Dance Moms
GenreReality
Starring
Theme music composerWe3Kings[1]
Opening theme"Living on the Dance Floor" performed by Nikko Lowe
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes224 (including 10 specials) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Jeff Collins
  • Bryan Stinson
  • John R Corella
  • Kimberly Chessler
  • Michael Hammond
  • Robert Caplain
  • Scott Shatsky
  • Lindsay Weiglein
  • Tessa Khalaief
  • Rae Shapiro
Running time42 minutes
Production companiesCollins Avenue Entertainment
Lifetime
Original release
NetworkLifetime
ReleaseJuly 13, 2011 (2011-07-13) –
September 10, 2019 (2019-09-10)
Related

Dance Moms is an American reality television series that aired on Lifetime from July 13, 2011 to September 10, 2019. Created by Collins Avenue Productions, the show followed 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 mothers. Set originally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and later in Los Angeles, California, the show was primarily filmed at the Abby Lee Dance Company (ALDC) studios. The show followed the girls on the ALDC Junior Elite Competition Team as they learn their dances and then compete with them at dance competitions all across the country.

Synopsis

Primarily set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, America, and later in Los Angeles, California, Dance Moms originally followed the Abby Lee Dance Company's Junior Elite Competition Team of dancers ages six to thirteen as they traveled 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 depicted the doting mothers as rivals of each other on behalf of their daughters, often arguing with Miller and each other, and sometimes closing ranks against rival teams. Dance performances were creatively conceptualized by Miller and her dance instructors, with input from the show's producers, while the choreography was done by Miller, her staff, and occasionally a guest choreographer. Various rival dance teams spurred the team's competitiveness. The show's success was 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 watched them grow up and improve their skills.

The show features Miller as an extremely strict dance team coach who, over the series, relied 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 used a pyramid of individual headshots and gave feedback to each girl about her ranking; previous week's performance; attitude; effort; the behavior of the girl herself; and the behavior of her mother. Miller had never used a pyramid in her studio prior to Dance Moms, and when once asked about 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."[2]

In season 6, Miller relocated the team to Los Angeles to help build her reputation in the West Coast, and while the team continued weekly competitions, the focus shifted somewhat to include preparation for careers in the acting and music businesses.

During the second half of season 7, several dancers and their mothers left the ALDC to form "The Irreplaceables." Abby left the show several episodes later, followed by the remaining ALDC dancers and mothers.

In July 2018, Miller announced her return for season 8 of Dance Moms.[3] Executive producer Bryan Stinson announced the show would be casting a whole new team, with final callbacks being in September 2018.[4] On January 12, a new team was selected, consisting of eight dancers.[5] A promo for the new season was released in February, revealing that the show would be set around Miller's diagnosis of Burkitt's Lymphoma while returning "back to her roots" with a new team.[6] The season is set in Pittsburgh, in the same studio where the show began in 2011. Season 8 premiered on Lifetime on June 4, 2019.[7]

Cast

Abby Lee Dance Company

Seasons 1–7 cast

Dance Moms at the May 2015 opening of ALDC-LA in Santa Monica, California, season 5. From left: Holly, Kira Girard, Melissa, Jill Vertes and Jessalynn Siwa.

Season 8 cast

Moms Dancers Appearances
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni Maddie & Mackenzie Ziegler Main
Christi Lukasiak Chloe Lukasiak Main Main[a]
Holly Hatcher-Frazier Nia Sioux Main
Kelly Hyland Brooke & Paige Hyland Main Main[b]
Cathy Nesbitt-Stein Vivi-Anne Stein Main Recurring Recurring
Jill Vertes Kendall Vertes Main
Kristie Ray Asia Monet Ray Main
Kira Girard Kalani Hilliker Recurring Main
Jessalynn Siwa JoJo Siwa Main Guest
Ashlee Allen Brynn Rumfallo Recurring Main
Yolanda Walmsley Elliana Walmsley Recurring Main Recurring
Stacey Ketchman Lilliana Ketchman Recurring Main
Camille Bridges Camryn Bridges Main
Jaime Caes Maesi Caes Main Guest
Tricia Farrar Brady Farrar Main
Ann Colin Hannah Colin Main
Joanne Paolantonio GiaNina Paolantonio Main
Michelle Georgiana Sarah Georgiana Main
Ashley Hosbach Pressley Hosbach Main
Erin Kristich Savannah Kristich Main
Lakisha Samuels Paris Moore Main

"The Irreplaceables"

Coaches

Moms and dancers


Select Ensemble

In the second half of Season 4, Abby created a Select Ensemble team, featuring dancers that she selected from 3 separate auditions. The purpose of the team was to have one dancer go up against each original team member as well as a competing group dance. The Select Ensemble team disbanded in the Season 4 finale after the original team beat them at nationals.


"The Replacements"

In Season 3 Episode 2, the original team members and their mothers did not show up to filming in an attempt to get Kelly Hyland and her daughters to come back to the team. Abby brought in four new dancers to create a small group, but this group disbanded in the next episode when the original team returned.


Mini Team

In Season 6, Abby created a Mini team, consisting of all new dancers between the ages of 6 and 10, hoping that a brand new set of young dancers would continue the Abby Lee Dance Company's legacy.[5] The team was disbanded in the Season 7 premiere, with the exceptions of Elliana Walmsley and Lilliana Ketchman, who were brought back to dance alongside the Elite team.

Rival studios

Episodes

Main article: List of Dance Moms episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113July 13, 2011 (2011-07-13)October 12, 2011 (2011-10-12)
228[c]January 10, 2012 (2012-01-10)September 25, 2012 (2012-09-25)
339[d]January 1, 2013 (2013-01-01)September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17)
432[e]January 1, 2014 (2014-01-01)October 14, 2014 (2014-10-14)
532[f]January 6, 2015 (2015-01-06)August 18, 2015 (2015-08-18)
633[g]January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05)November 22, 2016 (2016-11-22)
729[h]November 29, 2016 (2016-11-29)October 24, 2017 (2017-10-24)
818[i]June 4, 2019 (2019-06-04)September 10, 2019 (2019-09-10)
Notes
  1. ^ The Lukasiaks made a Guest appearance in episode 13 and 14
  2. ^ The Hylands left the show in episode 7 (Kelly returns for episode 9 and makes her final appearance) after a physical altercation with Abby and Kelly
  3. ^ Season 2 also included two special episodes (first, second) that were not allocated episode numbers by Lifetime.
  4. ^ Season 3 also included one special episode that was not allocated an episode number by Lifetime.
  5. ^ Season 4 also included two special episodes (first, second) that were not allocated episode numbers by Lifetime.
  6. ^ Season 5 also included two special episodes (first, second) that were not allocated episode numbers by Lifetime.
  7. ^ Season 6 also included one special episode that was not allocated an episode number by Lifetime.
  8. ^ Season 7 also included one special episode that was not allocated an episode number by Lifetime.
  9. ^ Season 8 also included three special episodes (first, second, third) that were not allocated episode numbers 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 Nominated
2014 2014 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show 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 Nominated [33]
2017 2017 Teen Choice Awards Choice Reality TV Show Nominated [34]

Controversy and criticism

Miller has received criticism for her often toxic and abusive teaching methods featured on the show. Miller has openly shamed students for their appearance, weight, and level of intelligence. Several members of the Abby Lee Dance Company (both on and off the show) have came forward about Miller's violent tactics, which include forcing students to leap whilst holding a 5-pound sack of potatoes, remarking "if you gain 5 pounds, you'll feel that heavy." Miller has also been accused of naming her students' bellies, posting their weights around the studio, pinching students until they bleed, and sending her underage students underwear and lingerie for Christmas.

Several episodes featured controversial costume choices made by Miller. 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.[35][36] The episode is not included on the season's DVD and is not available on any streaming services.[37]

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".[38] On a January 29 appearance on The View, Miller announced that Hyland and her daughters Brooke and Paige Hyland were no longer contracted with and would no longer appear on Dance Moms.[39] After the final episode of season 4, Christi and Chloe Lukasiak also left Dance Moms, following a comment that Miller made about a medical condition that Chloe had.[40]

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 was charged with bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations in hiding some $755,000.[41][42] In June 2016, Miller pled guilty to the charges, and entered a plea deal with the IRS.[citation needed] In May 2017, Miller was sentenced to one year and a day in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.[43][44]

On June 2, 2020, Miller posted a black square to Instagram on Blackout Tuesday. This caused Adriana Smith, the mother of Dance Moms season 8 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. The following day 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."[45] 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." 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 announced in April.[46]

Spin-offs, tours, and podcasts

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,[47] but was cancelled in September 2012.

A sister program titled Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition[48] 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. Ray, Siwa, and Hilliker made their debuts on the show before joining the ALDC Elite Team on Dance Moms.

On June 24, 2014, another sister program premiered, titled Abby's Studio Rescue. The series followed Miller as she assisted various dance studios across the United States, improving them in areas such as choreography, decor, and staffing. A single season of the show was produced.[citation needed]

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.[49]

A British version of Dance Moms titled Dance Mums with Jennifer Ellison premiered on October 20, 2014, and ran for two seasons. Jennifer Ellison hosted the series, set at her Liverpool dance school, Jelli Studios.[50] Dance Mums was produced by Shiver Productions.

In 2016, it was reported that Ellen DeGeneres was developing a film based on Dance Moms.[51]

In 2018, the Irreplaceables (excluding the Bridges and Fraziers) embarked on The Irreplaceables Tour. The tour included dances, meet and greets, and fan Q&As.[citation needed]

In April 2020, it was announced that another spin-off Abby's Virtual Dance-Off would be set to debut during the summer of 2020. The 12-episode show would consist of taped submissions from dance contestants, with Miller judging via video conference, in keeping with social distancing practiced during the coronavirus pandemic.[52] However, Lifetime pulled the show on June 5, 2020, as well as cut all ties with Miller, after former cast members Camille Bridges and Adriana Smith accused Miller of using racist and condescending language towards their daughters during previous seasons of Dance Moms.[53]

In June 2022, Kelly Hyland and Christi Lukasiak announced their podcast Back to the Barre, which would recap an episode of Dance Moms each week.[citation needed]

It was announced in April 2023 that Miller would be hosting a podcast titled Leave It On The Dance Floor. Each week, she and various guests would discuss information from behind the scenes of Dance Moms.[citation needed]

In September 2023, Miller announced that she would be participating in a new reality competition series, in the vein of Big Brother, on the Brandon TV streaming app. Titled Mad House, it will feature young adult dancers. Hannah Colin from Season 8 of Dance Moms is expected to appear.[citation needed]

Reunion special and season nine

On November 1, 2023, Lifetime announced a reunion special titled Dance Moms Reunion, which is scheduled to premiere in 2024. The reunion will feature Brooke and Paige Hyland, Chloe Lukasiak, Kendall Vertes, Kalani Hilliker, and JoJo Siwa, as well as their respective mothers (excluding Christi Lukasiak). Miller and executive producer, Brian Stinson, have teased a season nine of Dance Moms. Miller has stated that Kendall Vertes, Kalani Hilliker, and JoJo Siwa could appear on the upcoming season. It has since been stated that Miller's rendition of season nine and the official season nine are two separate shows.[54]

See also

References

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