dancer. Victor says “we’re tough, but that’s what makes us stars.” I’m sensing a theme here.
Victor explains that he is like one of the kids while Angel is more like a drill sergeant. Angel says that Victor is too nice. Victor tells us that he loves the kids and he loves his art and that he is sometimes a better parent than the parents.
Here come Abby and Sammy. Sammy is new to the studio. Debi, whom I am going to call Bob because of her haircut and because she looks like a man in a wig,
informs us that she knows Abby and Sammy from her old studio. Bob says that Sammy was not nice to her daughter Hannah. Bob says she’s told Angel that if Abby ever walked in the front door she’d be walking out the back door. Wow, Bob, it’s a little early in the show for empty threats.
We go to Abby and Sammy’s house. Sammy is 12.
Stop being jealous of us
She and Abby are going through the closet looking for an outfit for Sammy to make a good first impression for her first day at the new studio. Abby – and it’s going to be really hard to not automatically type “Jabby” – says they are going to Stars because Angel and Vic are known for being top choreographers. Abby says Sammy was inspired by her older sister Hayley, who is also a dancer. Abby says Sammy was born into dance.
Sammy tells us that she wants to have her own Hannah Montana-type TV show but if that doesn’t work out, she’ll settle for being on Broadway. Sammy reminds me a little bit of the daughter Vickie on Long Island Medium. Anyone watch that show? I almost typed Long Island Madam. I’ve been reading the New York Post too long.
Abby asks Sammy if she wants to bring the pillow silkscreened with her face on it to her first day at Stars and Sammy says, no, not on the FIRST day. Duh.
Abby fights with her husband about the dance bills in front of Sammy. Abby interviews that she and Sammy are pretty and they have money so naturally people are jealous of them wherever they go. And… yep, I hate them, already.
We meet Mayra, Vic’s mom, who manages the studio. She is also a dance mom so she knows how to deal with these bitches.
They go into the studio where the kids line up. Vic tells them ominously that this is their home now. Angel warns that they are going to push them really hard and Vic says that he and Angel are proven quantities and if they are not winning it’s because the KIDS are doing something wrong.
Instead of a pyramid to manufacture drama, the Stars boys have a “list.”
They say that they will be the sole arbiters of the list and what they think is the only thing that matters – not what the judges think and certainly not what the moms think.
So based on this, Hannah is on the bottom because she needs to improve her technique. They tell Debi/Bob that Hannah needs more technique privates and more ballet privates. Bob is not happy.
Fourth on the list is Lucas. He needs more than flexibility tricks. Vic and Angel tell him that the stage is not a runway and being cute will only take him so far. Brigette, his mom, is… you guessed it – not happy. She calls the whole thing “farfetched.”
Hey, while we’re here, let’s meet Lucas.
Lucas is 9 and he dances 20-25 hours per week. He shows us his awards and they are many. Brigette says some of the moms think Lucas only wins so much because he’s a boy and he has no competition. She says when she first came into the studio it was like she was wearing a scarlet letter. She doesn’t say which letter though. She says the other moms think she’s a total bitch, but it’s “lonely at the top.” Hmm, why would they think you’re a bitch? You seem super cool to me.
Back to the studio and Kimmy is third on the list. She has great technique but has trouble remembering choreography. I can see how that might be a problem.
Sammy is number two. The guys admit that it’s a risk to put the new girl second but they’ve seen her compete and she’s good. She just needs to improve her artistry.
Jessi is number one. She interviews that she’s on top because she’s earned her stripes. Susan, her mom, says of course her daughter is on top because she’s the best. The other moms might not like it, but it’s the truth. You know how sometimes you meet someone and you immediately like them? This is the exact opposite of that.
This weekend, they will be competing at a Hollywood Vibe in south Florida. Vic and Angel say the kids need to win because they will be in their own backyard. That sounds vaguely Jabbyesque. Jessi will have solo because she was on top of the list. Since this is Sammy’s first time at the studio she will need to prove herself. Kimmi and Lucas are doing a duet in the Junior category and will be competing against 12-year-olds. Hannah has no special parts this week, but she vows to prove herself in the group number. The dance will be a Jazz Funk number that is edgy and pushes boundaries. Yeah, unless they’re doing a naked fan dance, I’m not too concerned about boundary pushing.
Angel rehearses the group and says he doesn’t believe them, that they don’t seem committed to the choreography. He says if they don’t capture the audience in 30 seconds, nobody is going to stay to watch them, they are going to go out and get a hot dog. Mmm, hot dogs.
In the mom’s lounge, new mom Abby asks what she needs to know about Vic and Angel. Bob says they work the dancers harder than Abby is probably used to. She interviews that Abby’s going to struggle at Stars because it’s very strict. She says their old studio was not strict at all. Abby says Hannah looks a lot “different” than before. Bob says Hannah’s been working hard. Meanwhile, Abby is saying that Sammy has been on top since she was six years old. She enumerates all the awards that Sammy has won.
Bob says that Hannah is an underdog who loves to dance.
Bob says Hannah has no natural
talent flexibility but she has passion. Bob says she’s way more competitive than her daughter. She also says Hannah has an “it” factor but she’s gearing her up to be a superstar. She’ll have a lot of satisfaction on the day that Hannah beats Sammy.
The dancers rehearse. Bob says the more she watches the group number the more ridiculous she thinks it is that Hannah can’t compete this weekend. She thinks the lack of a special part is because of Victor, with whom she has had issues in the past. Meanwhile, Vic is yelling at Hannah that her hair is a mess and that she must be “clean” and “professional.”
Slovenly girls don’t get solos
Bob pulls a Shrill from Pittsburgh Dance Moms and goes into rehearsal to bother Victor about Hannah’s lack of a special part and why Sammy is higher on the list than Hannah.
Victor says that Sammy has paid her dues as a dancer. Bob says she hasn’t paid dues at this studio. Victor says that this is the dance world and Hannah still needs to improve. He tells Bob that he is putting Hannah in the center of the routine, but she says nothing he says will help the situation. So Victor’s like, “then why am I talking to you?” and starts to walk away. Ha. He says to Bob that this isn’t the first time it will happen nor will it be the last. But Bob says it WILL be the last time!
Jessi rehearses her solo. Her mom, Susan, says Jessi is 14 and very competitive. Jessi says she wants to be the best. She also says, more or less, that her mom lives vicariously through her dancing.
We meet Susan’s mom Bertha, who was a dancer with the National Ballet of Colombia. She demonstrates by doing an Irish jig.
Susan interviews that she danced briefly as a kid, but her mom was never home so she couldn’t study it seriously. But she’s not bitter at all. Susan then says that Jessi gets her competitiveness from her. We see her making Jessi practice and she says, “If you’re going to waste my time, don’t do it.”
I love you and I love dance
Lucas and Kimmy rehearse their duet. They are doing a contemporary tango number and they have to connect and pretend to be a couple, which is only slightly creepy, considering they are both 9.
Now we meet Kimmy and her mom Ani.
I swear, doesn’t anyone in Miami spell their name the normal way? My spellcheck is going crazy. Kimmy says that dance inspires her and makes her feel free. She gets up at 4 am to finish homework and get ready for school and spend the day at dance. She says she is a perfectionist. Ani says that Kimmy has OCD because of her. She also says she has sacrificed a lot for dance and that she is the peacekeeper among the dance moms. So far, I don’t completely hate her, so that’s a plus.
Back in the studio, Lucas and Kimmy are practicing a move where Lucas has to flip Kimmy, but he keeps dropping her. Angel says they have no chemistry (maybe because they’re 9?) and instead of tango in Spain the number looks like country music in Alaska. Yeah, Juneau is known for its fiddlin’. Lucas says he thought he would get in big trouble because he kept dropping Kimmy. Kimmy says she’s not mad because she knows Lucas didn’t drop her on purpose. Victor says believes Kimmy and Lucas can pull off the number, but that Kimmy and Lucas need to believe it.
In the lounge, Susan is bitching that Jessi isn’t ready because she hasn’t had enough practice.
I can’t let her stop to pee because she won’t be ready to compete
Abby says Susan needs to take a Valium. Susan wants Jessi go run the number a few times under her tutelage. Jessi just sits on the couch glaring at her mom until Susan says “did I stutter?” Wow, she’s quite a piece of work. She makes Pittsburgh Melissa look nurturing.
Angel interviews that Susan’s “privates” are not helping and she just needs to go shopping or be with her husband. He adds that Jessi will be tired from practicing with her mom and by the time he gets her in the studio he won’t be able to correct her. Susan says she will never back off and says Jessi wins because “we” work hard.
Competition day. Abby is excited for the first competition at Stars. Angel says there is tough competition in Florida. Okay, I’m not typing that shit every week. Just assume that wherever they go it will be the toughest competition ever and they have to win or it will unleash the apocalypse.
They are on the bus, but Victor is super sick and throwing up.
He says he feels like his stomach is eating his back. Ew. No more half-price sushi. Susan, of course, complains because Victor usually helps Jessi stretch and gives her pep talks and now he has the nerve to be vomiting. Angel says “due to Victor’s pregnancy” he is throwing up. Ha ha.
Angel and Brigette really think that Victor should go to the hospital. I mean, who goes to the hospital for puking? Maybe if it’s been like three days or something. Bob and Mayra agree with me and say Victor just needs to rest. My guess is he has hangover. Sometimes even if you pace yourself those twelve glasses of Pinot just sneak up on you. He tries to sleep on the bus and there are very few things worse than being sick and having to ride on a bus.
At the venue, Angel says he’ll be taking over rehearsals because Victor is sick. He says all the moms with issues had better write them down, tell him on Monday or call Dr. Phil because he’s not having that shizz.
Meanwhile, Brigette is still trying to get Victor to go to the hospital. Mayra, studio manager and Vic’s mom, yells that he doesn’t need the hospital. He curls up on the floor next to a bottle of a Gatorade-ish drink, which to me, is further evidence of a hangover (the Gatorade, I mean).
Brigette and Mayra and now Susan are screaming about Victor going to the hospital and other sundry matters. Victor’s just like, “what the hell.” He says all he can hear is moms yelling about crazy shit and he thinks he’s in an insane asylum. All of sudden, Angel shows up with a wheelchair to take him out and they wheel him out to a car where he supposedly goes to the hospital.
I promise that’s the last time I mix tequila and Bailey’s
Abby interviews, more or less, that these bitches are crazy and out of control. Okay, maybe I’ll give Abby another chance to redeem herself from the “jealous” comment. She gets one more episode to prove herself.
Susan says all the yelling has screwed up Jessi’s focus. She says that Jessi gets very nervous before she goes on stage and this isn’t helping. Jessi confirms that she is nervous. She goes on for her solo.
I like her dance, but that costume is NOT flattering. Sorry, but it’s just not. Angel says the number was “phenomenal,” but Jessi cries because she didn’t do her best. She disappears and Susan says this is what she does when she knows she didn’t do her best. Susan finds Jessi sitting against a wall and crying.
Emo Jessi is emo
Okay, so we’re dealing with serious crazy here, not fun Candy Apple Cathy crazy. Sad horns.
All of a sudden, Victor is back and bopping around like nothing was ever wrong.
Who wants a beer?
Huh? He says he had a “virus” and took some drugs and now he’s miraculously fine. What did he take? Revive Vitamin Water and saltines work best for me when I have a “virus,” but even then I still have no energy. Do spill, Victor, do spill.
Lucas and Kimmy are about to go on for their pre-teen tango and Lucas hopes he doesn’t drop Kimmy. They dance and they are cute.
Victor gives them two thumbs up. Kimmy says that Lucas thinks they messed up, but she thinks they did well.
Time for the group number and Angel says not winning is not an option. The costumes are S&M creepy.
The ball gags were a little much
Angel says some of the dancers were a little off, but overall the number was good. Hannah says it’s the best she’s ever done.
Awards. Jessi comes in second. Susan cries again and says it breaks her heart. She says it’s because of all the last-minute stress brought upon them by other people. I’m sure this isn’t the first time I’ll say it, but: shut up, Susan.
The tango wins first place. Angel says it was great, but it wasn’t a tango. Okay. Alaska two-step then. He says that Lucas and Kimmy are great technical dancers. The group wins first place. Hannah gets the trophy but Jessi grabs it out her hand.
At first I thought she was joking around, but on second viewing, it looks kind of intentionally mean. Victor calls it “completely inappropriate” and “bad sportsmanship.”
At least Bob sends the kids out of the room before she loses her shit over it. Bob says it was horrible and Susan says, “oh, now I’m mean spirited and a psycho.” Hey if the jeggings fit… Angel calls the moms “animals.” Susan says she’s done and storms out. She is more and more like Melissa. Angel interviews that the moms are mental and neither their husbands nor God can control them.
Next week: Jessi is on the bottom of the list; Victor and Angel bicker: Brigette screeches.
Well. I don’t know that I am feeling DM Miami. I like Victor and Angel, but the moms so far are miserable harpies. As crazy as our Pittsburgh bitches were, there was a lightness about them. These people just seem mean and humorless. Maybe I’m just suffering from Jabby withdrawals. On the bright side, if I don’t like these people, it will be easier to make fun of them. So there’s that.
Also, there didn’t seem to be much going on but maybe that’s just because it was the “getting to know you episode.” I guess we’ll see what happens.
What did you guys think? Will this satisfy your Dance Moms craving until the real thing comes back?