How Did We Get Here?
“It all started at Mohan’s. And now here we are,” Kelly says ahead of this episode of Back to the Barre, during which she and Christi explain how the show, which was meant to be a limited fly-on-the-wall “docu-follow” series, became a cultural phenomenon that is just as beloved today as it was when it debuted eleven years ago. Though Abby insists in interviews that she never auditioned for the show, Christi herself interviewed Abby, and Kelly, for producers. Contrary to popular belief, Abby had no say in who was cast.
From the beginning, producers were learning (with some help from Abby, Kelly suspects) what set the Moms off, with one producer flat out telling Christi and Kelly to start a fight with each other. People from all over Pittsburgh auditioned for the show as well, and Christi and Kelly discuss the reactions from people around them, including those who weren’t chosen, once the show became a hit.
Kelly felt doing the show would be a big mistake, but her husband convinced her to do it, while for Christi, it was vice versa. They admit that the show has been bittersweet, changing their lives, for the better and the worse, in ways they never could have imagined.
“We probably would have been better off doing ‘The Amazing Race’ than doing ‘Dance Moms.’ Even ‘Survivor.’ I think I would rather have eaten a cricket or something. If I survived ‘Dance Moms’ I could survive ‘Survivor.’” (10:20-10:42 | Kelly and Christi)
“Brian called me and he said, ‘Do you really have a dance teacher that can’t dance and yells at little kids?’ And I said, ‘Yeah. Doesn’t everyone?’” (16:32-16:48 | Christi)
“The show’s totally different from what it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a docu-series of six episodes. Somehow it ended up being all of us from one studio and it ended up being eight seasons.” (18:44-19:03 | Christi)
“We found out it was called ‘Dance Moms’ when we were on the road in the summer. Abby was really pissed about that because it was named after us instead of the dance teacher, or ALDC.” (19:25-19:46 | Christi and Kelly)
“I just remember not being really interested in doing it. Even when we found out it was a ‘go,’ I remember saying to my kids, ‘Do we really want to do this?’ I remember vividly where I was standing when I said that. I thought, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea.’ The kids said, ‘Let’s do it!’ Randy my husband said, ‘It’s six episodes. Just do it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it anymore.’ So I said OK. Big mistake. Probably the first and only time I ever listened to my husband.” (32:35-33:30 | Kelly)
“Us just sitting up there, that’s what we did every day of our lives while our kids were dancing. So, it really didn’t seem any different, there was just a camera there. And I think the kids were the same way.”(38:47-38:59 Kelly)
“All I remember thinking was ‘My husband is going to kill me.’ Because Mark did not want me to do that show. (53:27-53:34 | Christi)
“I think back and I think we were very naive obviously, but I also think it was really hard. It was also exciting. I think back and I smile about it. Who can say that they did that? Who can say they were on a billboard in L.A. and on every bus in New York?” (1:03 :38-1:04:06 | Christi)
“It all started with us at Mohan’s on a video camera. And here we are.” (1:04 :09-1:04:16 | Kelly)
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