Think RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Dance Moms and bam! You have Netflix’s new original series, Dancing Queen. Taking place in his hometown of Mesquite, Texas, this 8-episode season follows the life of Justin Johnson, professional dancer/studio owner by day and international drag superstar, Alyssa Edwards by night.
Justin/Alyssa first graced our TV screens with their appearance on season 5 of VH1’s hit show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since then, with big hair and even bigger dreams, Justin sets forth in directing his first dance studio ‘Beyond Belief’, an academy for youngsters with ambitions to become professional dancers.
Dancing Queen truly does encompass everything one would look for in a binge-worthy series. Justin’s endless attempts to manage an angry mob of dance moms are truly side-splitting, as are Alyssa’s brutally honest confession sessions , particularly because she regularly loses her train of thought and instead quotes a mash up of three separate metaphors in an attempt to inspire.
As well as giving viewers an insight into the fierce world of dance competition, Dancing Queen also features a number of sincerely touching moments. Justin’s personal journey is reflected upon several times during the show, as he gives viewers a glimpse into some of his darkest and loneliest moments growing up as a gay man in the American South. Sensitive topics such as the realisation of his sexuality, his sister’s substance abuse and the generally turbulent relationship he has with his family are all addressed with compassion and honesty, and are genuinely eye-opening. He even takes a journey to his childhood home where he reminisces on the evening he revealed his sexuality to his mother, a scene which will no doubt play on the heart strings of even the toughest of souls. Justin’s total lack of bitterness or resentment towards such events is truly inspiring, using them instead as a fuel for driving him onwards to achieve further success and happiness in life is a lesson of which viewers will no doubt take from the show.
In spite of this, the one unpleasant aspect of the show is the forcefulness of the dance moms themselves. Whilst Justin clearly wishes for these youngsters to thrive in themselves, the overly competitive mothers seem to pressure their children without any regard for their mental well-being. An otherwise uplifting show is bungled slightly as the viewer is left questioning whether these children are dancing for themselves, or whether this is simply a means for a controlling mother to boast.
Overall, Dancing Queen is a true joy to watch and viewers will certainly finish the season feeling not only entertained, but encouraged and eagerly awaiting a second season.
Image by cocoparisienne via Pixabay