Today’s post comes from Ypulse COO Tracy Tomasso.
“Dance Moms” Is A Cross-Generational Treat
When it comes to generational targeting, more is more. Creating television programming that perfectly suits the tastes and appetites of a single generation can bring great success, but is it possible to simultaneously and accurately target multiple generations?
Reality TV is a perfect venue within which intergenerational tensions unfurl before the eyes of intergenerational viewers. Youth Advisory Board member Sydney Coates and I are both big fans of Lifetime’s reality TV series “Dance Moms.” Neither of us are proud of it, but this guilty pleasure serves up intergenerational drama that exposes many of the differences between Millennial kids and their Generation X parents.
There are tears, shouting, arguments, and scoldings but they’re between the adults, not the kids. The unbridled ambition and bad behavior of the moms are riveting. Week after week, we get to see mothers who make Lady Macbeth look like an underachiever as they position and angle their Millennial children for stardom.
And the kids? Sydney and I were thrilled for the opportunity to interview one of the breakout tween stars of the show, 11 year old Chloe Lukasiak.
The scheming and machinations of the parents aren’t even a consideration for Chloe. To her, though being on TV is still somewhat out of the ordinary, living her entire life on a very public, intergenerational chessboard is ‘normal’. What concerns her are not the spats and feuds between the parents, rather, she gets embarrassed for simply forgetting a routine on stage. In spite of (or maybe because of) what goes on among the parent-class, Chloe exhibits all of the positive characteristics of a Millennial.
Achieving? Certainly so. Chloe has already won more than her share of competitions, and her ultimate goal is to become a Rockette. When asked what advice she’d give to young fans and beginning young dancers she told us emphatically: “Always work your hardest. Don’t let anyone bring you down. And practice, practice, practice.”
Busy and oversubscribed? Definitely, but good at it. Chloe makes juggling school full-time with a competitive dance career sound simple. “Well, I go to school full-time, and then I go to dance after school, and then I go home and do my homework, go to bed, and then I do the same routine [again]”. Wow. She’s highly efficient too: In preparation for a weekly dance competition, she learns a new solo routine in only 45 minutes and a new group routine in less than a day.
Pressured? You bet. She competes in real competitions with real winners and losers. Her teacher, Abby Lee, has unrelentingly high expectations, is blunt, tough, and – certainly by today’s standards – mean. So how does Chloe deal with the pressure? She tells us that she simply focuses on doing the best that she can do, correcting her mistakes, and trying her hardest. She rises to the challenge.
Similarly, Sydney’s takeaways were less focused on the rivalry and feuding and more focused on how these Millennials manage through their circumstances by focusing on perfecting themselves and their art:
The dedication and determination that Chloe has for her dancing is amazing. She is not deterred by the pressure, the crazy schedule, or even by Abby’s tough style (although she did admit to being afraid of Abby – and said even her mom is a little afraid of her too!). She manages to juggle school and dancing and her friends, showing that if you put your mind to something you can do it no matter what. I hope she is able to fulfill her dream of becoming a Rockette!
Like salted caramel, “Dance Moms” serves up a salty snack that X’ers crave alongside a sugary sweet Millennial candy, keeping two generations coming back for more …
An Ohio native, Tracy graduated summa cum laude in Engineering from The Ohio State University. Her formative years include establishing Procter & Gamble’s internet services, serving as VP Technology & Operations at Cincinnati-based startup PlanetFeedback.com (acquired by Nielsen Buzzmetrics), serving as VP Strategy & Operations for T-Mobile Europe, managing Finance, Operations and Technology as COO of New York based RichFX, and building Globalpark North America. When not tinkering with spreadsheets and process diagrams, you’ll find her watching her beloved Buckeyes drive to victory.