So, by now you should know that Lifetime is launching in South Africa, and with it, a host of pretty awesome shows and content. In a coincidence that can only be described as magical, I was asked by Lifetime to share my love for Dance Moms.
My love for Dance Moms might seem strange to you, but that’s probably because either you’ve never watched an episode of Dance Moms, or because you don’t know me very well.
Here’s the backstory – I was “performer” as a kid. By that I mean that I did ballet, gymnastics, singing and played a few instruments too. This all started at around age 4/5. The gymnastics was hard, I had a Russian coach (terrible stereotype I know) and she was terrifying. My ballet coach was a nice woman, but demanded perfection from us. My music teachers, bar for 1 or 2, were all part of some underground musical militia, I hated music lessons. Hated.
I remember having panic attacks in music class, being pushed in gymnastics until I cried, and just generally feeling sick every time I had to answer to one of the many coaches or teachers I had. That is why Dance Moms resonates with me so much. This woman is the epitome of all of my horrifying coaches and teachers rolled into one. The little girls remind me of me…. well, some of them. I wish I could say I used to be a Maddie, but I was never the teachers pet really. I was more the Chloe. Constantly being made to feel like I was not trying hard enough or “didn’t want it” enough.
In all honesty, these young girls inspire me. They are stronger than I ever was. I gave up ballet and gym and music. All because of teachers. I was a coward and hated the way my stomach felt for the hours before classes. I hated the way I felt during class. I loved the relief of walking out of class… but then the cycle would start up again the very next day. As an adult, I wish I had stuck with it; I had a perfect ballet turnout, my double-jointedness meant that I didn’t have to spend hours trying to stretch myself out and make my hip flexors loose, etc.
Watching these episodes gives me something I can’t quite explain. In some ways it’s insight into what I was going through as a kid, and partially because I get to vicariously love through these kids. It’s reminded me that I truly did love to dance, but I let a few people spoil it for me. I shouldn’t have.
As i’ve mentioned before, Dance Moms starts out a little rough around the edges… maybe a bit too similar to Toddlers & Tiaras, but it falls into its own rhythm. The show changes throughout Season 1 and it’s Season 2 where things really start to turn up. These girls are worth getting to know, their stories are worth watching.
Tune in tonight! On DStv, channel 131 at 19:10 for the premiere!