Not to put too fine a point on it

April 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm (Uncategorized)

…but the exact moment Dance Moms lost all credibility to me was in Season 2, Episode 12, 28:55, when they showed a shot of a person who was identified as a scout from the Joffrey Ballet School.

ImageHave you seen Dance Moms? It’s horrifically exploitive show that follows the travails of a dance troupe from the midwest as they go from competition to competition, being screamed at by their abusive dance instructor. It’s reality TV at its best.  Capturing such awful moments of these girls’ lives on tape will only serve to help them one day, when they’re older and in therapy, and can just cue up the appropriate youtube video of them being humiliated, point to it and say to the therapist: See, that happened.

But once you start involving adults who are involved with legit institutions, it changes. Especially because, since when is this a ballet troupe? The girls on Dance Moms do back flips and dance around half-naked on stage, which is fine and all (I guess), but it seems a little unfair to suddenly have them vying against one another for a spot in a prestigious ballet school. I mean, we could take all the contestants on America’s Next Top Model and have them all take the LSATs and then laugh at them when they crash and burn, but that seems a little unnecessary. And also, since when is Joffrey so hard up for funds that they have to lower themselves to appearing on fucking Dance Moms? Ugh.

(Spoiler alert: Chloe gets the Joffrey scholarship, Abby cries a bunch and appears to go insane. And for the second time in a season – the first being when Intervention cast a bunch of seriously creepy new interventionists – I wonder if I’ve lost another one of my guilty pleasures forever. Also, Dance Moms Miami is a huge huge HUGE disappointment.)

I can only watch Dance Moms online, which means I have to wait until Saturday to see the new episode. Which is fine and all, but the sinking feeling all week that this show that I so enjoyed watching while I do craft projects had crashed and burned and everyone knew it but me while I sat in the dark waiting til Saturday, and it was more than I could bear. I found myself fixating on strange things, finally settling on: I need a loom.

I’ve been trying to embrace my inner fiber artist lately. It’s cool… I guess? Eyes on the prize: I’m going to make a killing on etsy. That means it’s cool.

I generally avoid other crafty (and especially yarn-y) women because things can get scary, quick, but I was in a yarn shop yesterday when some poor newbie knitter walked in and asked one of the women working there to help her. As always happens in yarn shops, the place fell silent as we all eavesdropped and prepared to judge her.

Newbie knitter: Hi, I need some yarn. I started a project and I ran out of the color I was knitting.

Employee: Ok, no problem. What number dye lot was it?

Newbie knitter: Wait… what? I don’t understand?

Entire fucking store: (all together now) SIGH!!!!!!!!!

Right, I know, but it gave me a sense of belonging and like maybe I’d finally made it into the Fibre Artistes Clubbe or something, and made me feel like maybe I do actually deserve to spring for a loom, at least as much as say, Chloe deserves to go to the Joffrey School.

Problem is, there’s a million kinds of looms and they start in price around $15 and go up to the thousands. Naturally, you want a cool one that costs thousands of dollars, but naturally also, I have neither space nor money for such a loom.

But seriously, how do you go down to something like this:

Childs Wooden Peg Loom

…once you know that somethin like this exists?


Well, I suppose I’m about to find out. Potholders for everyone!




  1. studiotau said,

    My 15 year old son is a ballet dancer, and as a result, we have been a part of the ballet summer intensive circuit for a number of years. (this summer hes attending the Houston Ballet – and we’re hoping he will be attending there year round as well)

    For many schools, summer intensives are a huge part of their annual fundraising. The programs pack in kids with varying degrees of ‘potential’ and happily take your tuition money. For some, its the only way they can stay running.

    I believe that at the ages Maddie and Chloe are, Joffrey accepts everyone who auditions. I can tell you that the auditions filmed on the show are an absolute farce. There are NO solos, and the whole audition is run like a regular 1 hour ballet class.

    The scholarship was likely a predetermined agreement between the show and Joffrey as a mutually beneficial PR campaign. One of Abbey’s kids was going to get it, and Joffrey gets a wider audience of hopeful ballerinas for their intensives. (there are several sites she could go to – and may even be slotted for the contemporary program, and not ballet)

    I hope Chloe attends (as I think it may conflict with high competition season) and enjoys the instruction she receives. I know that several people on the ballet boards I read are hoping she will switch pursuits and focus on ballet – dumping Abbey for good.

    I got long winded, but wanted to share some perspective from a sort-of insider.

  2. amywilson said,

    WOW! That is so interesting! I had no idea about your son – how great for him!!

    Perhaps you can help answer a Dance Moms question I’ve had since the beginning: Is it usual for classes of kids that age to have so many flips and cartwheels worked into their routines? I swear, half the time I’m watching, I don’t know if it’s Olympics tryouts or dance class. But maybe that has to do with their age? I just also wonder about the wear and tear on their bodies to be doing all that on a hard wood floor (gymnasts have such short careers; dancers too, but many years more than gymnasts). Anyway, any thoughts?

  3. studiotau said,

    We’re ginormously proud of our son, and love being able to support his passion. 🙂

    As to your question, we have never been a part of a competition school, so I can only answer based on what I’ve inferred from other dance moms I know.

    I do believe that “acro”, jazz, and all those other competition genres are a regular part of the scene. I don’t believe they go at the frenetic pace seen on the show, and most teams have one or two routines they focus on for each season. (performing the same ones at each contest) Likewise, they typically only go to a few competitions a year, and nationals – and stay rather close to home.

    I expect that, like the floors at the ballet studios, they are sprung systems that flex and absorb shock in order to prevent injury. (at least they SHOULD be) That said, the amount they work themselves, injury is always a part of the equation.

    As it happens, our son has two fractures in his ankle and a floating bone chip and we’re discussing the possibility of surgery. Its a scary business, and we’re hoping it won’t compromise his ability to continue dancing. It would be devastating, but that is always a risk in this profession.

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