Not many dance directors have the strength to voice an opposing opinion to one of reality television’s most feared characters, Dance Mom’s Abby Lee Miller. But Dance Tech Studios director Robin Lind had the opportunity and took it during an invite-only competition at Maple Grove High School on Jan. 12.
Forest Lake’s Dance Tech Studios (Dance Tech also has a studio in Pine City) was invited, along with just a handful of other programs, to compete against the Abby Lee Dance Company. The ALDC showcased the competition as part of an episode which aired on Tuesday, March 12 and featured the In10sity Dance Competition in Maple Grove.
During the first half of the segment in which Miller’s girls were preparing for the In10sity competition, Miller said the programs they would face in Minnesota were “some of the best studios in the entire country.”
Lind nearly didn’t attend, though, stating they were invited because their viewpoint on instruction is a 180-degree difference from the Dance Mom regime.
“The owner/instructor uses negative influences, ridiculing and meanness to get her dancer to perform and succeed,” Lind said. “We believe that using positive reinforcement, encouragement, building self-esteem and teamwork is what works for us.”
So when Miller’s girls won a cash prize, Lind asked Miller’s dancers if they got to keep the money— they said Miller keeps it all. Lind told Miller her girls keep their money, stating “the kids do the work, they should get the money,” prompting a displeased look and reaction from Miller.
Aside from what Lind dubbed a “funny” moment, she said the remaining reality crew was surprisingly friendly. Miller’s dancers and their mothers took pictures with their competition, and even expressed their fanhood of Lind’s daughter, Kourtni, who danced on Season Four of “So You Think You Can Dance” and is currently in the Broadway production “Spiderman.”
“I can now say I am very grateful that we attended the taping,” Lind said. “Not many studios can say they got to compete against the “Dance Mom” dancers— it was a great experience in every aspect.”
Lind said it was especially fun for her dancers to meet the reality television stars.
“I believe they all were a little star struck, and I had to remind them that they were just normal people like them,” Lind said. “Abby and the girls were very approachable and very nice. It was fun to chat with them.”
It was also a successful showing for Dance Tech Studios. Lind’s dancers performed 10 routines and took platinum or high gold in each routine, along with capturing the first high-point finish their production of “Sing, Sing, Sing.” Dance Tech was also named in the top-five studios and received an award for best choreography.
“I was so proud of how everyone danced, and how hard they worked to make this happen, and it paid off in their awards,” Lind said. “I feel very blessed to have received the top choreography award, as I consider many of those studios to be the very best in the state. And, many of them bring in fancy choreographers from New York City and Los Angeles, so for me that was a huge honor.”
The episode of Dance Moms featuring the Minnesota trip is a part of season three, episode 11, and can be found online at mylifetime.com.