Tara Ariano reports for The Awl, from a bar in Orange County somewhere, where the kid who was Dancing Baby is paying his way through UC Irvine by doing public appearances.
His dad Steven got him the Ally McBeal gig in the first place
What Dustin didn't know at the time was how much was riding on this job. Steven took extreme measures to keep Dustin from being replaced because Loretta had been laid off. Dustin's youthful looks and precocious talent (plus Steven's hustle) were keeping the family afloat. Dustin says he didn't understand the pressure underlying what seemed to him, at the time, like a fun afternoon of dancing with his dad and a new friend. "I never wanted to put Dustin in that position," Steven says now. "I had been around stage moms and I hated thinking I'd become one. Dustin still seemed like he was having fun, which made it easier. Loretta and I told each other that as soon as Dustin didn't want to act anymore, we'd let him stop. But it wasn't that simple, unfortunately."As a dad racking up college money by exploiting his adorable kids, I was momentarily chastened--and then I realized I need to help the kid and K2 find a good agent. Any gig's good if it keeps'em off the pole.
Baby Cha Cha/ Ally McBeal [theawl]
Previously, related:Nirvana Baby, 17, going through awkward fame stage