Abby Lee Miller owns the Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is also a trainer of the girls on the reality TV show Dance Moms. She is very often portrayed as a martinet, but it is on account of her dedicated efforts to bring out the best in her trainees and probably due to her being a little too overambitious and having high expectations from her students. Abby Lee Miller hails from Pittsburgh, and she inherited the love for dance from her mother, Maryen Lorrian Miller, who owns seven studios in Miami and is a 50-year member of the Dance Masters of America. Before opening her studio in Penn Hills, Maryen taught in many different places, and Abby took classes with her mother in her studio. Abby started the Abby Lee Dance Company in 1980, and she has taught more than 3,000 students as of now. She realized in her adolescence that she had the potential to be a choreographer. At times it is remarked that due to her being overweight, she opted to be a choreographer rather than being a dancer. A choreographer may or may not be a dancer as well, and as far Abby is concerned, she is an exclusive choreographer.
1. Madison Ziegler
Madison Ziegler was born to Kurt and Melissa Ziegler on September 30, 2002. Compared with other students, she spends more time in training. She is considered Abby’s favorite student. She likes to perform lyrical and tap dances but likes to see all the other types of dance. She has a room called The Store in her house where she keeps all her dancing items. Brooke Hyland is her closest friend at Abby Lee Dancing Company. She is nicknamed Missy in her school, and some friends consider her bossy. She has performed in many genres including her tap genre solo USO Show; lyrical genre solos, Cry, Beautiful, and Angel; Jazz genre solo Lights, Camera, Action! And ethnic genre solo Mastero Man.
2. Mackenzie Ziegler
Mackenzie Ziegler was born to Kurt and Melissa Ziegler on June 4, 2004. She is the younger sister of Maddie Ziegler and is usually ranked lower than her sister by her mother and Abby. While Maddie tops the list, she is usually at the bottom and doesn’t like solo performances. She likes to perform in the group of elder girls saying, ‘I’m totally ready to dance with the big girls.’ She
is perhaps the only student of Abby who can afford to laugh when the disciplinarian Abby is angry as she says, ‘Sometimes when Abby yells, it makes me laugh ’cause her face turns red.’
3. Chloe Lukasiak
Chloe Lukasiak was born to Marc and Christi Lukasiak on May 25, 2001. She is a sweet, strong, and competent dancer. She is the main competitor of Maddie Ziegler at Abby Lee Dance Company. Although she has topped the list a few times, she is usually at the middle of the pyramid. Her preferred genres are lyrical or musical theater. Her lyrical genre solos include: Mother and Dream on a Star. She has won three crowns; National Small Fry, Miss Dance Educators of America 2010, and Junior Miss Dance Educators of America 2011. She has won a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School. The Sisters Grimm is her favorite book.
4. Kendall Vertes
Kendall Vertes was born to Erno and Jill Vertes on December 9, 2002. She is a member of the Abby Lee Dance Company and had been a member of Candy Apple’s Dance Center before joining Abby Lee Dance Company. Kendall Vertes’s mother had been quite anxious to get a better place for Kendall Vertes in the Abby Lee Dance Company where she had been mostly at the bottom of the pyramid. It is sometimes alleged that Kendall’s mother had tried to win Abby’s favor by offering presents to Abby. Vertes was withdrawn from the Abby Lee Dance Company and sent back to Candy Apple’s Dance Center but was later brought back to Abby’s Company where she had to restart from the very first lessons.
5. Melissa Ziegler-Gison
Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni is the mother of Mackenzie Ziegler and Maddie Ziegler, and she is a friend of Abby Lee Miller, the owner of Abby Lee Dance Company. A general feeling prevails that Maddie and Mackenzie are liked by Abby more than other girls, but Melissa maintains that it’s only on a meritorious basis and has nothing to do with nepotism. Many mothers, however, get annoyed and complain against this preferential treatment. Melissa had worked in the front office of the Abby Lee Dance Company to pay the tuition fees of her daughter. On a TV show, she declared that she had stopped working at the Abby Lee Dance Company. She says, ‘Christi is jealous of my nine-year-old daughter, and I think it’s ridiculous.’
6. Kelly Hyland
Kelly Hyland was born on May 16, 1971, and she is the mother of Brooke, Josh, and Paige Hyland. She was a dancer at the Abby Lee Dance Company but gave up dancing and opted to lead spectators in traditional cheering during dancing competitions. She is very protective of her children. She criticizes Abby for spending a shorter time with her children resulting in their low ranking. Kelly thinks that her leaving the Abby Lee Dance Company was the main cause of Abby’s maltreatment or ignoring her children. In I Know What You Did Last Competition, Kelly didn’t allow both Paige and Brook to perform; therefore, they had to undergo probation.
7. Christi Lukasiak
Christi Lukasiak is the wife of Mark Lukasiak and mother of Chloe and Clara Lukasiak. She is known for her rivalry against Abby. She is very protective of her daughter Chloe and doesn’t allow anyone to belittle her. She is the owner of a children’s fitness franchise named Stretch-N-Grow, located in Pittsburgh. Christi has often claimed that Maddie Ziegler is unduly favored by Abby who spends more time with her. Cathy Stein had insulted her once as she called her dress as cheap.
8. Gianna Martello
Gianna Martello was born to Paul Martello and Kim Martello on June 10, 1989. She is one of the most famous dancers trained at the Abby Lee Dancing Company. She started dancing at the age of four, and her talent was explored to its full potential under the intensive training and direction of Abby Lee Miller. She is the recipient of numerous regional and national awards. She started choreographing along with Ms. Miller at the age of 16. She has graduated from the Point Park University.
9. Brandon Pent
Brandon Pent was born to Fred Pent and Diane Pent on July 16, 1995. He is one of the famous dancers from the Abby Lee Dance Company first featured in the eighth episode of Season One of Dance Moms. Any Time Now is his pre-Dance Moms solo. His notable duets include My Eyes Adore You with Brook Hyland, and She’s So Beautiful with Payton Ackerman. He is influenced by Frank Sinatra and likes jazz because of the faster and sharper moves. He likes hunting, fishing, and playing football.
10. Payton Ackerman
Payton Ackerman was born to Leslie Ackerman and Greg Ackerman on August 24, 1997. She is an Abby Lee Dance Company’s dancer. She was introduced in season two of the Dance Moms show. An opportunity arose for Payton when Cathy pulled Vivi-Anne. The spot was later on filled by Kendall Vertes. Both Payton Ackerman and her mother Leslie Ackerman are portrayed as short-tempered and rude at the show. Her season two performances include: No one Likes a Bully, Brooke’s Back, Wardrobe Malfunction, Maddie Has a Secret, and Worst Birthday Party Ever!
Whereas choreography is the planning of A to Z in dance, dancing is the implementation of that plan, and Abby doesn’t like the latter, as she said, ‘I hate to be on stage, never enjoyed performing. That’s one reason I am a great teacher.’ What jogging is to the physical health, dancing is to the spiritual wellness, and Abby ensures that her students enjoy this ecstatic relationship of body and soul. Her ultimate objective is to enable her students to get employed and earn a decent living.