When it comes to the ALDC, there's a fine line between being a casual voyeur of life at the venerable dance studio and being a committed Dance Moms fan, as any true super fan will know. It takes more than just tuning in for every episode and doing the odd series marathon during the seasonal breaks, ya know. For the truly committed, this is more than just a television programme; true fans are invested. If you're wondering if you've earned your fan stripes yet then read on. Recognise the following signs and pat yourself on the back: you're a true Dance Moms fan. Welcome to the club.
1. You know what plié means and how to spell it, despite the fact you've never taken anything beyond a yoga class.
2. All those Dance Moms quizzes you've taken assure you are, in fact, the super fan you know yourself to be. You get every answer right, every time. You're no amateur. You've even considered making a couple of your own.
3. Pyramid no longer means Egypt, human structures of cheerleaders or even pieces of Toblerone (those chocolaty triangles are definitely not mountains, no matter what anyone tries to tell you to the contrary), but that all-important ritual that occurs in the opening minutes of every episode, that has the power to crush or create a dancer's self esteem. For the week, at least.
4. You're more attune to the ins and outs of the moms and dancers' daily lives than you are some of your close friends, thanks to the blow-by-blow accounts you get via Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and every other social media platform you duly follow. You may also have a few choice YouTube channels bookmarked that are always good for a Dance Moms competition video six weeks before the episode airs. As if you can wait to watch that.
5. You've practised your headshots and even though you know you will never get yours as perfect as Maddie's, you don't stop trying.
6. You've taken some makeup tips from Mackenzie's videos. This applies no matter how old you are (it's perfectly acceptable to consider yourself an adult and still watch; that girl's got it together).
7. You have condensed all the ALDC competition music into a compilation playlist and can recall the dances that were set to them.
8. You've got the T-shirt. Literally. You stalk the merch like no other. It's your favourite top, so obviously you only wear it for important occasions like when you want to show off your true fandom or when you're practising your ALDC dance moves in your bedroom.
9. It can be tenser waiting to see where each ALDC star placed in a competition than it is waiting for your own exam results. This is doubly true when the Candy Apples or MDC are involved.
10. You have a Dance Moms gif for every situation and emotion and you use them to punctuate your blog posts/tweets/Facebook statuses and internal thoughts. No shame.