If you’re one of the millions of viewers who enjoys Lifetime’s hit series Dance Moms, you’re already familiar with world-renowned choreographer Gianna Martello – she’s also an Instagram sensation, with over a million followers!
Dance Moms follows the training and careers of children in dance and show business under the tutelage of Abby Lee Miller. Martello has appeared on the show since Season 1, assisting Miller to choreograph the performances of the show’s stars such as Maddie Ziegler, Mackenzie Ziegler and Kendall Vertes. Season 7 is currently airing on Lifetime.
Martello has been choreographing routines for the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) since she was 16 years old. She has been a part of the faculty at the ALDC for 11 years, and has been a guest instructor and judge around the world on competition circuits. Her award-winning routines have earned her regional and national titles, as well as overall awards and choreography awards.
While my daughters are more focused on the singing and acting aspects of their triple threat status, they do love to dance – though you don’t see a lot of Irish stepdancing on Dance Moms!
I was thrilled to have a a chance to toss a few questions at Gianna on behalf of dance moms (and dads everywhere!
Why do you think dance lessons are so valuable for young kids?
I think dance teaches you more than just steps and routines. Dance teaches you how to listen and take direction. It teaches you how to work hard at something that may not come easy to you. Dance helps with your posture, it teaches you balance and coordination of your arms and legs. Every young kid needs all of those things!
What advice would you give parents who have children involved in competitive dance?
It can be really good for some kids and not for others. I was a competitive dancer all my life. I was not always first overall, and sometimes for parents and kids who are really competitive, that’s not good enough. My parents knew I loved it so much that they let me continue through until I graduated but if it gets too serious it may not be healthy for every family. (It’s also really expensive!)
Do you have any specific tips for parents of boys who are passionate about dance? Is it more difficult for them to pursue, or do you think both sexes are welcomed in the field now?
I think it’s AWESOME for boys to dance. I think some of the best dancers and choreographers are guys. Sometimes it can be difficult for some boys because it’s not the norm. I can remember dancing with boys that got made fun of in school, but when they were in the dance world they were getting double the amount of praise a girl dancer would get. As much as I hate to admit, I still think that boys are getting bullied for their passion for the arts from the outside, but once you get to the dance world they are SO welcomed!
Do you think there are any misconceptions out there about Dance Moms – in terms of the dance competitions, the reality show aspect, etc.?
I think there are a ton of misconceptions about Dance Moms — I could go on for days! I don’t think people realize how hard the cast works. It is NOTHING like regular competition dance. Normally, a dancer would learn and rehearse a solo or group routine for months; we learn and rehearse in about 2 days of filming. They have to compete against kids that have rehearsed so many hours longer and try to beat them. People also don’t get that it is a television show so the drama is more explosive than normal, however I did grow up in a group with some crazy dance moms. Also we film SO many hours that you don’t see, so when you all think everything is negative and bad, you don’t get to see the good stuff, you just see the 5 minutes that were really bad.
Have you learned anything through this experience that would impact you if you have kids in the future who want to get involved in dance?
I obviously want my kid to be a dancer. I come from a long line of dancers. If it’s not what he or she wants then we will try a different route because it’s obviously not for everyone — but FINGERS CROSSED!************
Thanks so much for taking the time to share! Take a look at Gianna in action here: