Dance Moms Wiki

Abby Lee Miller

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g   Abby Lee Miller
Gender: Female
Born: September 21,[1]
1965[2] or 1966[3]
Age: 48 or 49
Height: 5' 7" (rough estimate)
Home: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Occupation: Choreographer
Affiliations: Abby Lee Dance Company
Reign Dance Productions
Friends and Family
Parents: George L. Miller (father; deceased)
Maryen Lorrain Miller (mother; deceased)
Feuds: Kelly Hyland
Christi Lukasiak
Diane Pent
Jo Anne Morales
Jeanette Cota
Cathy Nesbitt-Stein
Mitchell Finke
John Corella
Dawn Check
Pets: Broadway Baby (poodle; deceased)[4][5]
Quick Links
Search YouTube for Abby Lee Miller
  Everyone's replaceable. 

Abigale[6] "Abby" Lee Miller is the owner and a teacher of the Abby Lee Dance Company. She is known for her role on Dance Moms of often pushing her students to their breaking point in an effort to win national titles. She started the Abby Lee Dance Company in 1980.


Early Years

Originally from Pittsburgh, Abby got her love for dance from her mother, Maryen Lorrain Miller, who is a 50-year member of Dance Masters of America. Maryen owned seven dance studios in Miami, Florida, prior to marrying George L. Miller of Pittsburgh and giving birth to Abby. Maryen taught classes all over the city before opening her main studio in Penn Hills.

Abby took classes at her mother’s studio throughout her formative years. After traveling with her mother to several national dance conventions, she was inspired and captivated by the newest “dance craze” competitions. At age 13, she started her career as a dance choreographer, and proceeded to open the Abby Lee Dance Company at only 14 years old. Since her studio's opening in 1980, it is estimated that she has taught 3 to 4 thousand students throughout her career. Now known for her incredible dedication, discipline and passion, Abby is one of the most sought-after dance teachers in Pittsburgh, as she has turned out numerous professional dance stars.[7], including twelve featured on Broadway.[8]

In September 2013, Diane Pent, mother of Brandon Pent, used social media to support long-standing rumors that Abby was facing bankruptcy before the show.[9] In January 2014, TMZ reported that Abby had filed for bankruptcy in December 2010, finding herself in trouble due to previous real estate tax debts, and declining customer interest in her studio.[10]

In Dance Moms

Abby is a formidable, extremely strict teacher with high expectations for her students, and her harsh words have been known to bring many of her students to tears on an occasional basis. Abby has stated before that she "would rather be the one to make her students cry in her studio than have them break down and cry in an open-casting call in front of hundreds of other talented performers."[11] Despite the severe pressure she often applies to the girls, Abby still seeks to instill in her students a close sense of camaraderie between one another, and has noted "there has not been a single fight between the dancers on the show"[12], to the amazement of the show's crew.[13] Abby often gets emotional if she is very proud of a student, as when she watched Mackenzie grow as a dancer while rehearsing in the episode Brooke's Back; and elsewhere stating "what she most loves about teaching is seeing the joy on a student's face when they first achieve a goal or learn a new dance skill."[7]

Abby commonly fights with the mothers of her students, especially Christi Lukasiak, the mother of Chloe Lukasiak; both have stated openly that they cannot stand each other, their fighting extending even beyond the show's filming.[14] Abby also often gets into passionate fights with Kelly Hyland,a mother who was once a member of Abby's original batch of students when Abby was fourteen[15], but eventually quit in favor of cheerleading. Abby is frequently criticized by most of the moms for favoritism towards Maddie Ziegler, whose mother Melissa tends to ally herself with Abby, unlike the other dance moms. Abby additionally has a rivalry with Cathy Stein, formerly a dance mom at ALDC, who now runs the rival studio, Candy Apple's Dance Center. Abby and Cathy regularly taunt and mock each other on the show, although they have admitted to still being friends away from the cameras.

Abby is known for producing employable dancers and attempts to school the girls in behavior as well. She cares for the girls, defending herself from critics by saying she has served as part time guardian in raising thousands of her students, doing everything from driving them alone to competitions to nursing them when sick and tending their broken bones.[16] She also points out that "with ninety hours of footage filmed per week, edited down to forty minutes often of the most dramatic", many are left with a distorted view on the frequency and severity of the conflicts.[17] Abby maintains close connections to many of her former students[7], including her co-choreographer on the show, Gianna Martello.[18]

Nevertheless, Abby's critics have charged her from "crossing a line from disciplinarian into the clearly abusive with her verbal assaults on students".[19]

It's also been said that students must first sell their souls before being worthy of dancing at her school, Christi claiming that Abby would blackball her daughter in the world of dance, should they break their contract and move to another studio.

Abby credits her friend [20] and Dance Moms executive producer John Corella as being instrumental with her in developing the show.[11] Abby believes Dance Moms is successful largely because the character relationships were real long before the show's creation, including conflicts with moms over attention given to Maddie. More recently in 2013, Abby has said that Dance Moms: Miami did not work because they auditioned girls to be on the show.[21]

In Abbygeddon, the mid-season finale in season two, Abby leaves the competition after Maddie forgets her solo. Abby told Melissa that her mother was sick so she called a cab for her. As it turns out Abby's mother wasn't sick. She told the lie to sneak out of the competition because she was embarrassed that what the moms had told she realized was true.

In the episode I Know What You Did Last Competition, Abby was accused by some of the moms of deliberately causing Maddie's music to skip while Maddie was onstage.

On Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition

Abby also executive-produces and stars in a competition reality series called Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, also airing on Lifetime Television. Abby serves as a judge, along with Robin Antin (Season 1), Rachelle Rak (Season 2 - Present) and Richy Jackson; with Kevin Manno as host. The show focuses on dancers, 6 to 13 years old, competing against each other with various styles of dances. The dancers get to perform in front of the judges for a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School's Young Dancer Program and $100,000.

An announcement has been made for "Abby's Ultimate Australian Dance Competition" in 2015.

For more details on Abby's work on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, please follow this link to a related wiki.

On Abby's Studio Rescue

Abby gained another show entitled Abby's Studio Rescue.[22][23] It premiered on June 17th, 2014. The series ran for 2 episodes but was schedualed for 7. The series is curently in limbo as the 3rd episode (Daughter Dearest) has yet to be released. Rumors have spread that the series has been cancelled as the ratings are extreamly low, some protests by Dance Moms fans over Abby's recent behavior, and Abby's lack of promotion for the series despite it being in it's pivitol pilot season.

For more details on Abby's work on Abby's Studio Rescue, please follow this link to a related wiki.


In addition to taking dance lessons from her mother, she also went to Girl Scouts, had clarinet lessons, did roller skating, ice skating, had sewing lessons at Sears, took swim team in the summer and ski club in the winter, and attended Charm School.[7]

She hates being onstage and has never enjoyed performing.[7]

On January 24th, 2014, rumors emerged that Abby became engaged to her boyfriend Michael Padula based on their exchanges in social media.[24] However, the engagement was later reported as nothing short of a hoax, after Abby later downplayed it, and Abby said it had served to give her dying mother some peace of mind to know someone was there for her daughter.

On February 8th, 2014, Abby's mother, Maryen Lorrain Miller, died of Stage 4 Colon Cancer.

Following her mother's death and the airing of the physical altercation with Kelly in Big Trouble in the Big Apple, Abby was named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit brought by Kelly against Collins Avenue Productions,[25] seeking monetary damages from various charges, including infliction of emotional distress. Amongst legal claims as to the background of the case, Kelly's lawyers state that Abby was "caring and nurturing" towards Kelly's daughters before the show; but is paid to be "abusive and bullying" as "part of a deliberate scheme by producers to generate interest in the show." In November 2014, Judge Ruth Kwan dismissed Kelly's charges against Abby and the producers regarding infliction of emotional distress against Paige; and for defamation against Kelly. (On additional charges of breach-of-contract and negligent damage to the Hyland home's floor, a possible trial date against producers was set for April 2016.)[26][27]


  • According to Abby, there is actually something in contracts, specifically for title holders, that leads to fines if they leave Abby as their teacher-of-record ($100,000 according to Christi); but this does not apply to leaving the studio in general.[28] When an ALDC student was asked if the $100,000 penalty was really true for the Dance Moms girls, the student laughed, and indicated it applied to more than just the girls on the show.[29]
  • Abby's membership in Dance Masters of America was reportedly terminated in early 2012 by her own chapter.[30] Abby had been a member since 1986.[31] Her mother, Maryen Lorrain Miller, continues to be listed as a lifetime member (since 1946), and in association with Reign Dance Productions.[32]
  • According to Abby after Season 1, the girls were not being paid, because then they would be considered professionals.[33] However, at the time of filming the early third season episode Out With the Old, In With the New, Abby claimed on Twitter that the moms were on strike to seek better pay and perks[34]; Kelly later echoed this claim regarding the actual nature of the parking lot sit-in dispute.[35] Kelly's 2014 lawsuit against Collins Avenue (link to pdf) includes a copy of changes in her Collins Avenue contract, including various forms of compensation to be paid to the Hylands as a group; a small fraction of which was allotted directly to Paige and Brooke, at $1050 to each star per regular episode in the season.
  • Abby liked her racy[36] paparazzi photo with executive producer John Corella so much that she used it for her desktop picture.[37]
  • According to Christi, Abby loves controversy, and her "signature piece" choreography in 2010 "was about a heroin addict who killed herself and kept her baby in a box."[38]
  • Abby jokes that the guy she 'dated' on Dance Moms has a wife who is still upset about it.[39]
  • In 2012, Abby appeared in the music video for Werqin' Girl, a song by drag queen Shangela Laquifa Wadley. The song was also used for one of Nia's solos.
  • Abby claims that Christi is under contract from Lifetime and Collins Avenue, and she can't get rid of Christi and Chloe; but that they also can't quit.[40]
  • Abby's favorite genre to choreograph is "probably" musical theater.[41]
  • Abby claims that getting hit with Cathy's purse was the most surprising thing that happened on the show.[42]
  • Abby will sit for hours on end in her office, looking for the perfect music for her dancers.[43]
  • Abby has a celebrity crush on Tom Cruise.[44]
  • Abby's favorite channel is HGTV, where she enjoys watching Carter Oosterhouse.[45]
  • According to fellow high school classmates at Penn Hills High School, Abby's nickname was Abby-whale.[citation needed]
  • Abby was guest judge on Dancing With the Stars Season 18, Episode 8.
  • Abby, along with several other members of the Dance Moms cast, appeared and starred in Todrick Hall's video "Freaks Like Me" as the Fairy Godmother. It was released on July 3rd, 2014. The music video can be seen in full here
  • Abby gets the girls to tag her in social media posts, in order to gain Abby more followers.[46]


 What is it about me? Why do I attract all the crazy ones? 
 Abby, "Out With the Old, In With the New"
 Everyone's replaceable. 
 You save those tears for your pillow. 
 I produce amazing, employable dancers. 
 Abby, "The Competition Begins"
 Suck it up, I don't want to see those tears. 
 Abby, "The Competition Begins"
 Girls, what are you doing? Those legs are about as straight as Elton John. 
 Abby, "The Competition Begins"
 These are her friends, these are her comrades, this is her team. She shouldn't belittle others; that's my job. 
 Abby, "No One Likes A Bully"
 This is a routine they learned three months ago. They didn't forget it because, oh, they're kids. They forgot it because they're irresponsible dancers. 
 Abby, "Bullets and Ballet"
 Remember, second place is the first loser on stage. 
 Abby, "Bullets and Ballet"
 Whenever a kid screws up, I know there's always a Dance Mom behind it. 
 Abby, "Abby's Dance-a-Thon"
 It takes fifteen years to make an overnight success! 
 I'm Abby, I can do whatever I want. 
 Abby on Twitter


To view the gallery for Abby Lee Miller, click here.

External Links


  2. age 41 in article from June 2007; she would be 42 on September 21, 2007
  3. says born 1966 Article claims she is 47, published June 18, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5
  8. Abby's Dance-a-Thon
  11. 11.0 11.1
    Q: "If the Dm girls break the contract with aldc and leave do they have to pay one hundred thousand dollars to get out of it"
    A: "Not just the dance mom girls lol"

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