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Series: Dance Moms
She makes stars, not friends.note 

"My world is with my girls,
living on the dancefloor!"

A Reality Television series on Lifetime started in August 2011 and currently in its fourth season. The show is about the mothers of daughters who are learning to dance. Its success inspired a short-lived Miami spin-off and a dance competition spin-off.

This is the current main cast.

This series provides examples of the following:

  • A Woman and Her Dog: Abby was very attached to her dog Broadway Baby, so when she died, it was nothing less than a tragedy for her.
  • The Ace: Maddie. She was unstoppable in season one, winning titles and trophies left and right and staying at the top of the pyramid for almost the entire season. She's gotten insane amounts of opportunities in the industry, she's considered to be Abby's favorite (no matter how many times Abby might object to this), and if anyone could be considered the most recognizable of the ALDC team, it's her.
    • Asia as well.
    • Sophia Lucia, in the brief time that she was on the team. And Abby made sure everyone knew it.
  • Action Mom: The dance moms can sometimes be this.
  • Adult Fear: See Darker and Edgier below.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: 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.
  • Almighty Mom: The trope to look under if you want to find the core of this show's insanity.
  • Alpha Bitch / Blondes are Evil: Cathy.
    • Christi has her moments, but it's either because of her snark or something that has triggered her to act this way.
  • Always Second Best: Chloe. Justified, since Maddie is constantly on the top of the pyramid and gets all of the solos. It's gotten to the point where Christi has accused Abby of giving Maddie unfair advantages to keep her on top.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Kalani and Kira definitely aren't white, but they're not exactly black ether...
  • Ambiguously Gay: In the spin-off series "Dance Moms: Miami", the dance instructors, Victor and Angel.
  • And I Must Scream: For most of "The Last Text", Paige is completely immobile, barely even blinking. She turns to have been dead the whole time at the end.
  • Arc Words: "The gang's all here" and "Chloe is beautiful", at least among fans of the show.
  • Badass Pacifist: Holly. Not once has she snapped or even swore, which is why she rarely gets into arguments with Abby.
  • Bare Your Midriff: 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.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Christi.
  • Bleep Dammit: During one of Jill's tirades, the censors decide to go for "God" instead of "damn".
  • Bloodier and Gorier: "The Last Text" makes the other darker dances look light-hearted for this reason.
  • Brainy Brunette: Most of the girls.
  • Break Them by Talking: Rarely does an episode go by without one of these by one of the moms.
  • Brick Joke: Christi's famous comment on a particularly provocative outfit ("they look like prostitots") comes back in the next season ("prostitots, the sequel").
  • Butt Monkey: Kendall, especially in season 3. She tends to get picked on by Abby a lot more than others.
    • Chloe, in a really heartbreaking example, considering she gets so much shit from Abby to the point where she and Christi left.
  • Call Back: Several contestants from "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" (something of a Spin-Off) have appeared on the show, and two of them actually joined Abby's team: Kalani Hiliker and Asia Monet Ray. Two others from "Abby's Ultimate" 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 replaced Robin Antin for season 2 of "Abby's Ultimate".
    • A rather epic example; for the 2012 nationals, Mackenzie performs a solo called "Killer Bee" that's a semi-replica of a solo that Vivi-Anne did back in season one called "Honeybee". While Vivi's dance didn't even place, Mackenzie's dance got first and won her the Petite Miss Energy title.
  • The Cameo: 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".
  • Canon Immigrant: Asia and Kalani both joined Abby's team after having been on ALDC.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Save the tears for your pillow!" (Abby)
    • "Everyone's replaceable!" (Abby)
    • "We came, we saw, we kicked apples." (Cathy)
  • Caustic Critic: Abby when reviewing the Candy Apples' performances, if not the lowlights of hers.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Kelly's certainly no slouch. Borders on Slasher Smile.
  • Child Popstar:
    • Brooke attempted to become this when she released her debut single, "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 ''MackZ''. The critical reception was less harsh than to Brooke's (don't get us wrong, there was still plenty of hate thrown around), but both had notable usage of autotune.
  • Christmas Special: There was one in 2013.
  • Confession Cam
  • Creepy Monotone: The "author" of Where Have All the Children Gone? and I See the Kite Flying.
  • Cross Over: Abby appeared in an episode of fellow Lifetime series Double Divas, a bra-fitting reality show where Buxom Is Better.
  • Darker and Edgier: Many of the dances are fun and cute, but Abby can veer into very dark territory that incorporates Adult Fear. Notable examples are:
    • Where Have All the Children Gone - A spoken word piece where the dancers disappear from stage one by one.
    • The Last Text - All but one of the dancers die in a car accident.
    • I See the Kite Flying - The sequel to Where Have All the Children Gone?. In the number, all the dancers are mental patients.
    • Runaways - A routine about children and guns in which one of the dancers is accidentally shot and killed.
    • 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.
    • Amber Alert - A routine based around child abduction, as the name implies.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Christi has it in her DNA.
    • Abby, from time to time.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The Hylands' expulsion following Kelly and Abby's infamous violent scuffle.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: If Abby's group dance placing tenth in "Abbygeddon" wasn't bad enough, Cathy's placed ninth.
    • There's one scenario in which Chloe and Maddie have competing solos, and Chloe wins at the award ceremony. However, it turned out that there was a scoring error from the judges, and Maddie truly won, much to Christi's annoyance and chagrin.
  • Downer Ending: Many episodes end with the girls failing to win the competition, but "Abbygeddon" cranked things Up to Eleven. 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".
  • Dropped A Bridge On Her: 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.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted with Chloe and Paige. All of the girls get straight A's in school.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: More of an Expelling Moment of Awesome; Kelly attacking Abby before she and her kids got expelled from the team.
  • Education Mama: Holly to Nia, since she's a school principal.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Abby got hers when she kicked Minister Dawn and Regan off the team and showed everyone that Abby Lee Miller was no one to mess with. This was in the series premiere, no less.
  • Even Bad Women Love Their Mamas: Abby had a very deep connection with her mother Maryen Lorrain Miller, who essentially sparked Abby's love for dance. Then she came down with cancer and died in season 4.
  • Evil Former Friend: Cathy used to be part of Abby's team, but she quit and founded her own studio. They've been worst enemies ever since.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: The "evil" part is debatable, but Abby's voice is very much raspy after a long time of straining it out. And the rasp is getting more and more glaring season after season.
  • Extreme Doormat: Melissa. She will do almost anything to stay in Abby's good favor.
  • Everyone Has Standards: After Kelly attacks Abby, Jill is quick to note that the umpteen arguments that have sparked in the past have never escalated to physical contact.
  • Face Palm: Maddie does one at the end of this video.
  • Fat Bastard: Leslie.
  • Flipping the Bird: Kelly gives out a couple of these on rare occasions, but her hand is blurred out.
  • Foregone Conclusion: When Abby's mom came down with cancer in season 4, it was heartrendingly evident that she wasn't going to get better any time soon. And sure enough, she eventually died.
  • Genre Savvy: Christi's snark gives her some decent savviness. She's even incorporated some tropes.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: In the case of "Black Swan", Maddie wears white as the good guy and Chloe wears black as the bad guy.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Even if she doesn't admit it, there's no doubt that Christi is envious that Maddie's always The Ace and Chloe is almost Always Second Best.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Chloe and Paige. Melissa as well.
  • Has Two Mommies: 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.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: When Maddie forgets her solo (starting at 1:37), you can hear a repeating sound similar to a heartbeat.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: ABBY.
  • Heroic BSOD: "Abbygeddon" was this for Maddie and Abby, if not the whole team.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Abby and her assistant Gianna.
  • Humble Hero: 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.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: 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 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.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: The girls' dance schedules have restrained them from doing normal things for girls their age, like hanging out with friends or going to parties.
  • Ill Girl: 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 Playing Sick below.)
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: The moms have a penchant for meeting up at bars or restaurants to down a glass of alcohol to vent themselves out.
  • Its Pronounced Tro PAY: Christy's name has sometimes been pronounced with "Christ" as in "Jesus Christ", alluding to her aggressive religious beliefs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Abby. But don't get us wrong, she can be a straight up-and-down Jerkass.
    • Most of the moms can also be embarrassing, insulting, and sometimes down right nasty, but they do love their kids.
  • Karma Houdini: Abby, in a more tragic real life example. She manages to get away with a lot of crap considering the footage is either edited out or manipulated to her advantage.
    • Averted with the Hylands' expulsion, in which she was unable to escape the mess and got into a lot of trouble herself.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: In season 4, Kelly and Abby's rivalry reaches an apex where Kelly ends up physically attacking her. And it's pretty damn awesome.
  • Lady Drunk: 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 fell forward over her eyes during her trio.
  • Large Ham: Abby.
  • Light Is Not Good: In "Where Have All the Children Gone?", all the girls wear white dresses.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Oh yeah.
  • Male Gaze: One of the cameramen does it. It's a Freeze-Frame Bonus, but not as hard to find. In one episode, the cameraman actually focuses the camera on Kelly's breasts for less than a second. The best part? No one seemed to notice.
  • Mama Bear: Any of the moms, whenever they feel like their child is insulted.
  • Manipulative Editing: According to the 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.
  • Mauve Shirt:
    • Ally Serigne (who got on the team via open auditions), who was on the show during season 3 for 37 episodes before leaving.
    • Sophia Lucia left after 19 episodes.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the "topless showgirls" episode, the girls show excitement when Abby tells them that they are going to be showgirls in the group dance...but then Abby tells them that they are going to be "naked" in the dance. Every bit of that excitement is killed immediately and replaced with shock.
  • Most Annoying Sound: In universe; the sound of Cathy's voice.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kristie Ray.
  • Nice Girls : The dancers.
  • One-Liner / Sarcasm Mode: Almost every word that comes out of Christi's mouth.
  • Only Sane Woman: Holly, especially in comparison to the other moms. She never snaps, and this in turn never gets her into arguments, but when she does argue she still manages to effortlessly keep herself under control.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Now that Brooke is getting older, she wants to be this.
  • Out of Focus: 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.
  • Piano Drop: Referenced by Christi when talking about how silent Cathy was when the ALDC and Candy Apples ran into one another.
  • Playing Sick: 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.
  • Product Placement: It's hard not to notice Abby's merchandise lying around the main office of the studio.
  • Put On The Bus: Jill put herself and Kendall on the bus in season two (they come back eventually).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Once an Episode, usually by the moms to Abby.
  • Red Shirt:
    • Regan Check (the daughter of Minister Dawn) never made it past the first episode.for context... 
    • Similarly, Chloe Nguyen (the daughter of Kim) was only on the show for a single episode (justified, as it was simply a "trial run").
  • Revolving Door Team: YES. Made even more heinous with the Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Running Gag: Arguments. Not a single episode goes by without one, and we mean not a SINGLE episode.
    • Jill's hair color changing from season to season.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The trope gets name-dropped by Christi in this video.
  • Sadist Teacher: 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 Villain Protagonist 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.
  • Sanity Slippage: Maddie shows excellently subtle hints of this in "The Last Text". Then again, if you were seeing what she was seeing, you'd be going crazy too.
  • Scare Chord: Whenever a dancer forgets her number or something equally bad occurs.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Abby likes reminding her dancers that second place is the first loser.
  • She's Back: Jill is fed up with the moms and Abby and decides to betray Abby by taking Kendall to Cathy's team; she then returns back to ALDC. All of this happened in one season.
    • Kelly eventually does the same too.
  • Shout-Out:
    • You might be able to notice an "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" poster in select episodes.
    • In season two, there was a dance with three girlsnote  and a cute vampire boy. Take a WILD guess what this is a shout-out to.
      • The dance is even called "Twilight", no less.
    • When the moms were having a sit-in for Kelly, Christi compares it to the T-rex scene from Jurassic Park.
    • Cathy once said "Whoville called, they want their nose back" to insult Christi.
    • In season two, there was a group dance called "The Huntress" inspired by The Hunger Games.
      • Chloe even lampshaded it...sort of.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: A pretty damn awesome one from Paige and Chloe.for context... 
  • Sixth Ranger: Kalani eventually joins the team in season 4.
  • The Smurfette Principle: 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.
  • Soap Box Sadie: Abby has expressed her political views in the choreography a few times.
  • Sole Survivor: During a group dance, a fake car crash occurs and after a matter of time kills everyone but—you guessed it—Maddie.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Holly. She's this trope in general, but she uses it prominently when she's arguing.
    • The most insulting thing she's ever called someone is "a monstrosity of evil". Make of that what you will.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: The moms' arguments are full of them.
  • Stage Mom: All the moms! Especially Cathy, who seems to have no realistic take on her daughter's ability (or lack thereof).
  • Straw Hypocrite: 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.
  • Take That: Abby has called out Honey Boo Boo mainly on her, ahem, physique. Abby's the last person you'd expect to judge someone on their weight.
  • Tears of Joy: Mackenzie's Christmas present really touched her.
  • Technician Versus Performer: 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.
  • Tempting Fate: When Paige keeps insisting that she shows everyone her back aerial, Abby finally obliges...only for Paige to break her foot on the landing.
  • The Scrappy: Christy, in universe, to the moms and Abby.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Chloe, known for being Abby's Butt Monkey for quite some time, single handedly provided the one win that they could take home with her solo in "Abbygeddon".
  • Token Evil Teammate: Cathy was originally part of Abby's team back when the show began, but she eventually disbanded and started her own dance studio. They've been bitter rivals ever since.
  • Token Minority: According to her mom, Nia.
    • Not so much anymore, because Asia has joined the team.
  • Toplessness from the Back: There's a particular shot in the infamous "topless showgirls" episode that displays Brooke and Paige shirtless from the back.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: 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 Kelly leaving the team. Again.
  • Tropes Are Not Bad: A handful of tropes have actually been referenced by some of the moms, ideally Christi.
  • The Unfavorite: In comparison to Maddie, Kenzie is.
    • And by team dynamics, this position is shared by everyone who isn't Maddie and now Mackenzie and Kalani.
  • Villain Protagonist: 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 Once an Episode, 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.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Most of the moms towards their kids.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Lucas. In just about every single episode, he wears no shirt during the competitions.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: All the girls have had their moments.
  • Weirdness Magnet: "What is it about me? Why do I attract all the crazy ones?" - Abby
  • Wham Episode: "Big Trouble in the Big Apple", where the Abby-Kelly rivalry reaches a violent apex that results in her, Brooke, and Paige being kicked off the ALDC roster permanently.
    • Up to Eleven: You thought that was bad? In January 2014 (a while after the episode's events, which were in November 2013), Abby filed a restraining order against Kelly. The next month, Kelly sued Abby's company for $5 million for reasons including emotional distress, defamation, assault, and breach of contract. Damn.
  • Wham Line: "You know why I don't speak to my mother? Because she's a fucking psychopath, like you!"
    • "I heard Abby."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "You've Been Unfriended" sees a level of jerkassery never before seen in Abby. To one of the dancers, no less. (Chloe, to be exact.)
  • What Were You Thinking?: 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: "Idiots."
    • Another example, to a lesser extent, is in season one when ALL of the dance moms (including Cathy) 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.
  • With Friends Like These...: All of the moms except Holly with one another.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Abby in more of a verbal sense, and even this is a tad debatable.
  • Youngest Child Wins: 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 Mc Kenzie, and she left the ALDC undefeated in her solos.

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alternative title(s): Dance Moms
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