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A RealityTelevision series on Creator/{{Lifetime}} started in August 2011. The show is about the mothers of daughters who are learning to dance. Its success inspired a short-lived Miami spin-off and [[Series/AbbysUltimateDanceCompetition a dance competition spin-off]].

This is the current cast.
** [[BlackBestFriend Nia]] → [[OnlySaneMan Holly]]
** [[ButtMonkey Kendall]] → [[MotorMouth Jill]]
** [[TheAce Maddie]], [[CheerfulChild Mackenzie]] - [[ExtremeDoormat Melissa]]
** [[AlwaysSecondBest Chloe]] → [[DeadpanSnarker Christi]]
** [[SixthRanger Kalani]] → [[MsFanservice Kira]]

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!!This series provides examples of the following:

* [[ABoyAndHisX A Woman and Her Dog]]: Abby was very attached to her dog Broadway Baby, so [[spoiler:when she died, it was nothing less than a tragedy for her.]]
* TheAce: Maddie. She was [[InvincibleHero unstoppable]] in season one, winning titles and trophies left and right and staying at the top of the pyramid for almost the entire season. From season two onward, [[RealityEnsues Reality Ensued]] and things started falling apart for her, but she still holds a great legacy.
** Asia as well.
* ActionMom: The dance moms can sometimes be this.
* AdultFear: See DarkerAndEdgier below.
* AgeInappropriateDress: As mentioned in an episode where the girls received NO awards for their 'barely-there' costumes.
** Arguably the outfits the girls wear to practice in as well - most of the time, they wear crop-tops and booty shorts. In the spin-off series, the girl who wears the shortest top is the oldest girl, Jessie, even though she's technically the only one of the group (except maybe Sammi) who actually needs to wear a shirt...
** And what about the infamous "topless showgirls" dance? The clothing was picked out to give the effect that they were naked. Unsurprisingly, the episode is unavailable online and perhaps even on DVD.
* AlmightyMom: The trope to look under if you want to find the core of this show's insanity.
* AlphaBitch[=/=]BlondesAreEvil: Cathy. Christi has her moments.
* AlwaysSecondBest: Again, according to her mom, Chloe. Justified. Maddie is constantly on the top of the pyramid and gets all of the solos. Its gotten to the point where Christi has accused Abby of giving Maddie unfair advantages to keep her on top.
* AmbiguouslyBrown: Kalani and Kira definitely aren't white, but they're not exactly black ether...
* AmbiguouslyGay: In the spin-off series "Dance Moms: Miami", the dance instructors, Victor and Angel.
* BadassPacifist: Holly. Not once has she snapped or even swore, which is why she rarely gets into arguments with Abby.
* BareYourMidriff: Practicing or at competition all the girls have their midriffs showing.
** To be fair, a lot of studios require similar outfits. It's very hard to move when you're in restricting clothing that isn't stretchy enough, plus this way you can get more of an idea of what you're doing wrong, like if your stomach isn't pulled in.
* BewareTheSillyOnes: Christi.
* BleepDammit: During one of Jill's tirades, the censors decide to go for "God" instead of "damn".
* BrainyBrunette: Most of the girls.
* BreakThemByTalking: Rarely does an episode go by without one of these by one of the moms.
* BrickJoke: Christi's famous comment on a particularly provocative outfit ("they look like prostitots") comes back in the next season ("prostitots, the sequel").
* ButtMonkey: Kendall, especially in season 3. She tends to get picked on by Abby a lot more than others.
* CallBack: Several contestants from "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" (something of a {{Spin Off}}) have appeared on the show, and two of them [[spoiler:actually joined Abby's team: Kalani Hiliker and Asia Monet Ray]]. Two others from "Abby's Ultimate" [[spoiler:joined Cathy's team]], as did one of the kids from ''Dance Moms: Miami'' and one of the girls who guested on Abby's team.
** Rachelle Rak also showed up in a few episodes, and subsequently [[spoiler:replaced Robin Antin for season 2 of "Abby's Ultimate"]].
* TheCameo: Maddie was the sole winner of a series of auditions to have an appearance (albeit a small one) on {{Drop Dead Diva}}. Bonus points for said show airing on the same channel. Her fellow teammates made a cameo in a short video starring "the Pyramid".
* CanonImmigrant: [[spoiler:Asia and Kalani both joined Abby's team after having been on ''ALDC''.]]
* CatchPhrase:
** "Save the tears for your pillow!" (Abby)
** "Everyone's replaceable!" (Abby)
** "We came, we saw, we kicked apples." (Cathy)
* CausticCritic: Abby when reviewing the Candy Apples' performances, if not the lowlights of hers.
* ChildPopstar:
** Brooke attempted to become this when she released her [[OneHitWonder debut single]], "[[https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/brooke-hyland/id686163892 Summer Love Song]]". She released an entire {{Self-Titled Album}} one year later.
** Mackenzie also attempted this in season 4 when she released an album called [[https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mack-z/id867630532 ''MackZ'']]. The critical reception to Mackenzie's song was less harsh than to Brooke's, but both had notable usage of {{autotune}}.
* CrossOver: Abby appeared in an episode of fellow Creator/{{Lifetime}} series ''Double Divas'', a bra-fitting reality show where BuxomIsBetter.
** To a lesser extent, Lucas from ''Dance Moms: Miami'' makes a cameo in an episode when his solo places second. Guess who wins?
* [[DanceBattler Dance Battle]]: Asia and Kristie have a short dance battle before the award ceremony; Kristie wins by a landslide.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Many of the dances are fun and cute, but Abby can veer into very dark territory that incorporates AdultFear. Notable examples are:
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erd4BGOm488 Where Have All the Children Gone]] - A spoken word piece where the dancers disappear from stage one by one.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PprpB-iwW3U The Last Text]] - All but one of the dancers ''die'' in a car accident.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05CyZ3S3MfI I See the Kite Flying]] - The sequel to ''Where Have All the Children Gone?''. In the number, all the dancers are [[TheMentallyDisturbed mental patients]].
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkwUYU2cMQ4 Runaways]] - A routine about children and guns in which one of the dancers is accidentally shot and killed.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOqhmlEKLL4 Disappear]] - A solo that Maddie performed when she was just 8 years old in which an abused little girl commits suicide by drowning herself in a river.
* DeadpanSnarker: Christi.
* DownerEnding: Many episodes end with the girls failing to win the competition, but "Abbygeddon" cranked things UpToEleven. [[spoiler:Their group lost to Cathy, and Maddie ran off stage mid-solo. They only get one win.]]
** Some of the stories of the performances end on sour notes as well. Examples include "Runaways", "Disappear", and "The Last Text".
* DroppedABridgeOnHer: There are tons of dance moms and dancers who leave ALDC and are never seen again. Minister Dawn and Jackie are the two big examples, and Leslie is an on/off member.
* DumbBlonde: Averted with Chloe and Paige. All of the girls get straight A's in school.
* EducationMama: Holly to Nia, since she's a school principal.
* EvilFormerFriend: Cathy used to be part of Abby's team, but she quit and founded her own studio. They've been [[ArchEnemy worst enemies]] ever since.
* ExtremeDoormat: Melissa. She will do almost anything to stay in Abby's good favor.
* FatBastard: Leslie.
* FlippingTheBird: Kelly gives out a couple of these on rare occasions, but her hand is blurred out.
* GreenEyedMonster: Even if she doesn't admit it, there's no doubt that Christi is envious that Maddie's always TheAce and Chloe is almost AlwaysSecondBest.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Chloe and Paige. Melissa as well.
* HasTwoMommies: Possibly Kimmy. In the episode where she has to be a "bad girl," it sounds like Angel asks her, "Have you ever talked back to your moms?" It's unclear if he actually said "moms" or if the accent just made him sound like he said it, though.
* HumbleHero: Maddie. She's rarely not at the top of the pyramid, she's won crowns and trophies alike, but she consists of staying modest and not letting her success get to her head.
** In one {{Crowning Moment of Heartwarming}}, she dedicated a solo to a girl who was inspired by her, and even gave her trophy to said girl.
* HypocriticalHeartwarming: All of the moms and Abby are known to criticize one another and the girls but when someone outside the group does it they will all rally and defend one another. In one noticeable example [[spoiler:a mother at an open call audition criticizes Paige's a la seconde turns. Abby immediately gets angry and Christi hits the point home by telling the mother "Abby can talk about her dancers but no one else can.]]
* IllGirl: Vivi, apparently. In a season 3 episode, Christi says that Vivi is "always sick".
** Nia might also be an example, as she has a medical condition (something affecting the bones in her feet). In the Mother's Day special, it was revealed that she was actually in the hospital for some time over the summer, and was in a wheelchair for a while afterward.
** Mackenzie apparently has extra bones in one of her feet, making it painful for her to dance, though how painful it is seems to be up for debate. (See PlayingSick below.)
* INeedAFreakingDrink: The moms have a penchant for meeting up at bars or restaurants to down a glass of alcohol to vent themselves out.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Abby. Most of the moms can also be [[AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents embarrassing]], insulting, and sometimes down right nasty, but they do love their kids.
* LadyDrunk: Both Christi and Kelly seem to enjoy their alcohol. For example, in the very first episode, they both went out to a bar, and Chloe's headpiece [[LaserGuidedKarma fell forward over her eyes during her trio]].
* MaleGaze: [[CrowningMomentOfFunny The hilarity is evident]] when ''one of the cameramen'' does it. It's a FreezeFrameBonus, but not as hard to find. In one episode, the cameraman actually focuses the camera on [[DistractedByTheSexy Kelly's breasts]] for less than a second. The best part? No one seemed to notice. And we can all assume as the camera rose, [[SomethingElseAlsoRises something else rose, too]].
* MamaBear: Any of the moms, whenever they feel like their child is insulted.
* ManipulativeEditing: According to the [[http://www.wetpaint.com/so-you-think-you-can-dance/articles/prestigious-dance-competition-says-no-to-dance-moms-abby-lee-miller Star Quest dance competition]], the show edited the competition to give the impression that certain acts were competing against each other when they weren't, and also edited the award announcements to make certain acts place higher or lower than they actually did.
* [[YearInsideHourOutside Month Inside, Week Outside]]: Also, all of the episodes were filmed in advance and take place at least a month beforehand. On one occasion, one episode featuring Abby's dog Broadway Baby was released around the time [[spoiler:Broadway Baby died.]] Cue confusion.
* MsFanservice: Kristie Ray.
* [[NiceGuy Nice Girls]] : The dancers.
* OneLiner / SarcasmMode: Almost every word that comes out of Christi's mouth.
* [[OnlySaneMan Only Sane Woman]]: Holly, '''''and how!'''''
* OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent: Now that Brooke is getting older, she wants to be this.
* OutOfFocus: As of season 3, Paige, Nia, and Brooke are all this (though Brooke doesn't seem to mind). Chloe was for a little while, but now she is back in Abby's good graces.
* {{Parody}}: The show received one from Creator/VH1. Abby became a [[FatSlob behemoth]] who trains Nia, Maddie, and Chloe by [[HopeCrusher crushing their spirits]] demeaning line after demeaning line. She favors Maddie the most and doesn't care much for her other students. Nia spent most of the parody inside a barrel [[VulgarHumor full of dog poop "and failure"]], and Chloe was presumably crushed by Abby.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Abby and her assistant Gianna. In a DanceOn video, it was revealed that she was once part of the ALDC team way back when.
* PlayingSick: It is strongly suspected that Mackenzie faked her injured foot, or at least played up how much it was hurting, so she could avoid competing against Asia.
* ProductPlacement: It's hard not to notice Abby's merchandise lying around the main office of the studio.
* PutOnTheBus: [[spoiler:Jill put ''herself'' and Kendall on the bus in season two ([[TheBusCameBack they come back eventually]]).]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: OnceAnEpisode, usually by the moms to Abby.
* RecurringElement: Arguments. Not one episode is complete without a big argument between the moms. The only exceptions are probably a few of the show's specials.
** Many of the girls' solos end with a signature sashay off-stage.
* SadistTeacher: Abby is strict, but mostly reserves her screaming for the mothers, and isn't in fact especially harsh as dance (gymnastics, skating, etc) coaches go. The mothers, on the other hand, tend to overreact just a bit to any implication their daughter is not a star....
** Of course, some of her VillainProtagonist actions (as written below) definitely show this. She yells at Chloe and Nia for choking on their routines, but as soon as Maddie forgets her routine, Abby runs out of the room crying.
* ScareChord: Whenever a dancer forgets her number or something equally bad occurs.
* SecondPlaceIsForLosers: Abby likes reminding her dancers that second place is the first loser.
* [[HesBack She's Back]]: Jill is fed up with the moms and Abby and decides to [[spoiler:betray Abby by taking Kendall to Cathy's team; she then returns back to ALDC.]] All of this happened in one season.
** [[spoiler:Kelly eventually does the same too.]]
* ShoutOut: You might be able to notice an "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" poster in select episodes.
* SixthRanger: [[spoiler:Kalani eventually joins the team in season 4.]]
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Inverted. Justice (in the original series) and Lucas (in the spin-off series) are both treated as "special" because they are both male competitive dancers.
** In season 3, Cathy replaces her team with a new team, made entirely of males. (Though in episode 18, she does use a girl, however briefly). So far, they have gone against Abby's girls four times, and won against them three of those times.
* SoapBoxSadie: Abby has expressed her political views in the choreography a few times.
* SoleSurvivor: During a group dance, a fake car crash occurs and after a matter of time kills everyone but--you guessed it--Maddie.
* SoundEffectBleep: The moms' arguments are full of them.
* StageMom: All the moms! Especially Cathy, who seems to have no realistic take on her daughter's ability (or lack thereof.)
* StrawHypocrite: Prior to season four, Abby regularly bashed Cathy for not training her own dancers, but bringing in outside dancers from other studios and "slapping her logo on them." Cut to Abby recruiting Asia and Kalani from AUDC and bragging about their talents. She also recruited Sophia Lucia, who was already relatively well known in the dance world before Dance Moms even began airing.
* TechnicianVersusPerformer: Possibly between Maddie and Chloe. Chloe is often seen as superior technically, but Maddie tends to get more solos because she is able to use her face (a.k.a, perform) better onstage. Also can be seen in the case of Nia and Mackenzie - neither one is the best in the group, but it's obvious that they both love dancing. Averted with Brooke - she's one of the strongest technically, but her lack of expression is what keeps her from getting solos often.
* TemptingFate: When Paige keeps insisting that she shows everyone her back aerial, Abby finally obliges...only for Paige to break her foot on the landing.
** SickeningCrunch: And you get to hear it. And it's quite loud.
* TokenMinority: According to her mom, Nia.
** Not so much anymore, because Asia has joined the team.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: At the end of the season three recap, a "trailer" showing what's to come in the season is shown, revealing tons of seemingly important parts of the plot, including [[spoiler:Kelly leaving the team. Again.]]
* TheUnfavorite: In comparison to Maddie, Kenzie is. And by team dynamics, this position is shared by everyone who isn't Maddie and now [[spoiler:Mackenzie and Kalani.]]
* TryingNotToCry: Abby when talking about [[spoiler:the passing of Broadway Baby.]]
* VillainProtagonist: Abby, at times. For instance, when she pulls out all of Maddie's recent crowns (there are a lot of them), and shows them to the other girls. Of course, seeing as Maddie gets a solo virtually OnceAnEpisode, and the other girls are lucky to get one a month, it becomes insulting. Melissa then comes down, and Abby brutally insults her and the moms for not wanting the girls to get big-headed.
* WackyParentSeriousChild: Most of the moms towards their kids.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: Lucas. In just about every single episode, he wears no shirt during the competitions.
* WardrobeMalfunction: All the girls have had their moments.
* WhatWereYouThinking: When Jill takes the stage in a tango, Christi and Melissa show up to present her with a crown and a bouquet. Abby doesn't take the situation very lightly, as she describes her feelings for the situation in one word: "[[WhatAnIdiot Idiots]]."
** Another example, to a lesser extent, is in season one when ALL of the dance moms (including Cathy) [[CrowningMomentOfFunny take the stage with a dance number]], and Cathy decides to give herself an on-the-spot solo part. Abby also doesn't take it too lightly from backstage.
* WithFriendsLikeThese: All of the moms except [[OnlySaneMan Holly]] with one another.
* YoungestChildWins: The Ziegler girls: Mackenzie and Maddie While the older sister, Maddie is one of the youngest girls on the team and tends to take home 1st while Mackenzie is the youngest and wins quite often as well. Also, Asia was younger than McKenzie, and she left the ALDC undefeated in her solos.
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