Writing, Writing, Writing, and Writing (Talking, too) about Competition

I’ve been writing so much lately, partly in preparation for the release of Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture (have I mentioned you can pre-order it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the University of California Press’ website?!), that I decided to do a writing round-up this week. These four different […]

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My Review of Brooklyn Castle (originally posted on The Huffington Post Entertainment)

It’s always great fun to see visual depictions and analysis of activities I’ve studied. Unlike Dance Moms, the drama in the recent documentary Brooklyn Castle isn’t manufactured. It brings an important story, and activity, to a broader audience– in a way not done since the 1993 movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. Below is my review […]

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Reading Round-Up on Kids and Competitive Activities (mix of YA and MG fiction books)

Because of my research on kids and competition (especially beauty pageants and dance, which often bleeds into cheer, and athletics) and my own love of reading, I often read youth literature on these topics– which I’ve written about before.  Most of the time this has meant Young Adult (YA) books, but more recently I’ve noticed […]

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Parenting, Pageantry, and Politics

The past month or so has been pretty crazy in the Levey Friedman household– death, life, illness(es), first teeth, a hurricane and a nor’easter, Halloween, an election, the list goes on.  Through it all I’ve attempted to keep writing, but the priority has been parenting the Little Man… especially after we lost our childcare in […]

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Cheering on Cheer

Today I woke up excited it was Friday– but then I realized I wouldn’t be getting a new episode of Cheer and I had to hit the snooze button to recover. Cheer, which has aired on CMT for the past six weeks, quickly became one of my favorite reality series, warming my normally analytical sociological […]

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I’m an All-Around Gymnastics Fan: My events include reading, watching, commenting, and writing

I’m a big women’s gymnastics fan. Knowing I love dance, sports, and nearly all things feminine and strong, this should come as no surprise.  If you know me it’s also no surprise that while I took gymnastics as a kid I didn’t last long.  I was flexible, but I was also fearful (I would think […]

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Tiger Teachers: The New Stage Moms Aren’t the Moms (from Huffington Post Culture)

This originally appeared in The Huffington Post’s Culture Section. Write a bad mommy confessional and be rewarded with multiple weeks on bestseller lists, riches, and fame/infamy. (See: Chua, Amy [Tiger Mom]; Druckerman, Pamela [American mom, French parenting]; Weiss, Dara-Lynn [Diet Devil in Vogue]). And then there are the television shows. In the grand tradition of […]

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Life Is an Audition: Recent Books About Young Adult Performers (from Huffington Post Books)

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Books. “My life has been one big audition.” This is the first line of Elizabeth Eulberg’s latest young adult novel, Take a Bow [Scholastic, April 1, 2012]. Take a Bow follows four young performers–two songwriters, one singer, and an actor–through their senior year at the fictional New […]

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High Kicks: The Latest in Competitive Dance and Soccer from Choreography Theft to Poaching to Year-round Commitments (and Injuries)

Lifetime’s Season 2 of Dance Moms continues to get sillier and sillier as the contrivances spin out faster than a terrible fouetté turn.  What can you say when Kendall leaves Abby’s studio and ends up at Candy Apples in Ohio besides, “Yeah, right! Producer interference!” in Episode 8, “The Runaway Mom?” And Abby’s decision to […]

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The Age of the Diva: Fallbacks in Dance and Pageants

Watching Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras is always interesting for me– both because the shows are often entertaining (if only in a horrifying way, like the recent T&T episode that featured Heaven, a modern day Violet Beauregarde with her incessant gum chewing, and Honey Boo Boo child and her TLC crossover extreme couponing momma […]

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