It’s natural to compare “Bring It!” to “Dance Moms.” Both dance competition reality shows appear on Lifetime, and they both balance kinetic dance performances with the drama of their tough-as-nails coaches, talented young dancers and their aggressive stage moms.
But the show’s coach, Dianna “Miss D” Williams, is doing something “Dance Moms” has never attempted: She’s taking the top dancers from her Mississippi Dollhouse on a national tour. Based on recent stops at theater-sized venues in Atlanta and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this Saturday’s show at the Fox Theatre might sell out.
“Bring It! Live” will give fans of the show, now in its third season, the chance to see Miss D and her Dancing Dolls perform new routines live. Audience members also will take part in live voting and a Q & A with the cast.
Williams says the tour features a blend of audience favorites from the TV show and other surprises, and she says nothing can compare to seeing her troupe show off their best moves on stage.
“It’s going to be loud, live and in color,” Williams says. “The girls have a chance to showcase all their different dance styles to a live audience. It’s unedited. There are no commercials. It’s all real music. There’s a lot of energy and personality in the whole room.”
Williams founded the Dancing Dolls in 2001, and they have since since won more than 100 trophies and 15 grand champion titles. The troupe specializes in hip-hop majorette, a dance style practiced mostly by African-American women that incorporates elements of hip-hop, ballet, jazz and lyrical dance.
“It’s mixture of every dance style that’s hot right now,” Williams says. “It’s not just hip-hop and majorette. It’s very aggressive. It’s very in your face. It’s very, very, very energetic. If you think about all the other dance shows on TV and roll them into one, that’s what we are.”
Williams never considered appearing in a TV show until the idea was brought to her, but she says she’s comfortable being her naturally outspoken self on a major cable network. She says her coaching style isn’t too harsh: It’s a realistic reaction to the entertainment business.
“The world is not made out of candy canes,” she laughs. “It doesn’t rain gumdrops, and the sun is not a jellybean. These kids have to learn that in the world we all live in, there are a lot of people out there that are not going to open the door for you and give you opportunities. You have to work hard for everything you want.”
Williams says she expects her dancers to perform at top-level regardless of their personal circumstances, but she knows from experience that’s the only way to achieve success in the competitive dance world.
“They learn what they can do when faced with pressure,” Williams says. “They learn what they can do when they become determined and put their mind to it.”
The second half of the dance show’s third season premieres at 9 p.m. July 22. Williams says she can’t give away any spoilers, but the live tour might coincide with the TV show.
“I can’t give away what we’re going to do, but I can tell you that there is a vast variety and range of emotions that this tour is going to take you on,” she says.
Steven Sonoras is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.
‘Bring It! Live’
8 p.m. Sat.
2211 Woodward, Detroit