A Chat with Real Life Dance Moms!

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The competitive dance world is tough--so many dancers, so much talent, and so much to keep track of. Behind every brilliant dancer who showcases their talent is a parent or guardian who is cheering them on and getting them from class to rehearsal to stage. On episode 61 of Making the Impact, Courtney and Lesley sat down with real-life dance moms Marlo Barbera and Lexi Adair to gain perspectives from another angle.

Marlo lives in Louisiana and her daughter, Chloe, is 15, while Lexi is based in North Carolina and her daughter, Parker is eight. Both girls continue to be hugely successful on the competition circuit, so listeners may be wondering about the critical first step of finding a great studio. Marlo explains that she took Chloe to all of the area’s recitals and chose based on the quality of the production. Chloe’s studio was really impressive and the choreography felt fresh and current.


Lexi, on the other hand, chose Parker’s studio after taking her to see their production of The Nutcracker multiple times. A yearly production of that nature takes a lot of investment on the part of the faculty, students, and parents, which seemed like a good sign. Both moms agreed that since the kids are going to practically live at the studio if they choose to compete, it’s important to do your research.


Both moms have had wonderful experiences with their respective studios. With these wonderful studio families, they travel regularly with their dancing daughters, but both also have other children and have to juggle busy schedules. Both noted that they have devoted husbands who are usually on soccer duty while the moms are the primary dance parent. Marlo explained that her husband can’t go in the dressing rooms so it makes more sense on a practical level for her to be at the dance competitions and for him to cheer on their other daughter in her soccer games.

Lexi's Daughter: Parker Adair

Lexi also pointed out that one of the silver linings of virtual competitions and live streamed events is the ability to watch dancers from anywhere. Their family uses facetime to keep in touch throughout those events.


While the dancers are both hugely successful, both moms agreed that they will support their daughters in whatever path they pursue. Marlo explained that even though the financial investment in dance is huge and therefore she’d love to see Chloe pursue a career, she knows that passion for one’s career is key. If Chloe wants to be a dancer, she’ll certainly support her, but if she wants to quit tomorrow, she’ll support her in a new path, too--following a conversation, of course!


Lexi mentioned that since Parker is only eight, it’s a little early to tell what her future will hold, but that like Marlo, she’ll be her biggest cheerleader no matter what she decides to pursue. For Lexi, the real goal is to ensure that Parker never stops learning and improving and that she understands that the hard work, humility, and kindness that she’s learned in dance will translate to any aspect of her life.


The moms leave us with great advice to be kind to everyone and enjoy the journey and bond you get to create with your dancer because it goes by quickly!

Marlo's Daughter: Chloe Barbera

Thanks to our guests Marlo Barbera and Lexi Adair for joining us on the podcast this week! You can follow their dancers at @chloegrace.dancer and @adairyoutodance.

Maddie Kurtz is an IDA staff writer/admin, choreographer, judge, and dance educator. Check out her other articles on the IDA Blog, visit her website, and follow her @maddiekurtz92.