Reality Check: 'Dance Moms' mom shares inspiring ideas

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If you were a member of "Dance Moms," you'd learn to cope with the crazy. So it comes as no surprise that one of the moms from Lifetime's hit reality show has written a book of inspirational reflections.

"Moments of Clarity: Daily Affirmations From Dr. Holly" will be released Wednesday. Holly Hatcher-Frazier said she drew on personal experience through years as an educator and three even more stressful seasons of "Dance Moms."

"I learned how to keep my sanity and sense of sense in the midst of all that turmoil," said Ms. Hatcher-Frazier, who has a doctorate in education and worked as an administrator and principal at The Ellis School and Winchester Thurston.

Former CMU student channels Meatloaf on 'The Voice'

Former CMU student James Wolpert continued his adventures on "The Voice" this week with a rendition of a Meatloaf classic. (Video courtesy of NBC; 12/7/2013)

A mother of three, including dancer Nia, 12, she said since finishing her dissertation more than a decade ago, she felt compelled to write "all sorts of things." Outside of the noise and hustle of being on "Dance Moms," she has found writing meditative.

"The book is not about the show, but that's the point of reference," she said. " 'How do you stay composed? How do you stay so rational?'

"It's also based on my experience working with children."

Describing herself as "a deeply spiritual person, a Christian who believes in the power of prayer," Ms. Hatcher-Frazier wanted to distill some of these daily affirmations into what became a 40-page book.

She is well aware that anyone familiar with "Dance Moms" star Abby Lee Miller -- loud, abrasive and always in charge -- will take one look at the book's table of contents and find the humor in some of its titles:

No. 2, for example, is "Surround yourself with positive people and nontoxic surroundings" is one example.

The author said her mother, Gwen Hatcher, who played a big role in editing the book, thought that one was hilarious.

Another affirmation says, "You will encounter difficult people."

The moms are filming season four at Ms. Miller's dance studio in Penn Hills, and they are often on the road for weekend competitions. The new season premieres Jan. 1.

A "Dance Moms" spinoff, "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition," recently completed its second season on Lifetime. Ms. Hatcher-Frazier said she has watched "quite a few episodes" but said the vibe of the show is very different from the original.

"The mothers are very different, and maybe it's because they don't have that past history of friendships. Also, it's a competition. They are competing amongst themselves for a very large prize [$100,000 and a dance scholarship].

"Our dynamic is: We put the 'fun' in 'dysfunction.' We have that past history. Our kids have danced with each other since they were 3 years old, and they know a lot about each other. We're part of a team."

"Moments of Clarity" ($10) will be available through, although the site will not be accepting orders until Wednesday.

Also in reality TV ...

* It took a stressful five minutes for former CMU art student James Wolpert to learn he had advanced to the semifinals on "The Voice" (NBC, Monday and Tuesday). He and Matthew Schuler received the fewest votes from last Monday's live show and were subject to a Twitter instant save to decide who would stay or go.

Mr. Wolpert was sick when he performed Meat Loaf's "I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" but got through a number of holiday-themed group numbers on Tuesday's results show. See video at

It was, by the way, a particularly shiny show that night, with Tessanne Chin and Jacquie Lee all decked out in sparkles and guest Kelly Clarkson the picture of a dazzling red elf.

* Tryouts for cycle 21 of The CW's "America's Next Top Model" will be held Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. at Latitude 40 in North Fayette. Thanks to the success of the current season -- the first to include men -- the show seeks would-be models of both sexes, ages 18-27. There are height requirements, 5 feet 7 for women, 5 feet 10 for men.


Maria Sciullo: or 412-263-1478 or @MariaSciulloPG.

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