Dance Moms: Most Shocking and Disturbing Moments

Dance Moms
Photo Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

I have a friend whose daughter is a beautiful dancer. She is poised and determined and has a true passion for her craft. When I catch a rerun of Dance Moms, I am disturbed that mothers ever let Abby Lee Miller bully their daughters to the point of tears. The entire show consisted of little dancers who were allowed by their parents to be picked on. Whether it was their looks or their level of intelligence, it wasn’t nice. Abby was not polite as she often told the parents to have their children medically checked.

For many, Dance Moms was a comfort show. The Lifetime series showed us that no matter what was going on in our lives, at least we were not being yelled out while wearing tutus. But amongst the tantrums, there were moments of greatness when it came to the dancing. Their routines each week were perfectly choreographed magic. But Abby’s cruelness took hold somewhere along the line and never let go.  

Brooke goes on a date

Brooke Hyland was the eldest on the dance squad. But it didn’t make her date with fellow dancer Kevin any less weird. Both were children, and the adults somehow thought it was appropriate to force them into a planned night out. The scene is almost unbearable to watch as Kevin was 17 and Brooke was just 15. Abby felt the two needed to work on their chemistry for their duet to be a success at the next competition. During her confessional Abby stated, “I think Kevin could charm the pants off of everyone,” after mocking Brooke for not being interested in boys yet. 

Not surprisingly, Brooke had the most sense, even in her preteen years. She noted that she didn’t want a boyfriend at dance because it would mean she would need to see him more. After telling her mother that she would be dining out for the evening, Booke added, “If Brandon thinks anything is going to happen between us, he is crazy.” 

Stripping 101

It is never quite comfortable to watch young girls perform on stage. We’ve all seen the Toddlers & Tiaras kids with pounds of makeup. And every parent recalls the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. So it was extremely uncomfortable to see Abby choreograph a strip tease showgirl number complete with nude leotards. Abby was thinking about how to “strategically” place the bright pink fans as if these little girls were working on the Las Vegas trip.

I couldn’t tell if Abby was joking when she stated, “I wanted my girls to learn the proper technique because one day, one of them will be a showgirl.” Abby continued to shout commands about how to place their fans, saying, “I’m hot! You’re mean! You can’t have me! You can’t afford me! Crotch, boobs.” I am still sitting here scratching my head at why the mothers allowed this. But it is the age-old argument of sex selling, but at what cost?   

Abby mocks a dancer’s voice

Abby was never known for being nice. But it says something when a middle-aged lady chooses to pick on a sweet young child about something she can’t change. This happened multiple times, but a moment that stood out was when she mocked Sophia Lucia’s voice. Listen, Sophia spoke in a very high-pitched, squeaky baby voice. It wasn’t pleasant on the ears. But damn, Abby, you don’t just pick on a little girl. Especially when she is asking for help on a dance move. But Abby Lee, being the not-so-nice woman she is made Sophia repeat herself multiple times because “that voice is killing me. You know Minnie Mouse has a job.” Clearly, the Abby Lee Dance Studio wasn’t the happiest place on earth.  

The favoring of Maddie

Everyone hated that pyramid, mainly because Maddie Ziegler was always on top. The tiny dancer could do no wrong in Abby’s eyes, but fans could see what was happening. Maddie was the one being made into a star, and yes, she did end up dancing for Sia, but at what cost? Every other dancer, including Maddie’s sister, was pushed to the wayside. At times, Abby loved Maddie so much that she was put twice at the top of the pyramid, which left the Dance Moms furious. 

Even though Abby Lee was seriously disturbing, she is still out, coaching dancers. Let’s just hope she isn’t given another TV show.

Stream previous seasons of Dance Moms on Disney+.