Abby Lee Miller is a complex woman. The Dance Moms star is known for her groundbreaking choreography and unorthodox teaching methods as well as her eightmonth stay in prison for hiding her earnings from the show. I always liked to believe that Abby wasnt really that mean to the girls. It had to just be producer tricks and creative editing right? However according to Maddie Zieglers 2022 interview with Cosmopolitan the dancer has had to “unlearn” a lot of the toxic lessons Abby taught her.
Maddie also revealed that she hasnt spoken to Abby since leaving Dance Moms in 2016. All that being said the dance moms dont exactly work hard to keep the peace at the ALDC. Say what you will about Abby but there are many instances on the show where I actually have to take her side. Here are five examples of times I agreed with the dance moms…and five times I agreed with Abby.
As the only people of color on the original ALDC team Holly and her daughter Nia are often the subjects of Abbys “multicultural” dances. Holly hits a breaking point when Nia is assigned the solo “They Call Me Laquifa” (based on Shangela a drag queen from RuPauls Drag Race which is getting another spinoff) complete with an afro wig and a leopard print bodysuit. Abbys defense for Nias “ethnic” dances is always that she wants to prepare Nia to be able to dance in any type of style at any audition—but Holly doesnt want her daughter to be typecast or be a part of promoting hurtful stereotypes about people of color. Abby cant see Hollys point of view and becomes hostile. Its a tonedeaf and frustrating response on Abbys part and I obviously side with Holly.
One shortterm member of the ALDC is none other than Sophia Lucia a dancer from California who went viral for her turn videos and holds the Guiness World Record for consecutive pirouettes. Abbys master plan is always to scare her dancers into working harder but she does so by telling the girls how superior Sophias dancing is to theirs. The moms are quick to point out that Abby didnt train Sophia — but she did train the six dancers at the ALDC who cant keep up with her. At the start of Season 4 Melissa shares with the moms that her daughters Maddie and Mackenzie have started homeschooling to allow more time for dance.
Abby takes notice of the positive effects homeschooling has had on their training and suggests to Christi that Chloe should do the same. The moms have a lot of objections especially Holly (a former teacher and principal). Christi asks Chloe what she thinks about homeschooling and the very mature 12year old says that while she loves dance she loves school too and doesnt want to give up the part of life thats “normal.” Rather than succumb to Abbys pressure Christi listens to her daughter. This one goes to the moms.
AGREE WITH THE MOMS Abby Brings In A New Team (Season 4 Episode 16)
Abbys catchphrase “everyones replaceable” gets a lot of mileage during Season 4 of Dance Moms when she begins auditioning dancers for a new team to go up against the Elite Competition Team. Meanwhile the girls work harder than ever to prove to Abby that they dont need to be replaced leading to a winning streak that spans 13 weeks. Despite the winning streak Abby brings in the new team anyway. The moms are upset and rightly so — dont 13 straight wins prove their girls dedication and talent? In the season finale Abby dismisses all the Select team members proving that all along they had just been pawns in her scare tactics. It was a waste of everyones time.
AGREE WITH THE MOMS Mackenzies Hip Hop Solo (Season 6 Episode 16)
In Season 6 Melissa finally makes the announcement that she and her daughters are leaving the ALDC. When the time comes for Mackenzie to perform what might be her last solo ever Abby assigns her an acrobatic routine. Mackenzie begs Abby to let her do a hiphop routine — but Abby snaps that if she isnt happy with the choreography she doesnt have to do a solo. Against Abbys wishes the moms change Mackenzies music and choreography to a hiphop solo. Heres the kicker Mackenzie absolutely kills it. She comes out and gives the most energized and expressive solo of her career taking first place. Abby ruined the chance to create a special dance with one of her alltime favorite students.
AGREE WITH ABBY The Moms Give Abby The Silent Treatment (Season 3 Episode 2)
After Kelly and her daughters make an exit from the ALDC at the start of Season 3 Abby makes the decision to fill the girls spots. To stand in solidarity with Kelly the moms stage a peaceful protest — and by that I mean they give Abby the silent treatment. Its childish and counterproductive and definitely doesnt help in getting Kelly back on the team. Im on Abbys side here. Nothing good can come from the silent treatment.
AGREE WITH ABBY The Moms Change The Group Dance After Broadway Babys Death (Season 3 Episode 9)
Abby is devastated by the death of her beloved dog Broadway Baby. Claiming they want to do something nice for her the moms hatch a plan to secretly change the group dance to a tribute dedicated to the pup. Unsurprisingly Abby isnt pleased that the mothers went behind her back and changed her choreography. They should have known better. As a fellow person who considers my pets to be my babies I have to side with Abby. Messing with that womans vision after her dogs death was a recipe for disaster.
AGREE WITH ABBY Abby Puts Payton In Her Place (Season 3 Episode 35)
Payton one of Abbys studio dancers is often invited to dance with the team when they need an extra for a group number. Thats the case in this Season 3 episode where Payton joins the team during one of Kelly Brooke and Paiges many hiatuses. In the dressing room Abby accidentally calls Payton “Kendall” after which Payton announces her name to the room basically telling everyone to get it right. Paytons little teenangst outburst isnt cute to Abby who slams Payton for being disrespectful and immature. Paytons mom Leslie isnt too thrilled but this was just one of many examples of Payton acting superior to the other girls. Agree with Abby.
AGREE WITH ABBY The White Board (Season 4 Episode 27)
There arent many times youll catch me disagreeing with Dr. Holly but the white board incident is one of them. Holly has the idea to keep track of the negative comments each dancer receives during rehearsals. What starts as a discreet tally in Christis notes app turns into a massive white board with each dancers name. The board distracts the girls and disrupts class. While I disagree with many of Abbys teaching methods she makes a good point when confronting the moms They signed up to work with Abby not the other way around. If they dont like the way she teaches theyre more than welcome to find another teacher.
AGREE WITH ABBY Abby Gives JoJo The Michael Jackson Duet As A Solo (Season 6 Episode 14)
Before JoJo Siwa was an international superstar and a judge on So You Think You Can Dance she was a member of the ALDC. During a Michael Jacksonthemed week Abby assigns a duet to Kendall and Maddie. But when Maddie has to miss rehearsal for a gig Abby has JoJo jump in to take her place. Kendall isnt happy about it — she wants to do the duet with Maddie her best friend.
Abby says that if Kendall doesnt want to do the duet with JoJo then JoJo can do the dance as a solo. Jill is furious claiming that JoJos mom Jessalynn should have intervened to stop Abby from giving Kendalls duet away. I wholeheartedly 100% side with Abby. JoJo got the solo because Kendall didnt want it. She was willing to step in and give the choreography a try and she gave the performance her all. JoJo did nothing wrong and deserved a chance to do a solo regardless of who the dance was intended for.