When Abby Lee was sent to prison and the iconic show Dance Moms was cancelled, a shock wave was sent through society. What are we going to watch now? Many believe that Netflix had the solution to our dance competition addiction. On Oct. 5, 2018, Netflix released an original eight-episode docuseries on the fabulously famous drag queen Alyssa Edwards and her dance studio, Beyond Belief Dance Company. While the title of the show Dancing Queen might make some dwell on “dancing,” it is actually a beautiful marriage of a little bit of dancing, a little bit of drag queens and the complete life of Justin Johnson –the man behind Alyssa Edwards.
Alyssa Edwards rose to fame through her talent and two appearances on the popular drag competition show RuPaul’s Drag Race, but Justin Johnson has his own success story owning a dance company in Mesquite, Texas and regularly winning at competitions. The intense competition and strive for wins only further pushes the dance moms to act crazy and there are a few moments throughout the season when mothers let the competition get to them and act like insanely protective mother bears. The show balances Justin’s hostile encounters with dance moms along with a discussion of his personal life. Justin takes time throughout the season to talk with his sisters about their lives growing up in a divorced household and the struggles it caused for them – drug addiction and teen pregnancy were not unfamiliar to them. They also spend a few comical moments focusing on Justin trying to find a love interest and his interaction with his drag family, including Shangela and Laganja Estranja.
Dancing Queen, alongside other shows like Queer Eye, is one of the newest television series that truly talks about the lives of queer people in-depth and humanizing them.
While some might find the show a little boring because of the lack of “dance mom” drama and shortened clips of the children competing compared to Dance Moms, the show offers more in the ways of sickening lip syncs and a dance coach who is actually nice to the moms who pay them for classes. That’s not to say that there is no Alyssa Edwards who makes it into the show. After all, she is a large part of Justin Johnson’s life. Alyssa makes sure to take her spotlight every episode with a spectacular lip sync that doesn’t always perfectly fit into the episode, but is a fantastic time while watching.
The season began to wrap itself into a nice little bow towards the end, but with the surprise season finale we should all be expecting to see Alyssa Edwards, Justin Johnson, and the Beyond Belief Dance Company very soon.