Dance Moms is a show that you can’t help but watch. Set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the show revolves around the elite competition team from the Abby Lee Dance Company and is owned by Abby Lee Miller, who is also the company’s head choreographer.
One member of the Abby Lee Dance Company’s competition team who has made a particular impression on me is Nia and her mother Dr. Holly Hatcher-Frazier. To me, Nia is the anchor of the group. Always punctual, neat, ambitious, ready to learn, and, most of all, reliable, Nia has proven herself to be a vital and indispensable member of the group. Her Dance Mom, Holly, is known as “the sensible one” who is always ready to mediate a situation before it gets out of hand and never lets her emotions get in the way making her the anchor of the “Dance Moms”.
A vital tool that Abby uses to teach her competition team is her infamous pyramid. Within the pyramid, she ranks each student from last to first based on their performance and other factors from the previous week. During the show’s past three seasons, Nia has made it to the top of the pyramid several times and has demonstrated strong leadership skills each time she reigns supreme on the pyramid. Case in point, one week when Nia was at the top of the pyramid, one dancer was late to class. Nia was instructed to call that dancer and ask (or demand!) that she show up for her scheduled class. Nia handled herself with grace and class when calling her fellow teammate and the student did eventually come to class after some outside drama which is nothing foreign to Dance Moms’ fans.
Being the only African-American on the competition team, Nia, according to her Dance Mom Holly, has a tendency to being typecast by Abby. For example, she played the character of “Laquifa” which required her to wear an animal print outfit and, more controversially, an “afro” wig. Her mother Holly was not at all impressed. She felt that Nia was being stereotyped in a way that the other team members were not. However, Abby was relentless in singling out Nia. Abby brought to the studio a drag queen named “Shangela” especially for Nia who taught her the now-famous “death drop”. This has become one of Nia’s signature moves. If you don’t know what the “death drop” is, check it out here. There was some give and take in that Nia was not being typecast or stereotyped, but rather given opportunities that they other students were not.
During the third season, Dance Moms’ fans learned that Nia suffers from a pain disorder called Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy (RND). RND is a painful neurovascular disease that reduces the supply of oxygen to the skin, muscles and bones. Like a true champion, Nia has risen above her condition to not only survive, but thrive as a dancer, daughter, student and friend.
This brings me back to my original analogy of Nia as the anchor of the group. Her consistency alone puts her at the top of any pyramid. And the challenges that she has overcome to get there have made her consistency and reliability all the more impressive.
To keep up with Nia and her Dance Mom Dr. Holly Hatcher-Frazier, visit Holly on Twitter and Facebook. Also, Holly has a new book titled Moments of Clarity. You can purchase the book on her official website.