Today was a very exciting day. Being a Dance Moms fan since March 2012, I watch my favourite dancers and moms every week being filmed at the Abby Lee Dance Company. I never thought i’d have the opportunity to visit the studio, and today that wish came true!
We’re staying overnight in Pittsburgh tonight, so our plan had originally been to visit the studio in the morning. We realized that the studio isn’t open in the mornings (or on Mondays- if you’re planning to visit the studio make sure it’s not a Monday!), so we went this evening. We arrived at the studio around 7:15, and luckily we were allowed in! I had the chance to meet Jennine Wedge, Rachael Thoma and Nina Linhart! Jennine told us that we had just missed the moms, girls and Abby as they had been filming all day. At first this was very disappointing, as I was hoping to at least see someone from the show. Then we were told that had they been filming, we wouldn’t have been allowed in the studio. So I guess while it was upsetting not to see any ‘regulars’ on the show, it ended up working out because we were able to walk around the studio.
The first thing we did was head into the Shoppe to buy some ALDC merchandise! I bought a pink shirt that on the front was the cover of the ALDC Goes Hollywood recital book (so literally the cover picture is on my shirt), as well as a ‘Save Your Tears For Your Pillow’ pillowcase (and one for my friend for her birthday- but shh, it’s a surprise!). We had the opportunity to talk with the woman selling the merchandise, who told us that the show is filmed pretty much everyday. The studio really isn’t that big, so it must be difficult for other dancers at the studio to manoeuvre through with all the cameramen.
We then went through the ‘Behind This Door Lies the Future of Dance’ door and upstairs to the Mom Loft. It was very cool! The only rule that they had was that you aren’t allowed to take pictures of the dancers in the studios (which wasn’t a problem, we have to respect their privacy which I completely agree with). So when the studio where they film the show was empty, I snapped a picture. There were other moms sitting in the loft playing on iPads, reading magazines and just watching their kids dancing. Knowing that they filmed earlier where I sat today was cool :)
We went back downstairs and got pictures with Nina and Jennine, and then we actually spoke to them for a few minutes. The first thing I asked was about John Corella, and if him and Abby have a little thing going on ;) Jennine started laughing and shrugged her shoulders; I guess she can’t really give out that information but it looks promising! My mom then brought up the scandal about Kelly and her blowup at the ALDC Recital Rehearsal. I continued to explain the video to Jennine and Nina who were smiling, laughing and nodding. So I think I may have a new theory on the whole video. Part of me thinks that the producers told someone in the studio (a dancer or faculty) to film a staged meltdown in order to have fans wondering what will happen next. If you watch the video of Kelly’s meltdown, she looks at the audience (she’s on the stage) quite a lot, especially when she screams that the show is scripted and that Maddie is being forced to volunteer to do a solo. So i’m thinking that someone at the studio filmed that, either because they were asked to by producers or they just filmed it for fun. Again, I have NO IDEA what the truth of it is, these are just guesses :)
I wish I could tell you the best days and times to visit the studio, but because of filming (they’re in filming season right now so their schedules are crazy and unpredictable) it’s hard to say. I know the studio doesn’t open until about 4, so i’d say the best time to be there is maybe in between 5:30-7:30. There is a very good chance that they will not let you into the studio, which is sad however is the reality of the situation. We drove from Toronto to Pittsburgh (which is a 5.5 hour drive) knowing that there was a greater chance of us being turned down then being let in. The chances are greater if you get there in the early evening. You can try messaging Abby or another faculty member, but the filming schedules are so unpredictable that they probably won’t even know until the day of.
I would definitely recommend visiting the studio, it really was a magical moment for me, and I have to admit I did tear up a few times! You won’t know if you’ll be allowed in until you’re there, so you need to be willing to take the risk of getting there and being turned down. Take the risk, it’s worth it! :)
Until next time #Dancemomenators!