It’s been ten years since Dance Moms, which follows a group of young dancers, their moms, and their instructor, premiered on Lifetime.
And while it’s true that the show spawned some great moments of dance, the dancing itself was often overshadowed by the drama. There have been a lot of hilarious, shocking, and just plain iconic moments from Dance Moms over the show’s eight seasons, and we’ve listed our top ten below, in no particular order.
1.) Kelly vs. Abby
It was not uncommon for one of the dance moms to fight with Abby, but the fight between Kelly Hyland and Abby at the beginning of season four was definitely a stand-out. Kelly, who had two daughters, Paige and Brooke, dancing on the elite team, was upset by the prospect of a new dancer, Kalani, taking her daughters’ place on the team. Things quickly escalated, and Kelly and Abby were in each other’s faces. Abby tried to bite Kelly’s finger, Kelly grabbed at Abby’s hair and face, and the ALDC was never the same. The Hylands never returned to the team, but Kelly’s legacy will live on forever in this moment.
2.) Abby Files a Police Report
Season eight was filmed after Abby Lee Miller’s time in prison, and her time spent fighting cancer. And although it was filmed with a whole new cast, the drama was just the same. At the end of season eight, at the Nationals competition in New York City, Tammy, the owner of Studio 19, Abby’s rival studio, approached Abby in the audience. Tammy reprimanded Abby for using her phone while a Studio 19 dancer performed, so a startled Abby reversed in her wheelchair down the aisle. Cue a frantic chase through New York City as the producers attempted to find out where Abby was going and uttered the iconic line, “She’s zoomin, dude!” They eventually found her at a police station, filing a report against Tammy for verbal harassment. It’s one of the funniest moments in Dance Moms’ history.
3.) Vivi-Anne’s Ring Tragedy
Cathy, the owner of Candy Apples Dance Center in Canton, Ohio, was a constant thorn in the ALDC’s side. And although she was a choreographer, she was also a dance mom herself, to her daughter Vivi-Anne. In season two, Cathy and Vivi-Anne linked fingers, and Vivi-Anne gasped. Cathay quickly put her glasses on and saw that the ring on her finger cut Vivi-Anne’s finger. In a deadpan, hilarious tone, Vivi-Anne said, “I cut my finger on my mom’s ring. I hope I can still dance.” This line remains one of the most famous from the series not only for Vivi-Anne’s deliverance but how dramatic it would be if she had to miss out on dancing for a minor cut.
4.) Season Five’s Nationals
The Abby Lee Dance Company always wanted to win, and usually, they were successful, especially at Nationals. But in season five, in a stunning upset, the team got second place for their group dance and were beat by Broadway Dance Company, even though the haunting dance “The Waiting Room,” is widely regarded as one of the best dances on the show. Maddie’s solo also got second place, Abby’s favorite dancer was again beat out by Broadway Dance Company. Shocked by and furious with the results, Abby and the majority of the moms and students walked out of the competition, later going on to claim that the competition was rigged.
5.) Yolanda “Chokes” Stacey
In season seven, two of the dance moms, Yolanda and Stacey, got into an altercation that still provokes discussion to this day. Stacey’s daughter, Lilliana, informed Stacey that Yolanda had been rude to her, so a furious Stacey went to confront Yolanda in the parking lot of the dance studio. Stacey marched up to Yolanda, and Yolanda lunged toward her, her hands at Stacey’s neck. The event became a constant source of tension between the two mothers. Dance Moms fans still debate over who was really at fault.
6.) Mackenzie Beats Maddie
Mackenzie was constantly being compared to her older sister, Maddie, but after years of feeling like she wasn’t good enough, Mackenzie finally got to have the spotlight in season five. In a stunning reverse of events, Maddie took second place at a competition for her tap solo, while Mackenzie’s acrobatic jazz dance put her at the top. It was the moment fans had been dying to see since the show began.
7.) “Empty Chair, Do a Solo!”
Dance Mom Holly is widely regarded as one of the fans’ favorite mothers, for her intelligent, quick-witted responses and effective arguments, as well as her undying support for her daughter, Nia. At the end of season four, Nia had been given a solo, but something about it still bugged Holly. She explained to the other mothers that the only reason Abby chose Nia for a solo is that there was no one else to give a solo to. “There’s no one else here!” Holly exclaimed. “Who is she going to give it to, the empty chair?” She then pointed to the chair, and said, “Empty chair, do a solo!” It’s one of the most iconic lines of the whole eight seasons.
8.) Jill’s Texas Tantrum
At one Texas competition in season two, Abby was upset with Jill when she didn’t bring her daughter, Kendall, a brand new costume. Wearing a huge cowboy hat and boots in the theme of Texas, Jill threatened to leave the team. Her tantrum caused dance mom Christi to say her famous line, “Jill is throwing shoes, and she’s cursing, and all I’m thinking is, ‘You are so hard to take seriously in that hat!’”
9.) JoJo Stands Up to Abby
From her very first appearance on Dance Moms, JoJo made waves with her bright blonde hair and her big personality. In one season five episode, JoJo did what so many moms and students were afraid to do: she stood up to Abby. Abby reprimanded Jojo for not watching a scary movie, and after a brief spat with Jessalyn, JoJo’s mother, Abby yells at JoJo to not be entitled. JoJo begins to tear up, and Abby tells her to stop crying. Jojo replies, “Well if you yell at me, I’m gonna cry.” Viewers were instantly impressed with JoJo’s strength.
10.) The New Orleans Fight
Nationals always caused tension around the studios, and the competition at the end of season three was no exception. Nationals were held in New Orleans, and after a day spent in the town, tensions between Christi and another dance mom, Leslie, were very high. Christi knocked Leslie’s drink away, threw her own at Leslie, and Leslie began hitting Christi with her purse. The fight was so out of control, the show’s producers had to step in, and Christi’s and Leslie’s daughters were suspended from the team because of it.
As is the case with all reality shows, it’s probably likely that a lot of Dance Moms was scripted. But whether it was real or fake, there’s no denying that these iconic moments sure were entertaining.