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Dance Moms head to Rivers Casino for season 3 premiere party

Barbara Nitke | Lifetime
Holly (left) and Christi talk backstage in an episode of 'Dance Moms,' airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.

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‘Dance Moms'

The 90-minute season premiere airs at 9 p.m. Jan. 1 on Lifetime.

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By Chris Ramirez
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

The ladies of “Dance Moms” are kicking off the next season high-roller style.

The precocious moms who have become reality phenoms for taking their kids' straight-talking dance instructor to task have agreed to attend a New Year's Day party at Rivers Casino to premiere the show's third season.

Fans of the Lifetime docu-soap will get the chance to join the cast for the premiere if they are members of the casino's Rush Reward players club.

“It's the ultimate Greek tragedy — someone wins, someone loses, sometimes you're the one who comes from behind, sometimes you're not at the top of the pyramid,” says Jeff Collins, executive producer for the show. “It resonates so well for people, because ... it's a great metaphor for real life.”

Club members will have to swipe their cards at a casino kiosk each Monday in December for the chance to get a ticket.

Millions tune in Wednesday nights to watch the caring-but-sometimes-fierce mothers mix it up with Abby Lee Miller as she prepares her Penn Hills-based performance dance team for competitions across the nation.

Fans of ballet, tap and interpretive dance may dote on the artistry of the high-flying kicks, plies and pirouettes put out by the agile pre-teens.

But it's the high-volumed, nose-to-nose dramatics between the moms and the straight-talking, hip-swiveling Miller that grab the ratings.

Several of the moms — Christi Lukasiak, Holly Hatcher-Frazier, Kelly Hyland and Jill Vertes — say they're excited about the sometimes-controversial show's renewal, but won't disclose specifics about the upcoming season.

Among the biggest cliffhangers from last season was whether Hyland and her daughters Brooke and Paige would return.

The mothers, who are under contract with Lifetime, say little has changed in their homes, despite the exposure that comes from cameras chasing them all over Penn Hills.

Still, they are recognized more in grocery stores and on the street.

“We're the same people we were ... it's just that everybody knows you and thinks they know you personally,” says Vertes, who lives in Penn Township.

Lukasiak and Hatcher-Frazier say that while the arguments and flare-ups you see on TV are real, one misconception is that the fights are constant.

“We really do like each other,” says Lukasiak of Churchill. “People only see the fighting, but we're all moms who care about our kids.”

In all, 300 premiere tickets will be given out.

No one under 21 is allowed in the casino, so the Dance Moms' daughters will not attend. Ticket winners will not be allowed to bring anyone underage.

Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-380-5682.

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