Following up the successful “Dance Moms,” Lifetime recently premiered its latest brainchild, the high-octane reality dance competition series, “Bring It!” A completely different animal from the network’s longstanding dance program, “Bring It!” features the Dancing Dolls, a troupe from Jackson, Miss., as they face a series of competitions, always under the watchful eye of tough-love coach Dianna ("Miss D") Williams.
With two episodes already in the can, and buzz of a possible Season 2 already stirring, Williams exclusively spoke with the International Business Times Friday to give us an inside look into the hit series. In honor of the show's recent success, here are 10 reasons why all "Dance Moms" fans should be tuning in to “Bring It!”:
The coach can actually dance. Unlike Abby Lee Miller, who prefers to teach her students from the sidelines, Dancing Dolls coach Dianna Williams has a long history of dance training and can do more than just choreograph a winning number. “I’ve been dancing since the age of three,” Williams told IBTimes. According to the Dancing Dolls coach and studio owner, she has been trained in everything from ballet to tap and, of course, hip-hop majorette.
The girls have raw talent. Just like Justin Bieber, the Dancing Dolls were also discovered on YouTube. According to Williams, “Bring It!” came about after her students’ work was discovered by Lifetime on the video-sharing website, a jumping board for the start of the show. “I thought it was really amazing that they found our life interesting and wanted to see what we do down here in the Deep South,” said Williams of the new-found fame.
The kids are the true stars. Sure, “Bring It!” does feature some momma drama, but for the most part, Williams says she agreed to star in the series to promote the real stars: her students. Williams says it’s not all about the fame and glory; it’s all about her student’s futures. “I hope that the world will get the opportunity to see that Mississippi has a lot to offer,” she said. “I hope the world gets the opportunity to see that these kids are amazing. The dance style is new, it's fresh, it’s different and I think it’s something that everybody would enjoy.”
It’s already a hit. For two consecutive weeks, “Bring It!” has made it onto the Nielsen Company's list of the top 100 cable shows for Wednesday nights, a feat that Williams said has been a huge shock. “It’s surreal to me, to be honest,” said the longtime coach, who started her Dancing Dolls studio in 2001. “I am amazed that the world is receiving these kids the way I just hoped and prayed that they would,” she said.
It shows a different side of competitive dance. While a majority of what is seen on the first episode of “Bring It!” consists of hip hop, Williams insists that her girls are trained in a wide variety of genres. “Our dance style is kind of in your face. It’s hip hop, it’s cheerleading, it’s jazz, it’s lyrical. There are a lot of different styles that go into what we do here,” she said, adding that she hopes the series will give viewers a different perspective after getting an inside view of the world of Southern competitive dance. “I hope that it gives everybody an open mind and a fresh look into what we do here,” she said.
The coach is humble. In spite of the troupe's recent and rapid rise to fame, Williams has remained humble, especially about being compared to Lifetime’s hit series, “Dance Moms.” “We are really honored to be following them in any capacity,” said Williams, who went on to compliment the long-standing series, calling it “great.”
There might be a crossover episode. While no plans are set in stone, Williams seemed interested in the prospect of starring in a future crossover episode with the stars of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms.” “That’s an interesting concept and something to think about. I think America would love to see the girls do the dance styles that the Abby Lee Dance Company does and vice versa,” she said, adding that the episode would most likely happen “at some point" in the future. “That would definitely be an episode to watch," said Williams.
The moms are respected. Unlike “Dance Moms,” Williams has nothing but love and respect for her students' parents, despite their diverse and sometimes difficult personalities. “The moms are really, really easy to deal with to be honest,” she said, adding that she understands dance moms’ concerns because unlike Miller she, too, is a parent. “Sometimes they try to test the waters and see just how far they can go with me, which is OK. I can understand sometimes the parents wanting to voice their opinions and put their little 2 cents in,” said Williams.
There is no dance jail. While ALDC moms are trapped inside their Pittsburgh studio in what has since been deemed “dance jail” to watch their childrens' rehearsals, Williams refuses to let the parents inside practice. “It’s more a distraction than they can possibly imagine,” said Williams, who claims her cardinal rule -- no moms inside the studio! -- is made to help her students progress. “Most kids want to always please their parents and with that, the kids are watching the parents and they’re not listening to the coach when the coach is teaching,” she said.
It’s all about love. Williams isn’t shy when it comes to being strict with her Dancing Dolls but she isn’t afraid to admit that her true teaching philosophy is all about tough love. While the longtime coach isn’t afraid to point out her student’s mistakes, she says the key to her succesful teaching methods is all about building her kids up and not tearing them down. “I try to tell the girls when they’re doing something wrong, critique them and then fix it at the same time, almost in the same breath,” she said.
“Bring It!” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Lifetime.