By Anne Forline
Gloucester City News
BELLMAWR NJ--The Pittsburgh, PA-based reality television show “Dance Moms” debuted in 2011 on the Lifetime
The show is quite popular, draws millions of viewers each week, and focuses on dance coach Abby-Lee Miller, the young dancers she trains, and their mothers.
“Dance Moms” is a favorite among dancers, particularly Bellmawr’s Gretchen Aulenbach – who recently had the opportunity to perform in the same competition as the dancers from the Abby Lee Miller Dance Company.
Gretchen, 12, attends sixth grade at Bell Oaks School and has been dancing for nine years with the Nancy Mulford Dance Studio.
She is a talented performer who takes lessons in tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical and contemporary.
Gretchen said that performing in November’s On Stage America Competition at Voorhees Middle School was particularly exciting for her.
Not only did she have the chance to see the hit TV show’s dancers perform live, but she watched as a roving camera crew filmed the segment.
Following the competition, she was able to meet and have her picture taken with several of the cast members.
For Gretchen, it was a thrill for her to watch Chloe, Brooke, Nia, Kendall, Paige and Maddie perform in group numbers and three solos. She deemed the girls “very good dancers.”
Although Gretchen did not directly compete against the girls from Dance Moms, she performed in two numbers, a group dance in tap and another trio in jazz.
She and her partners, Balyn Siegel and Erin Little, took third place in the Intermediate-Junior Duo/Trio category, for their “Weird Science” performance.
Gretchen relayed that she was excited to place third in the competition, but was more thrilled at the “chance of a lifetime” to meet and take pictures with cast-members Cathy Nesbitt-Stein and Kelly Hyland.
Of the women, Gretchen said, “They were both very nice” and added that she scored her photo- op because their dressing rooms were directly across the hall from one another’s.
“We were so lucky to have our picture taken with Cathy, because we were told ours was the last one,” she said.
From a distance, Gretchen saw Melissa Ziegler eating her dinner and called out to her ask if it was good. Gretchen giggled when she said Melissa responded that it was.
At the competition, Gretchen said that several areas of the school were barricaded and blocked off to accommodate the show’s filming.
As for the show’s namesake, Abby Lee Miller, Gretchen did not meet her, but saw her walking around backstage and observed Miller being nice and friendly to the fans who approached her.
The episode that featured the On Stage America competition aired a few weeks ago on Lifetime with the title “Boys Are Cuties, Girls Have Cooties.”
Gretchen said, “If you looked closely, you could see the top of my head!”
But that is just fine with her because she was star-struck and thrilled that she had the chance of a lifetime to meet the stars of her favorite television show.
Anne Forline blogs at: anneforline.blogspot.com.