Michelle art teacher better than this "It's a tree, just like this one."
"Mmm—that's broccoli."

This image or image(s) on this article need to be replaced or added. The image in the infobox needs to be replaced with an official photo.

Riley: Em, please don't do this.
Emily: It's done.
Click here to see more quotes.

"Rock and a Hard Place" is the 4th episode in Season 1 of The Next Step and the 4th episode overall. It first aired on March 14, 2013.


Kate asks Emily to hold dance evaluations for placements in the group dance.


The dancers are warming up in Studio A when Chris and Kate enter. Kate announces that they will be performing at a small dance competition on the weekend and that the line positions will be changed. She tells them that they will each audition for their spot in the line-up and that herself and Chris will construct the line-up. This infuriates Emily, as this is typically a dance captain's job.

Chris kate season 1

Kate and Chris slowly realize that Emily should be picking the dance line-ups since she is dance captain.

Emily goes into Kate's office to express her anger and disbelief. Kate tells her that it is best for her and Chris to decide, as there is a lot of tension in the air. Emily will not have it, though, and continues to argue. Finally, Kate and Chris concur.

Meanwhile, Tiffany approaches Daniel after having found out that he will be teaching J-Troupe. She is shocked, as he has just joined A-Troupe, and remarks that the E-Girls cannot let him have that much power. Tiffany tries to scare him by saying that J-Troupers are crazy, which works to make Daniel paranoid. She confesses that she says this because E-Girl rule #46 states that one in A-Troupe must never look too good.

The auditions begin with the order being: Chloe, Tiffany, Daniel, Eldon, James, Stephanie, Riley, Michelle, and West. The dance placement is an indicator of the hierarchy in the dance studio: the strongest dancers are in the front, the mediocre dancers in the middle, and the worst dancers in the back. As Riley dances, she fumbles and begins dancing terribly and predicts in Talking Heads that she will be in the back row. Michelle dances next, and dances tremendously, although all Emily can do is unnecessarily critique her. When the auditions are complete, Emily tells the dancers to gather around and tells them she will run the placements by Kate and Chris and get back to them. Despite her promise, Emily and Stephanie do not actually get the opinions of Kate and Chris, but rather make it seem like they are.

Michelle west season 1

Michelle shrugs at West about her placement in the back row.

Emily returns with the line positions. Despite her terrible performance, Emily puts Riley in the front row alongside herself and Stephanie, and puts Michelle in the back. This makes Riley instantly suspicious. The placement proves biased, as Riley is struggling in her position at the front and cannot pick up the choreography.

Daniel is seen teaching J-Troupe. Tiffany confesses in Talking Heads that she told the J-Troupers that if they give Daniel a hard time, they get to dance for A-Troupe. The J-Troupers act up and prove to be very rude to Daniel which exasperates him.

In Studio A, James is studying math just as Riley is leaving. James asks Riley a question, as he is still struggling in the subject. He discards the textbook and tells Riley he got her something, which confuses Riley. He tells her he got it from the top of a mountain and reveals it to be a water bottle with "natural spring mountain water." Reasoning that he will be the only person who gives her an honest opinion, she asks him if he thinks she should be in the front row to which he says, "Michelle should be in the front row."

Daniel is still struggling with the J-Troupers when Tiffany enters. Upon her arrival, Daniel comments that they're suddenly more motivated and are listening. Tiffany is content, as now he will never want to choreograph for them again.

Riley enters Kate's office and asks Kate why she put her in the front row, to which Kate tells her that she never approved the line-up. Upset, Riley confronts Emily at Squeezed about the line-up, although Emily replies in a hostile manner and refuses to listen to her opinion. Riley confesses that she knows what she has to do but doesn't know if she can pull it off.

Riley james season 1

Riley confides in James about whether or not to go through with her plan.

In Studio A, James approaches Riley and Riley admits to James that Emily never got Kate's approval for the line-up. James confesses that he is not surprised, as Kate never would have approved the given line-up. Riley tells him she has a plan, and James tells her to do it. Emily enters the studio and tells the dancers to take their positions; Riley switches positions with Michelle. She then reveals to the rest of the dancers that Emily's line-up never got approved by Kate and that Michelle clearly deserves to be in the front, not herself. Despite Emily's visible anger, Riley is sure that things will eventually blow over.

J-Troupe performs their routine in Studio A. As they dance, Tiffany comments that Daniel learned his lesson, as now he thinks the E-Girls are great and adds that he has been sufficiently schooled. After the performance, Daniel confesses that he has learned two things: choreographing is really hard, and that he is never trying a stunt like that again. Riley approaches the other E-Girls and instantly notices the tension. Then, Emily asks the other girls if they want Riley out of E-Girls and the vote is unanimous. Riley is kicked out and left in tears.

Trivia Edit

  • E-Girl rule #46 is: Never let anyone in A-Troupe look too good.
  • Riley is no longer a member of E-Girls, and is the second to be kicked out.

Cultural references Edit

  • The title refers to a song of the same name by The Rolling Stones.


Main Edit

Recurring Edit

Absent Edit

Featured music Edit

Featured dances Edit

Quotes Edit

Main article: Rock and a Hard Place/Quotes

Aftershow Edit

Main article: Rock and a Hard Place/Aftershow

Gallery Edit

Kathy Riley season 3 episode 13 "Look at that painting!"

To view the Rock and a Hard Place gallery, click here.

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