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Dance Moms

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Dance Moms
Dance Moms logo.png
Genre Reality
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 154 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s) Collins Avenue Entertainment
Original network Lifetime
Picture format
Original release July 13, 2011 (2011-07-13) – Present
Related shows
External links

Dance Moms is an American reality television series that debuted on Lifetime on July 13, 2011. Created by Collins Avenue Productions, the show follows the early training and careers of children in dance and show business under the tutelage of Abby Lee Miller, as well as the interactions of Miller and the dancers with their sometimes bickering mothers. Set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles, California, the show is primarily filmed at the Abby Lee Dance Company studios. Dance Moms began its sixth season in 2016.[1][2]


Primarily set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and, since 2015 in Los Angeles, Dance Moms follows the Abby Lee Dance Company's Junior Elite Competition Team of mostly preteen girls as they travel week-to-week to various dance competitions, winning awards and preparing for Nationals, while at the same time being prepared by Abby Lee Miller to be "professional, employable working dancers." The series depicts the doting mothers as rivals of each other on behalf of their own daughters, often arguing with Miller and each other, and sometimes closing ranks against rival teams. Dance performances are creatively conceptualized by Miller and her dance instructors, with input from the show's producers, while choreography is done by Miller, her staff, and occasionally a guest choreographer. Various rival dance teams spur the team's competitiveness. The show's success is often credited to the drama and conflict among Miller and the moms, along with the weekly dances and the close relationships among the girls as viewers watch them grow up and improve their skills.

The show features Miller as a strict dance team coach who, over the series, relies more and more on criticism, sometimes personal, to motivate the girls, with an emphasis on hard work and competition against teammates. Every week on the show, Miller uses a pyramid of individual headshots and gives feedback to each girl about their ranking, previous week's performance, attitude, effort, and the behavior of the girl herself and her mother. Miller had never used a pyramid in her studio prior to Dance Moms, and when once asked about the it, Miller stated, "I've never done that in my life. That has nothing to do with me. That's the show; they came up with that whole process."[3]

In season 5, Miller relocated the team to Los Angeles to help build her reputation on the west coast, and while the team continued weekly competitions, the focus has shifted somewhat to include preparation for acting and music business careers. In the season 5 reunion episode, first broadcast in August 18, 2015, Miller contemplated changes to the Junior elite competition team for season 6 as most of the girls are aging out of the junior category.


Abby Lee Dance Company

Dance Moms at the May 2015 opening of ALDC-LA in Los Angeles, season 5. From left: Holly Hatcher-Frazier, Kira Girard, Melissa Gisoni, Jill Vertes and Jessalynn Siwa.
  • Abby Lee Miller is the director of Reign Dance Productions (formerly Maryen Lorrain Dance Studio), which houses the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC), of which she is owner and chief choreographer.[4][5][6]
  • Gianna Martello is an instructor for RDP covering all genres of dance, and is also the assistant choreographer for the ALDC Junior Elite Competition team.[7] Martello studied dance under Miller's tutelage through Reign Dance Productions.
  • Melissa Gisoni is the mother of Maddie, a lyrical/tap dancer, and Mackenzie, an acro/jazz dancer and singer.[4] Maddie and Mackenzie studied dance at Miller's studio through Reign Dance Productions from an early age. They were original cast members of Dance Moms, continuing on the ALDC team/cast through season 6.
  • Dr. Holly Hatcher-Frazier, Ph.D is the mother of Nia,[4] a contemporary and acro/jazz dancer and singer (Nia Sioux). Nia had earlier studied dance at Miller's studio through Reign Dance Productions. She was an original cast member of Dance Moms, continuing on the ALDC team/cast through season 6.
  • Jill Vertes is the mother of Kendall,[4] a lyrical, contemporary/jazz dancer and aspiring popstar (Kendall K). Before joining the ALDC in season 2, Kendall studied dance at Rogers Dance in Pittsburgh and Studio 19 in Cranberry Township, PA.[8] During season 2, Kendall was portrayed as having switched teams (to the CADC) for several episodes, but she has been on the ALDC team/cast in seasons 2–6.
  • Kira Girard is the mother of Kalani Hilliker,[4][9][10] a lyrical/contemporary dancer. Before joining the ALDC in season 4, Kira and Kalani appeared on season 2 of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition (AUDC).[11] After several weeks with the ALDC team in season 4, she was a team/cast member of the ALDC in season 5.
  • Jessalynn Siwa is the mother of JoJo,[12] a jazz/contemporary dancer. Before joining the ALDC in season 5, Jessalynn and JoJo appeared on season 2 of AUDC.[13]
  • Kelly Hyland is the mother of Brooke, an acro/lyrical dancer and singer, and Paige, an acro/musical theatre/jazz dancer. Hyland's daughters studied dance at Miller's studio through Reign Dance Productions since age 2 and 5. Kelly and her daughters were original cast members, leaving halfway through season 4 (in November 2013), after Hyland's long and troubled personal relationship with Miller led to confrontations during the show.
  • Christi Lukasiak is the mother of Chloe, a musical theatre, contemporary and ballet dancer. Chloe had earlier studied dance at Miller's studio through Reign Dance Productions since age 2. Featured as original cast members, the Lukasiaks left the show and team at the end of season 4 (in July 2014) after increasing indifference and insults from Miller.
  • Cathy Nesbitt-Stein is the mother of Vivi-Anne, who joined the ALDC for most of season 1. Vivi-Anne was earlier a student and team member at Candy Apples Dance Studio, where she continued her dance training after leaving the team and show. Cathy and Vivi-Anne continued to appear occasionally in seasons 2–5 of Dance Moms. (Also see "Rival studios" below).
  • Kristi Ray is the mother of Asia, a jazz/acro dancer. Asia first appeared on AUDC, where she was the youngest competitor from either season. Asia briefly danced with the Junior Elite Competition Team before leaving right before Nationals.

Rival studios

  • Candy Apples Dance Center (Canton, Ohio) is owned and operated by Cathy Nesbitt-Stein,[4] the mother of Vivi-Anne, who danced with the ALDC in season 1.[14][15] The CADC has been the main rival for the ALDC throughout the five seasons of televised competitions. Over the five seasons of Dance Moms, show producers added several dancers who were well known in the dance competition world and/or had auditioned for Dance Moms in the past, making the "Candy Apples" a team that existed only for television (the real-life Candy Apples team ceased to be featured on the show). Partway through season 5, the CADC was completely recast for one week (see below).
  • Studio Bleu Dance Center (Ashburn, Virginia) is coached by Gloria Hampton, the mother of Kaeli, who danced with the ALDC as a guest team member briefly in season 3.[16][17][18] Studio Bleu's competition team, which the ALDC competed against several times, was portrayed as a respected and formidable opponent in several episodes.
  • Murrieta Dance Project (Murrieta, California) is owned and operated by Erin Babbs,[19] who has been an occasional guest choreographer for the CADC in seasons 4 and 5.[20][21] MDP competed against the ALDC several times in season 5.
  • Broadway Dance Academy (Fenton, Michigan) is owned and operated by Jeanette Cota,[22] the mother of Ava, who guest starred as part of the ALDC "Select Team" in season 4.[23][24][25] The real BDA team competed against the ALDC several times in season 5 before leaving the show (except for Ava) to be replaced on the TV team by the four dancers from the former CADC team.
Beginning with the start of season 5.5, BDA competed as "Candy Apples" for one week after which they resumed using their actual name. This team (consisting of Huelsman, Wilkenson, Smith, Roth and Ava Cota) won the Overall Group competition, handing the ALDC their first Nationals loss in the group overall category.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 July 13, 2011 (2011-07-13) October 12, 2011 (2011-10-12)
2 30[a] January 10, 2012 (2012-01-10) September 25, 2012 (2012-09-25)
3 40[b] January 1, 2013 (2013-01-01) September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17)
4 34 January 1, 2014 (2014-01-01) October 14, 2014 (2014-10-14)
5 34 January 6, 2015 (2015-01-06) August 18, 2015 (2015-08-18)
6 TBA January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05) TBA (TBA)
  1. ^ Season 2 included one special episode that is not acknowledged as a season episode, as well as another that was not allocated an episode number by Lifetime.
  2. ^ Season 3 included one episode that was not allocated an episode number by Lifetime.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome Ref.
2012 2012 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Dance Moms Nominated
2013 2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Dance Moms Nominated
Choice TV: Female Reality Star Abby Lee Miller Nominated
BMI Film & TV Awards BMI Cable Award Craig Owens Won
2014 2014 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Dance Moms Nominated
Choice TV: Reality Personality — Female Abby Lee Miller Nominated
2015 2015 Kids' Choice Awards Nickelodeon: Favorite Reality Show Dance Moms Won
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Nominated
2016 2016 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Talent Competition Pending [26]

Controversy and criticism

Several episodes featured controversial costume choices made by Miller, some of which were criticized by the moms, particularly Lukasiak and Frazier. Due to heavy criticism, the season 2 episode "Topless Showgirls", which aired on March 6, 2012, has been removed from rotation. The episode features the young dancers performing a burlesque-style routine and wearing sequined, flesh-toned bra tops and tights in an effort to make them appear nude. Miller defends her costume choice saying, "Everyone in the industry knows the girls are completely covered and everything's harmless." Lifetime confirmed pulling the episode .[27][28] The episode is not included on the season's DVD.[29]

Kelly Hyland was arrested in early January 2014 on charges of assaulting Miller during a dispute backstage at a dance competition held in New York City during filming for the show's fourth season in November 2013. Hyland appeared in court with Miller on January 21, 2014 and pleaded "not guilty". A hearing was scheduled for March but adjourned to May 5, 2014. Legal expert Rosemarie Arnold opined that because the episode aired on TV, Hyland's defense that the alleged assault was scripted was viable.[30] On a January 29 appearance on The View, Miller announced that Hyland and her daughters Brooke and Paige are no longer contracted with and would no longer appear on Dance Moms.[31][32] The episode featuring the incident between Hyland and Miller aired on February 11, 2014.[33] After the final episode of season 4, Christi and Chloe Lukasiak also left "Dance Moms"[34] because of continuing insults and dismissive treatment toward Chloe.[35] In October 2014, then-13-year-old Paige Hyland sued Miller, but Hyland's lawsuit was dismissed.[36]

On October 13, 2015, Abby Lee Miller was indicted in Pittsburgh on charges of concealing her income from her performances on the show in 2012 and 2013. She is charged with bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations in hiding some $755,000.[37][38]


A spin-off series, Dance Moms: Miami, set in Miami, Florida, at Victor Smalley and Angel Armas' Stars Dance Studio, premiered on April 3, 2012,[39] and was cancelled in September 2012.

A sister program titled Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition[40] followed Miller and other dance professionals judging twelve young dancers aged 6–13 years on different styles of dance, hoping to find the most versatile dancer of the group. The series premiered on October 9, 2012 and ran for two seasons.

In 2014, Miller hosted another sister program titled Abby's Studio Rescue that followed Miller as she visited dance studios across the country to assist them to improve their choreography, studio decor, staff and other aspects. It premiered on June 24, 2014.

In July 2014, another spin-off titled "Raising Asia" starred Asia Monet Ray, a guest team member for several episodes of season 3 of Dance Moms. The show followed Ray, her model mom, bodybuilder dad and younger sister Bella Blu, helping Asia to pursue her dreams of fame in show business.[41]

A British version of Dance Moms titled Dance Mums premiered on October 20, 2014 and ran for two seasons. Jennifer Ellison hosted the series, set at her Liverpool dance school, Jelli Studios.[42] Dance Mums was produced by Shiver Productions.

See also


  1. ^ 'Dance Moms' Producer Confirms Season 6; Will Maddie Ziegler And Abby Lee Miller Return?
  2. ^ 'Dance Moms' Star Maddie Ziegler Advances In People's Choice Awards Ballot, Returns to ALDC
  3. ^ Juzwiak, Rich (July 21, 2011). "Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller On Ranking Students and Dressing Them Sexily". TV Guide. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Dance Moms Cast". Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Faculty of Abby Lee Dance Company". September 14, 2003. 
  6. ^ "Faculty – Reign Dance Productions". 
  7. ^ "Faculty of Abby Lee Dance Company". September 14, 2003. 
  8. ^ "Kendall Vertes". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "'Dance Moms' Season 5, Episode 9 Spoilers: Abby Lee Miller Threatens Kalani Hilliker's Spot On ALDC Team". International Business Times. Retrieved March 22, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Decisions Decisions". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Kira and Kalani". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "JoJo with a Bow Bow". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Jessalynn and JoJo". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Competition Begins". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "From Ballerinas to Showgirls". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  16. ^ "New Season 3 Dancers Pictures". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  17. ^ "The Beginning of the End". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "Revenge of the Replacements". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  19. ^ "Murrieta Dance Project – Murrieta CA – 951.698.3339". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "Blame It On The New Girl". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  21. ^ "Hello Hollywood, Goodbye Abby". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  22. ^ Website design Visual Impressions Graphic Design. JC's Broadway Dance Academy 2007 All rights reserved. "Welcome to Broadway Dance Academy". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  23. ^ "Junior Select Ensemble Pictures". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  24. ^ "Presenting My New Team". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  25. ^ "Abby Got Served". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  26. ^ "Kids Choice Awards 2016 nominees list",, February 2, 2016
  27. ^ Anna Chan (March 2012). "Lifetime pulls 'Topless' 'Dance Moms' episode". TODAY. 
  28. ^ "Burlesque 'Dance Moms' episode yanked". NY Daily News. 
  29. ^ "iTunes – TV Shows – Dance Moms, Season 2". iTunes. 
  30. ^ "'Dance Mom' Kelly Hyland Faces Assault Charge For On-Camera Incident « CBS New York". 
  31. ^ "Abby Lee Miller: 'Brooke And Paige Are Leaving The ALDC Team,' Confirms 'Dance Moms' Star [VIDEO]". International Business Times. 29 January 2014. 
  32. ^ ABC News. "'Dance Moms' Star Kelly Hyland Charged With Assault on Coach Abby Lee Miller – Video – ABC News". ABC News. 
  33. ^ "Kelly Hyland Talks Abby Lee Miller Fight, Leaving ALDC: 'She Hurts My Kids Every Day,' Says 'Dance Moms' Star". International Business Times. 30 January 2014. 
  34. ^ 'Dance Moms' Star Dishes On Chloe Lukasiak's Exit From Abby Lee Miller Series, Says Goodbye After Explosive Season 4 Finale
  35. ^ 'Dance Moms' Season 4 Finale Spoilers: Abby Lee Miller Insults Chloe Lukasiak, ALDC Girls Compete At Nationals – PART 2 RECAP
  36. ^ Paige Hyland's Lawsuit Against 'Dance Moms' Star Abby Lee Miller Dismissed By Judge
  37. ^ "'Dance Moms' star Abby Lee Miller indicted on fraud charges". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ "Breaking News – Lifetime's "Dance Moms: Miami" to Turn Up the Heat on April 3". Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  40. ^ "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition". 
  41. ^ "Lifetime's 'Raising Asia' Child Star Docuseries to Premiere in July". Variety. 
  42. ^ "Dance Mums with Jennifer Ellison". Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. 

External links