Maddie Ziegler

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Ziegler at the opening of Abby Lee Miller's dance studio in Santa Monica, California, May 2015

Madison "Maddie" Nicole Ziegler (born September 30, 2002)[1][2] is an American child dancer, actress and model. She is known for appearing in Lifetime's reality show Dance Moms and for starring in music videos of Sia's songs, including "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart", which cumulatively have attracted more than 1.5 billion views on YouTube. Ziegler has also guest-starred on scripted shows and danced on various TV shows, and she has been seen on magazine covers and in feature articles. She models for Capezio, Ralph Lauren and Target, among other brands. Ziegler was named by Time magazine as one of the "30 most influential teens of 2015".[3]

Early life[edit]

Ziegler was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni and Kurt Ziegler, who owned a mortgage company.[4][5] She is of Polish, German and Italian descent.[6] Her parents divorced in 2011, citing the financial and emotional toll that dance took on the family. She has been an active member of the Abby Lee Dance Company since the age of two. She trains in tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, acro, jazz, and aerial dance.[1] Maddie Ziegler has a younger sister, Mackenzie (b. June 4, 2004),[7] two older half-brothers from her father's previous marriage, and two older step-siblings from her mother's marriage to Greg Gisoni, a Vice President at Westinghouse Electric Company.[5][8]

Ziegler attended Sloan Elementary School until 2013, when she left to be homeschooled.[9] Ziegler and her family live in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.[10]


Ziegler has won numerous titles at regional, state and national dance competitions,[11] including the 2014 Dancers Choice Award for Favorite Dancer 17 & Under.[12] In 2010, at age 8, Ziegler performed for Paula Abdul's reality television program Live to Dance, but the program was canceled before her performance aired.[13] In 2011, Ziegler's mother earned a role on Lifetime's Dance Moms, a program that documents day-to-day activities of the young dancers on the Abby Lee Dance Company Elite Competition Team and their sometimes quarrelsome mothers.[2] As of 2015, Ziegler continues to appear on the show alongside her mother and younger sister, Mackenzie.[14] In 2013, she made guest appearances on a spin-off program, Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition.[15]

In 2012, Ziegler landed her first professional acting job, portraying the character of Young Deb on an episode of the Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva.[16] In 2014, Ziegler appeared as a guest star in Episode 34 of HitStreak Summer, a made-for-mobile series.[17] She continued her acting career in 2015 with guest spots on the Disney Channel series Austin & Ally and ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars.[18][19]

Ziegler has appeared in music videos for artists including Alexx Calise, Sia and Todrick Hall.[20][21] She gained wider notice, at the age of 11, by starring in the 2014 video for Sia's song "Chandelier", which won the ARIA Music Award for Best Video and received nominations at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards for Video of the Year and Best Choreography, winning the latter. It was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Music Video in 2015.[22] The video has received more than 1 billion views on YouTube and is the 13th most viewed YouTube video of all time.[23] In January 2015, Ziegler starred with Shia LaBeouf in "Elastic Heart", another Sia video, with more than 450 million YouTube views. The video "courted controversy and plaudits in equal measure", with some commentators perceiving it as having pedophilic undertones due to the relative ages of the dancers.[24][25] Sia explained that the two dancers represented "warring 'Sia' self states", but she nevertheless apologized on Twitter to those who may have been offended.[26][27] Later in 2015, Ziegler starred in "Big Girls Cry" to complete her trilogy of Sia videos.[28] After the release of "Chandelier", Ziegler danced to Sia's' vocals on several television shows, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dancing with the Stars, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Saturday Night Live, as well as at the Hollywood Bowl.[29] She also performed "Chandelier", alongside Sia and Kristen Wiig, at the 2015 Grammy Awards.[30] Ziegler has been cast in a forthcoming film, Book of Henry.[31] Sia has written, and plans to direct, a film starring Ziegler, titled Sister.[32]

Ziegler has modeled for such fashion lines as Glitzy Girl,[33] Purple Pixies,[34] Capezio,[35] including their Betsey Johnson line,[36] Target[37] and Ralph Lauren.[38] She has also been featured on numerous magazine covers and in fashion editorials for Kode,[39] Schön! Magazine,[40] Elle, Dance Spirit, Nylon,[41] Vs.,[42] Seventeen,[43] Harper's Bazaar,[44] People,[45] Dazed,[46] Cosmopolitan,[47] i-D,[2] Billboard,[21] Teen Vogue,[48] Stella,[49] Maniac,[50] Vanity Fair Italia[51] and Flaunt.[52] At the 2015 New York Fashion Week, she acted as a correspondent for Elle.[53] In 2014, Ziegler and her sister released a fashion line, The Maddie & Mackenzie Collection, through Mod Angel.[54][55] Ziegler has an active social media presence, with more than 4 million Instagram followers[56] and over 900,000 Twitter followers.[57] Videos of her dancing had been viewed more than 1 billion times on YouTube by May 2015,[58] and by November 2015, she had accumulated more than 1.5 billion views on YouTube.[59]


In 2012, Ziegler, along with her mother and sister, partnered with Starlight Children's Foundation[60] to help raise awareness for chronically ill youth. Ziegler stated that she enjoys dedicating her time to helping other children, and that it is a rewarding experience.[61]


Billboard called Ziegler's work in "Chandelier" "a dazzling dance performance",[62] while The Guardian commented that she "dances with such impressive flexibility".[63] Rolling Stone thought that her "crisp moves and theatrical mugging were a great fit for Ryan Heffington's imaginative choreography" and praised her "charisma that makes this video mesmerizing: Her dancing makes your memory tingle".[64] Dazed magazine said that "Ziegler interprets the song’s lyrics into something that is deranged, isolated, manic and profound."[46] People magazine called her "a super-human graceful alien sent from Planet Talented to make us mere mortals look really clumsy".[45] In 2015, The Huffington Post praised Ziegler's artistry:

Her ... jétés and pirouettes juxtapose self-containment with a sort of reckless abandon. But it is her face ... that truly captivates her audience thanks to the tantalizing allure of catharsis through art. [Ziegler's] work ethic, not to mention her evident love for the art, has made her relentlessly relevant. She has something to say with her performances, whether in a music video for Sia or in a solo at nationals. Her technique is lovely, especially for a 12-year-old. She has stretched knees, pointed feet, and arms that float on clouds, her fingers perfectly placed. But still more important is her virtuosity, her connection with the public. She tells a narrative that resonates with the viewer, whether portraying a scorned lover or a werewolf. This maturity is astounding for a preteen – she just gets it. She's meant to perform, meant to communicate with people. She has defied the odds of Generation Z's competitive, egocentric mentality to make her career about the work, not the celebrity.[65]

Ziegler was named by Time magazine as one of the "30 most influential teens of 2015".[3] She is also on the Harpers Bazaar list of "19 Rising Style Icons Aged 19 and Under"[66] and was nominated for a 2015 People's Choice Award.[67]


Acting credits[edit]

Year Series Role Notes
2012 Drop Dead Diva Young Deb Guest, Episode "Lady Parts"
2015 Austin & Ally Shelby Hayden Guest, Episode "Homework and Hidden Talents"
2015 Pretty Little Liars Creepy Dancer Guest, Episode "She's No Angel"
2016 The Book of Henry Christina Post-production
2016 Sister Unknown Pre-production

As herself[edit]

Year Series or film Notes
2010 Live to Dance Episode did not air
2011–present Dance Moms Lead
2012 The View Performer
2013 Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition Performer, 2 episodes
2014 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Performer, episode 11–160
2014 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Performer, episode 12–95
2014 Dancing with the Stars Performer, episode 19–4
2014 Good Morning America Guest, 1 episode
2015 Saturday Night Live Performer, episode 40–11
2015 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Performer, episode 12–93
2015 57th Annual Grammy Awards Performer
2015 Dancing with the Stars Performer, episode 20–9
2015 Lucky Thirteen Performer, short film by i-D

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Artist Notes
2011 "It's Like Summer" LUX Supporting
2012 "Cry" Alexx Calise Lead
"Summer Love Song" Brooke Hyland Supporting
2014 "It's a Girl Party" Mack Z Supporting
"Freaks Like Me" Todrick Hall Supporting, vocals
"Chandelier" Sia Lead
ARIA Music Award for Best Video
MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography
Nom—MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year
Nom—Grammy Award for Best Music Video.
"Shine" Mack Z Supporting
2015 "Elastic Heart" Sia Lead, alongside Shia LaBeouf
"Big Girls Cry" Sia Lead
"Wear Em Out" Kendall K Choreography
"Dance Moms Season 5 Untitled Music Video" Dance Moms Supporting

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2014 Dancers Choice Awards Favorite Dancer 17 & Under Won[12]
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice Dancer Nominated[68]
2015 Dancers Choice Awards Favorite Dancer 17 & Under Nominated[69]
2016 People's Choice Awards Seriously Popular Award Pending[70]


  1. ^ a b Gisoni, Melissa. "Ziegler Girls | Maddie Bio" Ziegler Girls Official Website, accessed August 3, 2015
  2. ^ a b c Weinstock, Tish. "There’s something about Maddie Ziegler", i-D, August 14, 2015
  3. ^ a b "The 30 Most Influential Teens of 2015", Time magazine, October 27, 2015
  4. ^ "Famous Abby Lee Miller Dancers",, accessed February 14, 2014
  5. ^ a b Ziegler, Maddie. Fun Facts, Retrieved May 4, 2015
  6. ^ "Dance Moms Dancer Maddie ziegler". Maddie Ziegler. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Mackenzie – About". Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  8. ^ "From Sia videos to Dance Moms, Murrysville dancer steps into pop culture fame", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 27, 2015
  9. ^ "'Dance Moms': Is Someone Getting Kicked Out In Season 4?". Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ Cristina Rouvalis (November 2013). "Inside the ‘Dance Moms’ Empire". Pittsburgh Magazine. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Competition results (12 pages)". Abby Lee Dance Company. Retrieved August 2, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Industry Dance Awards Dancers Choice Awards 2014 | Nominees". Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Maddie Ziegler Live to dance clips". YouTube. Retrieved January 9, 2015. 
  14. ^ "About Dance Moms". Lifetime Entertainment Services. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  15. ^ "'Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition' S2 E3 Recap: Gods and Mortals", Glamorosi Magazine, September 18, 2013
  16. ^ Jen Harper (July 24, 2012). "'Dance Moms': Maddie lands spot on 'Drop Dead Diva' and Jill keeps spot on Abby Lee Miller's hit list". Zap2it. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ Martin, Rebecca. "Catch Dance Moms’s Maddie Ziegler on New Mobile TV Show!",, June 26, 2014. Retrieved May 11, 2015; and ShowMobile. "HitStreak Episode Thirty Four feat. Maddie Ziegler". YouTube, July 31, 2014. Retrieved May 11, 2015
  18. ^ Thompson, Heather. "Disney Channel Austin & Ally Episode 'Homework & Hidden Talents' Airs Tonight", M magazine, March 28, 2015
  19. ^ Highfill, Samantha. "The story behind Maddie Ziegler's creepy Pretty Little Liars dance number", Entertainment Weekly, July 1, 2015; Norwin, Alyssa. "Pretty Little Liars Recap: A Shocking New 'A' Suspect Revealed",, June 30, 2015; Corriston, Michele. "Pretty Little Liars: Guest Star Maddie Ziegler Could Not Be Creepier", People, May 12, 2015; and Abel, Alex. "Maddie Ziegler Reveals 5 ~Creepy~ New Deets About Her Role on Pretty Little Liars!", Seventeen, May 29, 2015
  20. ^ Bill Palmer. "Dance Moms' Maddie stars in Alexx Calise music video for "Cry"". Collins Avenue. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason. "Sia Taps Dance Moms Star For 'Chandelier' Video: Watch", Billboard, May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2015
  22. ^ "Grammys 2015: See the Full List of Nominees". Billboard. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Most Viewed Videos of All Time (Over 100 million views)". YouTube. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  24. ^ Norton, Siobhan. "Ballet fitness: Why growing numbers are using pliés and pirouettes to work out", The Independent, July 14, 2015
  25. ^ "Sia's video: let's be wary of seeing paedophilia everywhere", Guardian Australia, January 11, 2015
  26. ^ "Sia Apologizes for ‘Pedophilia’ Perception in Music Video". Yahoo!. January 9, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  27. ^ Ranscombe, Siân. "The 10 most controversial music videos", The Telegraph, May 10, 2015
  28. ^ Smirke, Richard. "Watch Sia's 'Big Girls Cry' Video Starring Maddie Ziegler", Billboard, April 2, 2015
  29. ^ "'Dance Moms' Star Maddie Ziegler Responds to 'SNL' Sia 'Chandelier' Spoof [VIDEO]". International Business Times. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  30. ^ Swift, Andy (February 8, 2015). "Sia Enlists Kristen Wiig for 'Chandelier' Performance at 2015 Grammy Awards". Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  31. ^ McNary, Dave. "Bobby Moynihan, Maddie Ziegler Join Colin Trevorrow’s Book of Henry", Variety, October 5, 2015
  32. ^ Anderson, Ariston. "Venice: Sia Explains Why She's Directing Her Maddie Ziegler Screenplay", The Hollywood Reporter, September 7, 2015
  33. ^ Bauknecht, Sara. "Stylebook: Two 'Dance Moms' dancers promote Glitzy Girl jewelry line". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Official Launch of the Purple Pixies Ziegler Dance Team Line NYC". Facebook. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  35. ^ Brooke, Eliza. "Maddie Ziegler Takes Her Rightful Place as Capezio's Brand Ambassador",, May 21, 2015
  36. ^ Melby Leah. "Betsey Johnson Taps Dance Moms' Maddie Ziegler for an Adorable New Collaboration", Glamour, July 1, 2015
  37. ^ "Target Kicks Off Back-to-School Season With a New Class of Kids",, July 14, 2015
  38. ^ Hoff, Victoria Dawson. "Maddie Ziegler Is Now a Runway Model",, August 6, 2015; and Schumann, Rebecka. "‘Dance Moms' Star Mackenzie Ziegler Walks Polo Ralph Lauren Runway With Big Sister Maddie",, August 6, 2015
  39. ^ "Kode 2 Summer 2014 (Sia + Maddie)". Kode Magazine. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Schön! 28 Maddie Ziegler", Schön!, April 2015
  41. ^ "Heimbrod, Mimi. Dance Moms‍ '​ Star Maddie Ziegler: 5 Reasons Why Sia's BFF Is Everyone's Favorite Girl", Design & Trend, May 9, 2015
  42. ^ Photos, Retrieved May 5, 2015
  43. ^ Heimbrod, Mimi. "Dance Moms Star Maddie Ziegler Compares Herself to Miley Cyrus' 'Hanna Montana' Character In Seventeen Magazine Interview", Design & Trend, April 19, 2015
  44. ^ Fisher, Lauren. "24 Hours With Maddie Ziegler", Harpers Bazaar, April 21, 2015
  45. ^ a b Schwartz, Alison. "A Friendly Reminder Sia Muse Maddie Ziegler Is Only 12 Years Old", People, April 3, 2015
  46. ^ a b Sandberg, Patrik. "Maddie Ziegler: Pre-Teen Drama Queen", Dazed, Autumn 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2015
  47. ^ Butterworth, Lisa. "Dance Moms Star Maddie Ziegler on Starring in Sia's Intense New Video and Shia LaBeouf's Dance Moves", Cosmopolitan, January 8, 2015
  48. ^ Mathews, Dana. "Exclusive! Get to Know Maddie Ziegler, Sia's Tiny Dancer", Teen Vogue, April 2015
  49. ^ "The Prodigy" cover feature, Stella, May 10, 2015
  50. ^ Maniac Magazine, September/October 2015 issue, cover and pp. 13–21
  51. ^ Ziegler, Melissa. Vanity Fair,, July 30, 2015
  52. ^ Gross, Zach. "Flaunt Magazine – Maddie Ziegler",, September 25, 2015
  53. ^ Ziegler, Maddie. "Exclusive: Maddie Ziegler's Behind the Scenes Fashion Week Photo Journal", Elle, February 2015
  54. ^ "Dance Moms Stars Launch Limited Fashion Collection". L'Art Magazine. October 13, 2014.
  55. ^ (Untitled). September 29, 2014.
  56. ^ @MaddieZiegler, Instagram. Retrieved September 25, 2015
  57. ^ @MaddieZiegler, Twitter. Retrieved November 2, 2015
  58. ^ De Bertodano, Helena. "Maddie Ziegler interview: the tiny dancer with 1bn YouTube views", The Telegraph, May 10, 2015
  59. ^ Maddie Ziegler YouTube, accessed November 20, 2015; and Furler, Sia. "Sia - Chandelier (Official Video)", YouTube, accessed November 20, 2015
  60. ^ "'Dance Moms' Stars Team Up With Starlight Children’s Foundation; Show Is Renewed for Third Season – OK!". OK!. October 10, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  61. ^ "‘Dance Moms’ Stars Team Up With Starlight Children’s Foundation; Show Is Renewed for Third Season". OK!. October 10, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  62. ^ Lipshutz, Jason. "Sia's 'Chandelier' Video: Dance Moms Star Maddie Ziegler Delivers Dazzling Performance", Billboard, May 6, 2014, accessed August 18, 2015
  63. ^ "Watch an exclusive one-take version of Sia's Chandelier video", The Guardian, June 2, 2014, accessed August 18, 2015
  64. ^ "10 Best Music Videos of 2014", Rolling Stone, December 29, 2014, accessed August 18, 2015
  65. ^ Villarreal, Alexandra. "Why Maddie Ziegler Matters to the Dance World", The Huffington Post, April 7, 2015, accessed August 18, 2015
  66. ^ Gonzales, Erica. "19 Rising Style Icons Aged 19 and Under", Harpers Bazaar, October 26, 2015
  67. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2016: Full List of Nominees", People', November 3, 2015
  68. ^ Sollosi, Mary. "Teen Choice Awards add more nominees", Entertainment Weekly, July 8, 2015
  69. ^ "Dancers Choice Awards 2015: Nominees", Industry Dance Awards, accessed August 16, 2015
  70. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2016", One Three Digital, accessed October 14, 2015

External links[edit]