A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dancing Queen is a reality series that features dance competitions and drag performances. It features fussy dance moms, a few obnoxious children, and lots of discussions about adult-oriented issues ranging from dating and relationships to heroine addiction. There’s some campy sexual innuendo, and cursing is frequent. Drinking, smoking, and logos for Mercedes-Benz, Beyond Belief Dance Studios, Red Bull, and others are visible. All this being said, it also contains strong, positive messages about the beneficial role dance plays in people’s lives, the importance of self-acceptance, embracing difference, and the value of family and friendship.
What's the story?
DANCING QUEEN is a reality series about the world of Justin Johnson, former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant and the owner of Beyond Belief Dance Studios, in Mesquite, Texas, where he coaches top competitive dance teams. When he’s not choreographing moves or dealing with difficult dance mothers, he becomes his alter ego: Alyssa, a charismatic and empowered drag queen who performs around the world. Now Justin is starting an elite traveling dance company to represent the best the studio has to offer. It’s a lot of work, especially when the mothers have their claws out, and the dancers don’t always perform as well as they can. Thankfully, Justin and Alyssa have a close circle of friends to to help them de-stress and have some fun.
Is it any good?
This fun reality series combines the drama of Dance Moms and a milder version of the campiness in RuPaul’s Drag Race to create an entertaining viewer experience. Justin Johnson shares lots of intimate details about his life, and uses his platform to highlight the importance of self-acceptance, and how dance can serve to help people express who they are with movement. Meanwhile, alter ego Alyssa offers her funny commentary about what's happening. Throughout it all, subtle parallels are drawn between the drag world and the dance world in which they operate.
Dance enthusiasts will enjoy the featured excerpts of some of the more outstanding students’ performances, while folks who like the behind-the-scenes drama of the competitive dance scene won’t be disappointed. But what sets Dancing Queen aside is how it balances the traditional reality scenes of self-reflection in Justin’s life with that of Alyssa Edwards, who dons spectacular outfits, makes frequent cabaret appearances, and stars in her own music video-like features in each episode. It’s a fun show with a lot of heart, and is as unique as its two main cast members.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the cultural significance of drag. Why is the makeup and costuming so dramatic, and the performances so campy?
What are some of the different ways Dancing Queen addresses the issue of self-empowerment and self-acceptance? Are they all offered within the context of gender and sexuality?
For kids who love reality TV
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