Traci Young-Byron is hard on her students, but she might not be as much of a bully as critics of Step it Up initially assumed. During tonight’s episode, the dance teacher demonstrated on several occasions that she wants the best for her students.
Like pretty much every other dance teacher featured on reality television, Young-Byron can be very, very strict at times. She has already sparked concern among many viewers due to her insistence on carrying a bat around the studio. Skeptics believe that she uses this prop to intimidate her students. Even when she doesn’t have the bat in hand, Young-Byron is undeniably intimidating. However, she insists that there’s a method to her madness. Tonight, viewers finally got a closer look at the positive side of Young-Byron’s unusual teaching approach.
The episode focused on the dancers’ preparations for a repertory audition, as well as a company evaluation. During this time, Young-Byron was as strict as usual, even going so far as to throw peanuts at her students. But the episode also featured several moments in which Young-Byron offered her dancers valid critiques about their respective performances, as well as several valuable life lessons.
Although she can be very harsh, Young-Byron definitely knows when to scale back. She proved this while chatting with Deshauan and Diaunte, who had earlier seemed a bit taken aback by the teacher’s criticism. Practice was over for the day, but Young-Byron offered up some solid advice for future practices: Don’t take critiques personally. Young-Byron made it clear that she did not intend to cause offense — she merely wanted to push her dancers to be their best in all walks of life. She later admitted that she differs from other teachers in that her yelling always has a purpose. Some dance teachers (ahem: Abby Lee Miller) belittle their students for no reason at all. Young-Byron may raise her voice on occasion, but she never resorts to personal attacks.
Twitter users have, for the most part, been very happy with Young-Byron thus far. Although a few skeptics highlighted her use of a bat during the premiere, other fans of the show have claimed that she is having a positive impact on dozens of young dancers. This attitude is reflected in the following positive tweets:
Whether or not you agree with Young-Byron’s teaching style, it’s clear that she’s no Abby Lee Miller — and that’s definitely a good thing!