It’s almost time for Nationals and the stress is palpable on Dance Moms this week. But at least everyone looked good: The moms and girls are pretty in pink, Nia’s hair is Afro-tastic and Vivi-Anne is wearing way too much makeup. The moms are in a tizzy when the competition runs 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Melissa instructs her 8-year-old daughter to “be a grownup,” and Cathy is even more annoying than usual (we didn’t think it was possible!) Poor Nia fell behind the pack in the group routine, but kept up her positive attitude: “Abby pushes me really hard, but I don’t mind because it makes me a better dancer,” she says.


The rest of these girls, however, are very sore losers—an issue that has popped up countless times on Dance Moms. First, Maddie cries backstage over Nia’s mistakes, saying, “We were terrible, I’m really embarrassed.” Then, the moms are visibly upset when the girls place second instead of first. Most studios would kill for a trophy like that! Abby Lee tells them before they go on to be happy when they come offstage no matter what, but they just don’t seem to hear her. Here are DT’s tips for making sure your competition team has a winning attitude, no matter what goes down on stage or where they place:


Choose competitions that are in line with your studio’s philosophy. Doing research ahead of time can help you find the event that best suits the abilities and goals of your team—and provides an environment that both challenges and nurtures them.


Don’t apply pressure to live up to your own legacy. While winning streaks can be an amazing feather in your studio’s cap, they can also add the weight of too-high expectations. Whether your team is defending a national title or coming off a first-place finish, it’s important to remind dancers that every competition is a clean slate.


Befriend your competitors. Losing to another team can be a lot easier to swallow if your dancers are truly happy for the winners. Many events have friend exchanges and opportunities to socialize with the other teams—take advantage of them!


Instill strong sportsmanship values. Rather than cultivating a “first place is best” mentality, encourage your dancers to be appreciative and accept their award graciously.


Be honest about your team’s prospects. When dancers come off the floor at competition, many of them seek reassurance and feedback from their teacher. Though it’s important to be encouraging, fostering unrealistic expectations may lead to disappointment.


Look on the bright side. After missing out on first place, provide your dancers with a reality check. Remind them that many others would be thankful to be in their position right now.


(Tips based on “Winning Attitudes” by Jen Jones) 


And the quote of the week comes from Ms. Abby Lee Miller herself:

“That minister Dawn needs a bible refresher course—thou shall not lie, thou shall not steal, and thou shall not disrespect Abby.”


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