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Though Dance Moms isn’t scripted, the reality TV show isn’t a real as many fans might think. The show hit Lifetime show was actually heavily produced. And while some of the drama between the cast was real, most of it was heightened, manipulated, or completely fabricated. But what tricks did the producers use to ensure that the show would be entertaining for fans to watch?

Dance Moms cast at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards
Dance Moms cast | Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

In early seasons of the show, there was plenty of real tension between some of the mothers of the Junior Elite Competition Team. In fact, Dance Moms producers intentionally cast dancers and their mothers who had a history with one another. And while some of the information that fueled the most famous feuds was voluntarily shared by the moms, that wasn’t always the case.

‘Dance Moms’ cast members recall the producers listening in on their phone calls

The original members of the Dance Moms cast had little to no experience in the world of reality TV. Perhaps this is why it took a while before they caught on to some of the producers’ antics. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Jill Vertes recalled that for a while, she couldn’t figure out how the producers had so much information. It took Vertes a while before she realized that if she forgot to turn her microphone off, the producers had access to all of her personal phone conversations.

But listening in on private conversations isn’t the only way that the Dance Moms producers managed to heighten the drama of the show. They also utilized clever editing and took things out of context to make things seem more intense than they sometimes were.

The producers used clever editing when making the show

“They can edit you any way they want,” Melissa Gisoni revealed in the aforementioned interview. “There were a lot of things said not in the context where they had us saying them,” Vertes agreed. “Like Kira, for instance, threw a bottle at a camera person or a producer. It was so funny and it made it look like she was throwing it at one of us,” Gisoni shared about another Dances Moms cast member. “And she was was mad at the producer. She whipped the bottle and they made it look like she was throwing it at Jess,” Vertes added.

One thing the producers did to ensure that they could always fall back on clever editing was dictating what the cast wore. In an interview with E! News, Asia Monet Ray revealed that they were required to wear the same clothes for days on end.

The ‘Dance Moms’ cast had to wear the same clothes for a week

“Certain things that were on the show were obviously creative editing of just making certain pieces splice together,” the Dance Moms alum shared. “We had to wear the same clothes for like a week. So certain things could be taken out of context.”


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The Dance Moms producers also resorted to baiting the cast to get a specific reaction. This, combined with the stress of constant filming, helped heighten the drama of the show. So while there was some real animosity between the moms sometimes, a lot of it was produced to add entertainment value to the show.