Abby Lee Miller

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Abby Lee Miller
Miller in October 2022
Abigale Lee Miller[1]

(1965-09-21) September 21, 1965 (age 58)[2]
Occupation(s)Dance instructor, television personality, choreographer, studio owner, author
Years active1980–present

Abigale "Abby Lee" Miller (born September 21, 1965) is an American dance instructor, choreographer, television personality, and author who founded the Abby Lee Dance Company. She appeared on the reality television show Dance Moms from 2011-2019.

Early life[edit]

Abby Lee Miller was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1965, to Maryen Lorrain Miller (née McKay; 1927–2014), a dance teacher and studio owner, and George L. "Salty" Miller (1927–2000).[3][4][5]

Career in dance[edit]

Miller grew up around dance in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh suburb, studying under her mother's direction at the Maryen Lorrain Dance Studio.[6][7] In 1980, Miller formed the Abby Lee Dance Company, a dance team at her mother's studio. Miller eventually took over the studio in 1995 and renamed it Reign Dance Productions.[7] Miller opened a Los Angeles location in 2015. It was closed and sold in 2017 in light of Miller's prison sentence. Miller has since relocated her LA studio to a much smaller space, including one dance room and a merchandise shop. In December 2022, it was announced that Miller's Pittsburgh studio had been permanently closed. It was subsequently sold and repurposed into a bus lot and daycare.

Miller became certified by Dance Masters of America[7] and became a member of Dance Masters of Pennsylvania Chapter #10 in 1986,[8] but her membership was terminated in February 2012, with DMA saying Miller's reality-TV show Dance Moms was "a total misrepresentation of our dance educators and their students and is detrimental to the dance profession.".[9]

Career in reality television[edit]

In 2011, Miller began appearing in the Lifetime reality television show Dance Moms.[10][failed verification] Miller appeared on the show for eight seasons through September 2019. [11] Dance Moms follows the training and careers of children in dance and show business under the tutelage of Abby Lee Miller as well as the relationships between Miller, the dancers, and their often bickering mothers.

Three spin-offs of Dance Moms are Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition,[12][13] which ran for two seasons and 22 episodes;[14] Dance Moms: Miami; and Dance Moms: Abby's Studio Rescue. The latter ran for only 7 episodes.[15] Miller has also been a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars.[16][17] In 2014, Miller published a book, Everything I Learned about Life, I Learned in Dance Class.[12]

In 2015, Miller opened a new studio set up in Los Angeles called ALDC LA.[18] In March 2017, Miller announced she had quit the series.[19][20] In July 2018, Miller announced her return for season 8 of Dance Moms.[21] Dance Moms: Resurrection premiered June 4, 2019, on Lifetime.[22]

In 2016, Miller appeared on The Eric Andre Show's season 4 premiere.[23]

Miller announced on Instagram on May 4, 2020, that she will be leaving Dance Moms and Lifetime after nine years.[24]

There are rumors of the show's return on a new network, facilitated by Miller in an interview with Pop Crave.[25]

Racism allegations[edit]

On June 2, 2020, Miller posted a black square to Instagram on Blackout Tuesday in response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. This caused Adriana Smith, the mother of Dance Moms season 7 dancer Kamryn, to share on Instagram that she and her daughter left the show because of their experience with Miller. "A statement from her that sticks in my mind to this day during my time on DMS8 is 'I know you grew up in the HOOD with only a box of 8 crayons, but I grew up in the Country Club with a box of 64—don't be stupid.'" Smith wrote on Instagram.

On June 3, 2020, another Dance Moms mother, Camille Bridges, accused Miller of treating her daughter Camryn differently because of her race and that the environment was "extremely hostile". She told E! News via e-mail that Miller "tried to spin Camryn as being the poor one and there on scholarship. She would say the most terrible things on camera. It was a traumatic experience that I wish on no one."[26]

Miller has since deleted her Black Lives Matter post and on June 4, 2020, she issued an apology to "Kamryn, Adriana, and anyone else I've hurt", saying, "I realize that racism can come not just from hate, but also from ignorance. No matter the cause, it is harmful, and it is my fault. While I cannot change the past or remove the harm I have done, I promise to educate myself, learn, grow, and do better. While I hope to one day earn your forgiveness, I recognize that words alone are not enough. I understand it takes time and genuine change." Reposting Miller's apology, Smith said that she did not accept it because she did not think it was sincere. "I also fully support and standby Nia Frazier [Sioux], Camryn and Nicaya [Wiley] as well as any others who have been victims of racism at the hands of Abby Lee Miller or in the industry," Smith wrote.[27]

It was announced that on June 5, 2020, Lifetime decided to sever ties with Miller as a result of the allegations of the racist remarks she made. The network canceled the Abby's Virtual Dance-Off competition reality series, which was announced in April and was slated to debut in summer 2020. Miller also will not be returning to Dance Moms if the series is renewed for a ninth season.[28]

Legal and financial problems[edit]

On December 4, 2010, Miller filed for bankruptcy after owing more than $400,000 in back taxes to the IRS.[29] Soon afterward, she was hired for Dance Moms, with filming beginning on April 6, 2011. Episodes began airing in July 2011, and Miller's financial situation improved.

Miller began to encounter numerous legal problems in 2014. Paige Hyland sued Miller, charging assault. The suit further claims the show's producers encourage a violent and combative atmosphere on the show as a way to attract viewers.[30] A $5 million lawsuit was filed against Collins Avenue Entertainment for staging disagreements that ended in a fight between Kelly Hyland and Miller.[31] Paige Hyland also filed an emotional distress lawsuit against Miller.[32] The claims were dropped on the emotional distress lawsuit. Some indignities Miller inflicted upon her students that the lawsuit highlighted included bullying, throwing a chair at a student, pinching a student until they bled, and referring to a student of color as a "little tootie."[33]

On October 13, 2015, Miller was indicted by the DOJ for fraud for creating a secret bank account between 2012 and 2013 used to hide income from masterclasses, TV deals, and merchandise sales, in addition to failing to file required monthly reports of income with the bankruptcy court for 13 months. She was indicted for bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations in hiding some $755,000.[34][35] If found guilty, she could have faced a fine of $250,000 for each of the 20 counts she was indicted on (collectively $5,000,000) and five years in prison.[36] She pleaded not guilty in November 2015.[37] By February 2016, the case was delayed a fifth time.[38] Shortly after her indictment, she was charged with customs fraud relating to undeclared cash from Dance Moms Australia master class tour. Miller reached a deal with the IRS criminal investigators to enter a guilty plea to reduced charges on June 27, 2016.[39]

Sentencing was originally set for October 11, 2016.[40] It was postponed three times: first to January 20, 2017;[41] then to February 24, 2017;[42] and finally to May 8, 2017.[43]

On May 9, 2017, after a two-day hearing, Miller was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release.[44][45][46][47][48][49] Miller also paid a $40,000 fine, a $120,000 judgment and gave a DNA sample relating to her felony charge.[50]

On July 12, 2017, Miller reported to the Victorville Federal Correctional Institution in Victorville, California, to begin serving her prison sentence.[51][52]

On March 27, 2018, Miller was transferred to a Long Beach, California halfway house to complete her sentence.[53] After receiving time off for good behavior, she was released on May 25.[54]

Personal life[edit]

Miller has never been married and has no children, quoting that she "loved the studio more than family".[55] In April 2018, she was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer, after spinal surgery. In September of that year, Miller's lymphoma went into remission and she began physical therapy to relearn how to walk.[56]

As of 2024, she uses a power wheelchair for mobility.


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  35. ^ "Case 2:15-cr-00212-NBF". United States Department of Justice. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
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  37. ^ "Ib times". International Business Times. March 31, 2016.
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