By Lana, Maya & Zoe Soskin
Updated February 03, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: Lifetime
  • TV Show

This episode was important for 2 reasons:

  1. This was the episode my kids and I visited the set.
  2. We realized just how important Abby is.

Early November, my daughters and I flew to L.A. to visit the set of Dance Moms. Three days prior, we were told that Abby was going to be in Pittsburgh dealing with her legal troubles and wouldn’t be in L.A. for our visit. We were also told that the set visit would no longer be at Abby’s studio but at the 3rd Street Dance studio in Hollywood. Truth be told, my girls were relieved Abby wasn’t going to be there because they were “afraid of her” and were more excited to meet the girls and the moms. I, on the other hand, was not looking forward to meeting the moms at all. If you’ve watched any of the episodes (especially lately), the moms have been pretty mean. Melissa snaps at Holly. Holly snaps at Jill. Jill snaps at Ashlee and Ashlee is constantly snapping at EVERYONE.

But when we got there, the moms greeted us first and couldn’t have been nicer. The first person to approach us was Melissa. I blanked on her name and introduced her to my daughters as “Maddie’s mom.” She quickly corrected me “and Mackenzie’s.” Yikes! At first, I thought she was being dramatic but if some stranger left out one of my daughters names, I would have done the same thing. However, she continued to be nice, offered my daughters treats, and took us all back into the dance studio to meet the girls. On our way back we met the other moms — Jess, Holly, and Jill — who were all equally friendly. They were very chatty, made us feel comfortable and offered to take pictures.

Credit: Lana LoRusso. Pictured (L-R): Holly Hatcher-Frazier, Maya Soskin, Jessalyn Siwa, Melissa Ziegler, and Zoe Soskin

They then introduced us to the original older girls — JoJo, Nia, Mackenzie, Kendall, and Kalani (Maddie was filming a movie). The girls were friendly, but quiet at first. They took some pictures with us and introduced us to the minis. They then asked us if we wanted to watch them rehearse. Of course we did! My girls whispered to me, “As long as we don’t have to be on camera.” Here I’m thinking, “This could be our shot!” but my girls wanted nothing to do with that. They were just happy to be there — Life Lesson No. 237 taught to me by my children, through Dance Moms.

Credit: Lana LoRusso. Pictured (L-R): Nia Frazier, JoJo Siwa, Maya Soskin, Kendall Vartes, Zoe Soskin, Kalani Hilliker, and Mackenzie Ziegler

We went into another room with all the older girls, the minis and Nakul Dev Mahajan (So You Think You Can Dance), and watched them practice the dance you saw them perform this week. The longer we sat there watching them, the more the girls felt at ease. JoJo, Kendall, and Kalani kept coming up to my daughters, asking them all sorts of questions, encouraging them to dance and just making them feel comfortable. They were friendly, sweet, down-to-earth girls. I was surprised. I had thought they would be standoffish and snobby, instead they were polite and sweet. Just like I thought the moms would be rude and obnoxious, they were welcoming and warm. I guess this raises the question: Are all reality stars nicer in reality than they seem on TV? Also: Is Abby secretly a wonderful person? Or do I just have a problem and pre-judge people regularly (could this be lesson No. 238?) Speaking of Abby, this brings me to the second reason this episode was important: Abby wasn’t in it.

WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television, and music.

This episode made me realize how important Abby is. Without her, the episode started to get old. Jill and Jessalyn fought with Ashlee — again. Ashlee complained how her kid was the best and the other girls were not as good as Brynn — again. The mini moms Tiffanie and Kerri attacked each other — again. The original moms tried to manage the mini mom, but they couldn’t even manage themselves. It seemed to keep going in circles. Something was missing. Abby.

As my daughter Maya said, “She brings the drama and she stops the drama. Without her, it’s the same stuff, over and over.” Luckily for us, she is back next week.

Dance Moms

  • TV Show
  • In Season