Cathy Nesbitt-Stein signed onto Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” in 2011 not knowing her six weeks spent filming at the famed Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, would amount to an international TV sensation. Having never watched reality television before, Cathy said she thought starring on the show alongside her daughter Vivi-Anne would be “a natural fit,” and she was right. The mother-daughter duo quickly became a hit on the dance competition show, Vivi-Anne for her dry humor and Cathy for her quick-witted comebacks, so viewers were disappointed when they failed to appear in the second half of the series fifth season. So, what happened to the Nesbitt-Steins?
Speaking to International Business Times, Cathy divulged why she and Vivi-Anne didn’t return to the show for Season 5B, and according to the Canton, Ohio, Candy Apples Dance Center coach, the reason isn’t as scandalous as some may think. “It was a very busy time for my studio,” Cathy reminisced to IBTimes of February 2015 when she was asked to begin filming new episodes for the show, which is now based in Los Angeles. “I had to explain to them that, you know, I also have a business and don’t feel comfortable leaving my clientele with no one when I’m the one that producers the whole entire show. That’s why you don’t see me the whole back half.”
When Cathy exited the series, production made way for a new ALDC rival, Jeanette Cota of Fenton, Michigan’s Broadway Dance Academy, and her daughter, Ava. And while Cathy made have given Jeanette the reigns, she says some of her dance moms weren’t happy with the casting switch.
“I had to send on somebody that was able to lead the troops,” Cathy said. “There’s not a whole lot I can do when I’m not there and I’m not in LA and Jeanette was definitely a dance teacher, so she stepped up. And I know that some of the moms weren’t happy with her there because they’re very fond of me, but production had to do what they had to do.”
And while Jeanette may have taken her spot last season, Cathy says she’d be willing to rejoin the show, that is, if production could find a way to film closer to her studio. “I would love, love, love to come back to the show. I absolutely enjoy doing it. If they could do something that they could come back here I would definitely be very interested participating with them.”
Cathy says if she returned for Season 6, she would also want to take the wheel when it comes to choreographing her team’s competition dances. Fans will remember that Cathy frequently brought in guest choreographers on the series, a move which she says was necessary in order to keep her dance studio running smoothly and her “moms duties” in check.
“Because of the time frame of the show, when they were filming in Ohio, they would typically come from 10 [a.m.] to 3 [p.m.] and then I would work at the studio from 4 to 9 [p.m.]. You’re seeing the girls learn their dance, but they’re not learning it or cleaning it up in its entirety. There’s a lot of behind the scenes rehearsal and I could not do that late at night,” she explained.
Towards the end of the first half of Season 5, Cathy, who frequently wins awards for her choreography, and her sister-in-law teamed up to create dances for the show, resulting in a couple of big wins on-screen.
“We weren’t winning because these guest choreographers were brilliant, but they didn’t understand competition. It wasn’t until my sister-in-law and I said, ‘screw this, we’re doing our won choreography,’ we won… If I came back, and things worked out, I would definitely ask that we continue on doing on our choreography.”
And while talk of Cathy and Vivi’s possible comeback may be enough to excite “Dance Moms,” fans, some are asking for a little more screen time for the mother-daughter duo. Commenting on talk amongst viewers about wanting to see Cathy take over Abby Lee Miller’s spot as show’s lead, Cathy said she’d be all for it. “Oh my gosh, in a heartbeat. If that’s the direction that they wanted to go because then I know they have to film in Ohio. I don’t know that Abby would let that happen, though.”
Since leaving the show, Cathy’s Candy Apples studio has been thriving, including Vivi-Anne, who dances on the studio’s competition team. “My studio is doing very well. We put on a beautiful, huge recital and we went to nationals and unlike what you see on TV with our troops struggling, we won grand nationals. Ironically, Vivi was in several of the numbers that were in the best of the best and she happened to be in the number that won the grand national prize,” Cathy gushed.
My ballerina pic.twitter.com/0YGpQHckbt
— Cathy Nesbitt-Stein (@Poodletoes1) June 5, 2015
And it is not just dance that is on the up and up for Vivi-Anne. Cathy revealed that her daughter, who turns 11 on Sept. 11, has a big, secret project in the works, one which she thinks “Dance Moms” fans will really enjoy.
“We’re excited to get moving on it. I think that the fans have recognized that she has a very dry, funny sense of humor. There were a lot of funny things that occurred, that obviously can’t get into an hour show, that end up on the editing floor,” Cathy teased. “She’s very funny and very quirky and most times you wouldn’t believe it because she’s so quiet… I think this project is really going to open up Vivi’s personality to her fans.”
Cathy and Vivi-Anne are both represented by Matt Dugan at Management 819.