The 'Dance Moms' Cast Have Mixed Feelings on Abby Lee Miller's Methods

The Dance Moms cast have mixed feelings about how their former dance teacher, Abby Lee Miller, treated them on the series.

“I think that there’s a lot of things that I don’t agree with that Abby did as a dance teacher,” Kalani Hiliker, who is now a dance teacher herself, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the Lifetime reunion special. “So I kind of do the complete opposite in a way.”

Dance Moms followed a group of dancers — and their mothers — as they joined Abby’s eponymous dance company. After the show’s premiere in 2011, Abby, 58, rose to fame due to controversial coaching techniques and became a reality TV villain. Throughout the series, Abby pushed her dancers to the extreme as she developed their talent and pushed them to win competitions.

Kalani, 23, explained that after she wrapped up the show in 2017 she lost her “love for dance” due to burnout. However, being able to teach a new generation of talent helped her reignite her childhood passion.

“I know how special my childhood was because of dance,” she told Us. “So I like to make these kids have an amazing childhood with dance and love it just as much as I do.”

Kendall Vertes, who currently dances for her college team, acknowledged that dance taught her “a lot of discipline” that she uses in her everyday life.

“I’ve learned so many life lessons outside of the dance studio,” Kendall, 21, told Us. “Obviously, the comments could sometimes be taken too far, but I mean, we had no control of that, so we just kept doing what we were told.”

Dance Moms Cast Share If They Think Abby Lee Miller Took Things Too Far on the Show 491
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While sisters Paige and Brooke Hyland had their ups and downs with Abby throughout their time on the show, they admitted that they believed in their teacher’s dance expertise.

“I typically always trusted Abby when it came to that,” Brooke, 26, said. “She knew what she was doing when it came to storyline, choreography, and costume. She knew how to tell a story on stage.”

Brooke added that Abbly gave her and the rest of the young cast members more than just dance lessons.

“We always say this, but Abby taught us a lot more than just dance,” she explained. “So many life lessons were learned. On the regular … I’m like, oh, Abby, I’m picturing her jabbing me in the back and fixing my posture.”

Dance Moms Cast Share If They Think Abby Lee Miller Took Things Too Far on the Show 490

Kalani, Kendall, Brooke and Paige reunited with fellow Dance Moms alums Jojo Siwa and Chloe Lukasiak to revisit their time on the series and their experience with Abby. (Nia Sioux, Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler ultimately decided to not participate.)

According to Kalani and Kendall, Lifetime got in touch with them asking if they would be interested in a reunion which the group agreed.

Former Dance Moms Stars Will Reunite for 2 Hour Special Event

Related: ‘Dance Moms’ Reunion Premieres in May on Lifetime: Everything to Know

Lifetime/YouTube The Dance Moms girls and their mothers are about to leave it on the dance floor once more on Dance Moms: The Reunion. Lifetime confirmed in November 2023 that the OG dancers and their moms would come together for a new TV special. The network revealed new details on Wednesday, March 6. “Dance Moms: […]

And I feel like now’s a good time because we’re all a lot older and we’re all adults and we can all have adult conversations,” Kendall said. “So I think if not now, it probably would’ve never happened, only because our lives are only getting busier, and so luckily it worked out.”

Dance Moms: The Reunion premieres on Lifetime Wednesday, May 1, at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Aileen Bergin

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