I knew it wasn’t actually over: Dance Moms is truly the unwanted gift that keeps on giving. Not long after Abby Lee Miller announced that she was quitting the show — which we’d been led to believe was over anyway, mind you — sites all over the internet started reporting on her replacement. Logically, one might assume that someone like Erin Babbs or even (God, help us) Cathy Nesbitt-Stein might take over after Abby’s Dance Moms departure. I mean, Erin worked with the ALDC the last time they dumped Abby. Cathy’s always poaching other studios’ dancers. Why not ask one of them to steer the sinking Dance Moms ship away from the massive cancellation iceberg?
Here’s why not: Cheryl Burke is replacing Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms. And I am so confused.
If Cheryl Burke sounds familiar, but you can’t quite place her in a Dance Moms context, it’s because she is…but you shouldn’t. As far as the reality tv viewing audience is considered, Burke is best known as one of the Dancing with the Stars professionals. She also appeared on I Can Do That!, whatever that was. Here’s the thing, though: none of this exactly screams “new Dance Moms coach.” Yes, Cheryl has a dance background. Yes, she even ran her own studio up until it closed. But here’s the thing: The type of choreography and styles of dance highlighted on Dance Moms are not remotely compatible with the DWTS fare; nor is running a ballroom studio the same as managing a competition team.
Burke studied ballet until she was 10 when, according to her website, “she discovered what would be her winning talent, ballroom dancing, and decided to hang up her ballet shoes to begin training in both Standard and Latin ballroom dancing.” Good news for Dance Moms: Cheryl Burke has at least a 10-year-old’s understanding of ballet technique. Maybe some of those dancers will finally learn how to pull up! Maybe they’ll even learn how to stretch their feet! Imagine!
But no, dance isn’t just dance. I’m not saying Burke is incapable of providing anything of value to the young girls (formerly?) of the ALDC, but if they have any aspirations to keep training in the typical ballet/tap/jazz/lyrical/hip hop/etc. world? Why would Dance Moms bring in a ballroom expert to replace someone who, regardless of her (many) faults, had some success in producing professionals in those styles? I’m not saying being entrenched in one style automatically means that you’re not any good at another, but like. All you’d have to do is watch a few episodes of SYTYCD history to know that “talented dancer” rarely applies across all styles. Just saying.
I’m so confused, Dance Moms.
But Abby Lee Miller decidedly isn’t. Our former Dance Moms leader had a lot to say on the matter of Cheryl Burke’s addition to the Dance Moms cast. Predictably, none of it was exactly what you’d call positive. To her credit, Abby didn’t drag her fellow professional. (Yep. I just called Abby Lee Miller “professional.” Hell hath frozen over.) The Dance Moms producers, on the other hand…Well. Abby continues to be anything but a fan. Check out this quote, among others, from People:
I think bringing in a stranger that has a resume is going to be so much more important to them than me [and] the people that have been there for seven years, day in and day out, working our butts off. She’ll get all the perks and we’ll get all the jerks…
Here’s the real question, though: Is Cheryl Burke’s clout in the dance world really going to keep her immune to Dance Moms drama? I’m going with no. It’s not exactly like she was a stranger to drama on DWTS, and that series at least had some people with actual dance knowledge behind the scenes. Dance Moms, on the other hand, has proven time and again that the inmates are running the asylum. This latest confusion is just another bit of evidence on that front.
Pro-tip, Cheryl: If working with Ian Ziering for a season sucked, wait until you’re stuck with
Regina George dance mom Jill Vertes and the rest of mean girls dance moms. So far, there are just a handful of additional Dance Moms episodes planned. Here’s hoping Cheryl doesn’t think crying to executives is going to get her axed early from that.
And as long as we’re hoping, does this mean that Chloe Lukasiak will return to Dance Moms after all? Not that I see her as the ballroom type anymore than I see Cheryl Burke as the competition circuit type, but what the hell. I still don’t even know how all of this is going to work. Let’s make it as crazy as possible, shall we?
Stay tuned for more Dance Moms scoop as it comes, folks. With Cheryl Burke replacing Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms, it’s sure to be bizarre.1 of 1