Stars of Dance Moms Discuss Abby Lee Miller’s Absence at the Reunion

From 2011 to 2019, Dance Moms ran on Lifetime, helping several young dancers—including Maddie Ziegler, JoJo Siwa, and Chloé Lukasiak. The cast got their start at the Pittsburgh-based Abby Lee Dance Company under owner Abby Lee Miller.

The Kids’ Choice Award-winning series followed Miller’s dance team through her tough and controversial coaching. Miller gained notoriety for her “pyramid,” a time-consuming and stressful system for ranking her dancers.

“Dance Moms: The Reunion” brings back some of the original cast members from the Lifetime series about the cutthroat environment of competitive dance — but there’s one former star you won’t see.

Although she does not make an appearance in the special, Abby Lee Miller, the dance instructor who established the Abby Lee Dance Company at the heart of “Dance Moms,” is shown scolding the show’s youthful cast (or their mothers) in numerous clips. The actress who helped launch their careers is still in mixed relationships with the cast members of the show today.

Six now-adult “Dance Moms” alumni, including JoJo Siwa, Kendall Vertes, Brooke and Paige Hyland, Kalani Hilliker, Chloé Lukasiak, and Kendall Vertes, process and talk about their experiences on the show together during the reunion. And according to some of them, that wouldn’t have been possible if Miller had been present.

Many former Abby Lee Miller Dance Company members have expressed polarizing opinions on the star’s infamously rigorous leadership.

Hilliker, who is still working with Miller, remarked, “I think that none of us probably would have wanted to do it if she was there because we are each other’s safe space.”

Kalani Hilliker revealed during New York Fashion Week that she didn’t talk with Miller “for a long time” after the show ended. Despite experiencing “trauma” on Dance Moms, 23-year-old Hilliker remained “forever grateful” for Miller.

Kendall Vertes added that even though cast members’ experiences on “Dance Moms” varied, she valued the chance to come back for the reunion and discuss the show’s events with the other female members of the child cast.

After being “harsh” with students, Abby Lee Miller regrets it

Abby was attempting to help them “be the best that they can be,” and she did not “want to hurt anyone’s feelings” with her criticisms. 

Stars of Dance Moms Discuss Abby Lee Miller's Absence at the Reunion
Abby Lee Miller

The Dance Moms star was not exactly sashaying away from her remarks on the reality show, even though she may not be proud of them. In a preview clip from an upcoming episode of ABC News’ IMPACT X Nightline investigative series, the infamous instructor was asked if she’d like to take back any of the barbed remarks she made to her aspiring pupils and their parents while on the series.

“Absolutely. Yes, I would,” Miller replied. “Because, despite my harshest attempts, the child wouldn’t understand. They just didn’t have the talent. They didn’t have it.”

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