Dance Moms reminds me of my own unusual dance teacher

In case you've never had the pleasure of seeing the greatest worst show on television - Dance Moms - let me sum it up.  Dance teacher Abby Lee Miller screams like an animal at the quite talented bunch of little dancers, calling them 'trash' and 'not that swift,' among other insults. And, the quite talented little bunch of dancers' moms fight with Abby and each other, getting into shoving matches and telling each other to 'Bring it on.'

In a nutshell, it's amazing.  (And by amazing, I mean I'm utterly amazed.)

And, it brought back memories of my own ballet, tap and jazz days and my teacher who we'll call Miss Lorraine.

While Miss Lorraine did have a heart of gold -

9 year old Me, pointing to a print hanging on the wall of a pointe shoe balancing on an egg:  I love that.

Miss Lorraine, taking print off the wall:  It's yours.

she also had what I now realize as an adult to be a serious lack of judgment.

I'm not talking about her frosted hair or her extremely long nails or dark eyeshadow (This was New Jersey, after all.  To 9 year old Jersey girls, those were the traits of the truly gorgeous.  We all wanted 'tips' ... for nails!).

But, her costume choices, for instance, were the epitome of unfortunate.  I had a "Pink Panther" costume that was comprised of a pink satin bonnet and some contraption with a tail.

And, her dance number choices were even worse.  My not much older cousin danced to "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."  ... I swear!

And then there was the issue of the lease.  The lease.  What's a lease? I wondered.  Well, I learned when your landlord terminates it in the middle of the year, Miss Lorraine has to scramble to find a new dance studio so that she can continue operating her business and put on the annual recital in June.

It also means Miss Lorraine lets you destroy the walls with marker and paint.


I got to class one day and noticed the walls that weren't mirrored were scribbled on, full of graffiti.  Not artistically so, but clearly the work of children ... children with a vengeance.

That's when I learned the meaning of a lease
And that my mother had to call during the week to find out where the new location would be.

Then, before class ended, I raised my hand.  "Can we write on the walls too?"  I wasn't going to miss out on that!

This is awesome! When will I have another opportunity to mark up a wall? This is funnnnnnnnn, as I dragged black marker on the white wall from one end of the room to another. I believe I also wrote a message to the landlord, like some of the other girls did. I think I wrote "You're a jerk."  (My vocabulary has gotten more colorful since then.)

Someone who did not think it sounded like so much fun: My mother.  And my father.

Later that day, I learned I would not be returning to the new location of Miss Lorraine's School of Dance (and Destruction).

I thought of this recently and, in the spirit of Roses, today I am grateful ~
1/ that at least Miss Lorraine never called me trash, a la Abby Lee
2/ that my mother never got into a shoving match with any of the other mothers, a la Dance Moms
3/ that I've never again disparaged another's property no matter how much fun it could be or allowed young impressionable kids to do the same, a la Miss Lorraine.

BUT ... would Abby Lee Miller ever take a print off the wall and carry it to her student's mother's car?  In the 'pyramid' (you have to watch the show) of dance teachers and life, I'd say Miss Lorraine is still higher than the vicious Abby Lee.

Thank you for reading Stop and Blog the Roses.  Follow me on Twitter @FernRonay and on Facebook here.

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