Over a year ago, Lifetime introduced a new reality television show – Dance moms. With each drama filled episode, ratings blew up, as well as a handful of its viewers.
Despite the shows screaming moms and their young talented dancers, viewers took note of a different observation and began to recognize their lifelong coach as a mean-spirited, adult bully. Abby Lee Miller, who owns Abby Lee Dance Company, is never afraid to raise her voice and call students out. In fact, she’s been seen making 9-year old girls cry because they wore their hair down to class or simply because they came in second – or, in Abby Lee’s words were “the first loser.”
Although the majority of its viewers are teenagers who look forward to watching the girls dance every week, some are adults who claim to have stopped watching due to Abby Lee Miller’s behavior towards her students. But what some may see as “bullying” and “disrespect” towards the children, others see as strong discipline and coaching towards success.
In today society, children are often handed pity. From a young age, parents, teachers and even coaches subconsciously teach children that they have the world at their hands. We throw hugs at the sight of tears, dismiss their duties and give them praise for just “trying.” This may be acceptable for a parent to do (if even), but a coach is only doing a dishonor to a child by taking these actions.
Children are not naturally born with the desire to succeed, nor are they born with an immediate passion. Whether the child is on a soccer team, chess team or competes in an individual sport, it is the coaches job to create children that are ambitious and hard working at a young age. Being a “chill” coach may make you likeable by your students, but it will also create mediocre children. Children who give up easily, don’t put themselves to limits, and truly don’t care about pleasing anyone.
Coming from a competitive sport, there’s no doubt that the greatest feeling next to feeling proud of ourselves is having our coach proud of us. However, that doesn’t mean we need to give praise to a child so often. If you, as a coach, act proud of each and every thing your student does, your teaching them to be content with each mistake they make. Your teaching them how to NOT go beyond their limits.
It’s shocking to see how many coaches are too afraid to speak up to their students. The thought of making a child cry may be sickening to some, but it’s how they’ll build their backbone. It’s how they’ll handle life, often not so pretty. You know all of those teenagers who make bad decisions, are constantly heartbroken and do nothing but mope? That’s because no one taught them right from wrong as a child. It all start as a child.
Abby Lee Miller is creating children that can succeed in the future. It’s important to note that she has a long track record of students who have appeared in numerous Broadway shows, movies and even ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’
Aside from her strict coaching, Abby Lee Miller isn’t some gruesome, horrid human. In fact, she’s been caught hugging, motivating and spending quality time with her students quite often. The truth is, Abby is a successful coach because of her teaching methods. In fact, she says she’s gotten a lot of feedback from other dance teachers who love her for saying the things they can’t.
Those spunky, young passionate dancers we see on the show every Tuesday will grow into workable, successful and smart adults. That’s what Abby Lee Miller does, and that’s what every other coach should. In fact, there’s children out there wishing they had a coach who pushed them like Abby Lee Miller does. Enough of raising mediocre children who only give 90%. If coaches had more of a hard bone, maybe then they’d see their own students succeed just as Abby’s do.
You can catch Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” every Tuesday at 9.8c.
By Angelina Kostenko