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Dance Moms may have officially wrapped years ago, but fans are still invested in the dancers. This is particularly true of the select few alumni that have gone on to have mainstream success. With a budding film career, Maddie Ziegler is often the topic of conversation amongst fans of Dance Moms. She recently made headlines when she reflected on her experience on the reality TV show and her now non-existent relationship with Abby Lee Miller.

Dance Moms alums Abby Lee Miller and Maddie Ziegler
‘Dance Moms’ alum Abby Lee Miller and Maddie Ziegler | Caroline McCredie/Getty Images

Maddie Ziegler was Abby Lee Miller’s clear favorite

Miller served as one of Ziegler’s primary dance teachers for over a decade. Because of The Fallout actor’s perfectionist tendencies, musicality, and passion for dancing, she became Miller’s favorite dancer. Ziegler was constantly put on a pedestal, with Miller incessantly championing her as the best. She often put her other dancers down by comparing them to Ziegler as well.

The ‘West Side Story’ actor feels at peace since she left ‘Dance Moms’ and cut off communication with her former teacher

But being Miller’s favorite wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Ziegler faced tremendous pressure to always bring home a win. Even when she was sick or having a panic attack, she was expected to nab the first-place trophy. Miller’s teachings made the West Side Story actor believe that she was less than if she wasn’t the overall high score winner. These teachings were something that Ziegler had to unlearn after she left Dance Moms in season 6.

Since leaving Dance Moms, Ziegler has cut off all contact with Miller, saying that she feels at peace with them not speaking. And while it’s rare that the 19-year-old addresses her former dancer teacher, Miller has brought up Ziegler (and her sister) quite a few times. In fact, she attributes a lot of Ziegler’s success to her tutelage.

Miller admits that she didn’t make Ziegler but takes credit for some of her success

“I don’t think, had she not been in my studio, she would be where she is today,” Miller told Us Weekly about Ziegler in 2018. “And I can confidently say that. I’m not gonna say that I ‘made’ anybody. I didn’t make her, her mom and dad created her, but I certainly added my two cents in.”

While it’s true that Ziegler trained at the Abby Lee Dance Company, it’s likely more true that the success of Dance Moms and her own drive contributed to her fame. After all, Miller trained countless other dancers who have never reached the level of success that Ziegler holds.


‘Dance Moms’ Castmates Say Abby Lee Miller Was ‘Worse’ Off Camera

But Ziegler isn’t the only person whose career Miller apparently feels responsible for. Sophia Lucia, who was on Dance Moms Season 3 for just a few episodes, has shared that Miller had sent her DMs on Instagram. In the messages, Miller allegedly does everything from criticizing Lucia, to asking for favors, to telling the dancer that she owes Miller her career.

Ziegler has already admitted that Miller helped her

For her part, Ziegler has never shied away from the fact that Miller did, in fact, help her in some ways. However, Miller’s tutelage, or even support, didn’t override the toxicity that she experienced. Ultimatley, Ziegler made the choice to put her mental health first. While speaking about Miller to Cosmopolitian, the dancer explained her decision to quit Dance Moms. “She trained me, she helped me, but also, I knew I would be OK without her, and I was sick of being in a toxic environment,” Ziegler shared. “I was like, ‘This is not for me. I can’t do this.'”