Those of you familiar with Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition may remember the name Haley Huelsman. The 13-year-old appeared in the second season of Abby Lee Miller‘s competition spinoff, which segued into Haley’s appearances on Dance Moms, and included erupting into a feud with Abby herself! Oh, Abby feuding with a teenager – is this even news at this point? Or is this like a dance world rite of passage?
Haley’s mom Melanie is speaking out about the drama with Abby and why Haley ultimately decided to join Cathy Nesbitt-Stein‘s Candy Apples. Interestingly Melanie shares that Cathy, Abby’s notorious rival and Dance Moms chief villainous (other than the moms of course), is very different off-camera!
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Melanie, a dance teacher herself, admits Haley was “afraid” of Abby, but, because Haley “eats, sleeps and breathes dance,” she allowed her daughter the opportunity to be on Dance Moms and AUDC. “Haley really wanted to be on Abby’s team. She honestly looked up to Maddie [Ziegler]. She was and still is a big fan of Maddie. She was like, ‘Mom, I want to do that. I would love to do that!'”
Unfortunately an incident over Abby’s book, Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned In Dance Class, which Abby complained about during the episode, “Abby’s Trash, Cathy’s Treasure,” derailed all of that. As Abby ranted on the episode, “This Haley chick, the last time I saw this kid and her mother was at an open call audition and I had to finally lay into her and tell her how despicable it was. She showed up outside a book signing that I was doing and signed my book!”
Abby even believed Haley joined Cathy’s Candy Apples for “revenge” and blamed Melanie for putting vengeance before “her daughter’s future.”
Giving her side of the story, Melanie insists Haley only signed the book because fans asked her to! Melanie and Haley attended one of Abby’s book signings near their hometown, where fans recognized Haley and were excited to meet her. Remember: we are talking mainly about teen and pre-teen girls in the dance world, so… “Everyone was coming up to Haley because she was on Abby’s show — or else no one would know who Haley is — saying, ‘I want your autograph,’” Melanie recounted to IBTimes. “So, in return, kids were giving [Haley] Abby’s book. Did I ever think what Haley did would backfire the way it did? Absolutely not.”
She blames Abby for blowing the entire incident out of proportion because of her hatred of Cathy. In fact, Melanie accuses Abby of comparing Haley and herself to the now defunct (but much happier) Christi and Chloe Lukasiak! “We purchased the book. So in actuality, that was our property, or anyone who bought the book, it was their property,” Melanie seethed. “So if the kids wanted my kid to sign it, what was I supposed to say?”
However, following the book incident, Haley was given a scholarship to ALDC’s Booty Camp, where everything seemed fine. So Melanie and Haley were shocked when Abby publicly railed against them during an audition for Abby’s competition team. “She talked about it for a long time at the audition,” Melanie admits, adding that Haley was devastated as she “really wanted” to be a part of the ALDC, despite having trepidations about working with Abby.
Which is why Haley ultimately decided to join Cathy’s team. Melanie says Cathy had been “keeping tabs” on Haley’s dancing for a while and reached out through Facebook, so when a spot opened up on the Candy Apples, they jumped at the chance. “She has seen so much growth in Haley and according to her, she has been trying to get Haley on her team for a while now.”
“People don’t really get to see who she [Cathy] really is because she truly is an amazing person and she really does care about the kids,” Melanie gushed. “You don’t have to be mean and negative and hurtful to get [the kids] to do what they need to do… Haley loves working with Cathy as much I believe she loves working with my daughter.”
Melanie admits that although the fallout with Abby has had lasting effect, they are still grateful for Abby, Lifetime and the ALDC for giving Haley the opportunity to be featured. “We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for her,” she acknowledges.
Above, Melanie & Haley from Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.