Characters / Dance Moms

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Abby Lee Dance Company

    Abby Lee Miller 

Abby Lee Miller

Owner of the Abby Lee Dance Company studio in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania.

  • Apathetic Teacher: Essentially in season 6. Despite literally living in the studio, there have been multiple times when she has refused to teach the girls, once literally locking them out of the studio, and has said on more than one occasion that she doesn't want to be there.
  • Bad Boss: Threatens to fire Gianna in season three if she choreographs a solo for Brooke.
  • Berserk Button: Questioning and arguing with her about her teaching. Jill learned this the hard way.
    • Thinking that the moms are trying to take over her studio.
  • Big Bad / Big Good
  • Big Beautiful Woman
  • Brainy Brunette: Gia is the one who choreographs most of the dances, so whenever an Abby original comes into play it's bound to stir something up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Although she's not the prime source of snark on the show (that title is Especially when Kelly left the team various times.
  • Determinator: Her mission is to push her dancers to be the best and win as many competitions as possible, no matter what the cost.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: The "evil" part is debatable, but her voice is very much raspy after years of straining it.
  • Fat Bastard: At least the moms see her this way.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Though, as of late, it seems to be more towards the "heel" side.
  • Heroic R.R.O.D.: Although the "heroic" part isn't the most accurate, season 5 in its entirety is shaping up to be one for Abby. In the episodes we've seen so far, she experiences emotional, mental, and sometimes physical breakdowns.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • It's All About Me
  • Jerkass: She used to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, although the "heart of gold" part faded away near the end of season 4 and in season 5.
  • Karma Houdini: She gets away with quite a lot of stuff. Part of it can be connected to Manipulative Editing.
  • Large Ham
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She really can be.
  • Sadist Teacher: Her morality towards the team is becoming more foggy and more twisted by the episode, it seems.
  • Sanity Slippage: A possible theory as to why she's acting so bizarrely in season five. Melissa said in an interview with Afterbuzz interview that Abby fights with the producers about the things she feel she's been made to do.
  • Stern Teacher
  • Villain Protagonist: First it was speculative, now it's almost certain throughout the whole fanbase.
  • Weirdness Magnet:
    "What is it about me? Why do I attract all the crazy ones?"

    Current Abby Lee Dance Company Moms 

As A Whole

Jill Vertes

The mother of Kendall Vertes.

  • Character Development: Towards the end of season 2, she sort of had a persona change into someone who didn't always fight with the other mothers.
  • Motor Mouth
  • Took a Level in Badass: She has cussed out some moms in later episodes.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: After abandoning ship on the team in season one, she made a very unexpected return in season two (during Pyramid, no less), much to everyone's shock. Understandably, Abby wasn't too happy.
  • Will Talk for a Price: Has been known to bribe Abby to get Kendall ahead, giving her things like a new bench and a massage session.

Holly Hatcher-Frazier
"You're entitled to your wrong opinion, that's fine."

The mother of Nia Hatcher-Frazier.

Kira Girard

The mother of Kalani Hilliker. Started appearing with the ALDC in season four but didn't really join until season five.

  • Canon Immigrant: From the second season of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition.
  • Hidden Depths: According to allegations from Tracey Reasons, Kira has a criminal history for doing stuff like credit card fraud.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Sixth Ranger: Applies to both her and Kalani, as they are the newest additions to the ALDC.

Jessalynn Siwa

The mother of JoJo Siwa. Much like Kira seen above, the Siwas got on the team as a result of being on the second AUDC season.

    Current Abby Lee Dance Company Dancers 

As a whole

  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: As mentioned in an episode where the girls received NO awards for their 'barely-there' costumes.
    • Arguably the outfits the girls wear to practice in as well - most of the time, they wear crop-tops and booty shorts. In the spin-off series, the girl who wears the shortest top is the oldest girl, Jessie, even though she's technically the only one of the group (except maybe Sammi) who actually needs to wear a shirt.
    • The infamous "topless showgirls" dance. The costumes were picked out to give the effect that they were naked. Unsurprisingly, the episode is unavailable online and has never been rebroadcast. However, it is easily accessible on other internet sites than the one of the show.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Most of their costumes and practice outfits.
  • Brainy Brunette: Most of the girls, as all of the girls get good grades and are quite talented dancers.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: All of the girls have had their bratty moments.
  • Deadpan Snarker: They have their moments.
  • Dumb Blonde: Subverted. They all get good grades and quite talented dancers.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Whenever a girl forgets her solo.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: They are focused dancers, while their moms are bickering.

Kendall Vertes

The daughter of Jill.

  • Alliterative Name: When under her "Kendall K" stage name.
  • Always Second Best: Abby often refers to Kendall as her "number two girl", emphasizing that she feels Kendall will never be as good as Maddie.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Occasionally showcased when frustrated, like in the dressing room.
    • Breaks down in Episode 13 of Season 6 and screams at Ashlee for her constant (albeit somewhat unintentional) bullying of her; Brynn lampshades this by calling Kendall a brat.
  • Butt Monkey: Even though she is talented, she is especially this in her first few appearances and in season three.
    • Is constantly on the receiving end of Ashlee's rather rude remarks in Season 6, culminating in Kendall actually screaming in Ashlee's face "why are you so mean?" and leaving the studio with Jill for the day.
  • Child Popstar: Recently released a new single called "Wear It Out" under the name "Kendall K".
  • Deadpan Snarker: In recent seasons she's developed something of a wry sense of humor.
  • The Fashionista: Kendall is very into clothes and makeup.
  • Hidden Depths: In an October 2014 interview, Kendall said that she planned on taking acting classes.
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: Kendall's middle name is literally just "K", in homage to her cousins Kiley and Kara.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Kendall is of this complexion, and Abby often treats her as "the pretty one".
  • Sixth Ranger: Deconstructed. As the first new dancer added to the group, she was put on probation until she proved herself. As a result, there was drama between Abby and Jill regarding why she was treated differently than the other girls. So much so that Jill and Kendall temporarily switched to Candy Apples.

Nia Hatcher-Frazier
.The daughter of Holly Hatcher-Frazier.

  • Bilingual Bonus: Goes two ways: "purpose" in Swahili, or "champion" in Welsh.
  • Black and Nerdy
  • Child Popstar: Has made two singles ("Star in Your Life" and "Slay").
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Inverted; her middle name, Sioux, is pretty awesome.
  • Ill Girl: She might be an example, as she has a medical condition affecting the bones in her feet. In the Mother's Day special, it was revealed that she was actually in the hospital for some time over the summer, and was in a wheelchair for a while afterward.
  • Last of Her Kind: Is the last original member of the team left.
  • Out of Focus: In seasons 2 and 3, apart from the Rosa Park tribute and her duet with Paige. So much so that Abby that called attention to it.
  • Token Minority: Not only is she the only African-American ALDC junior elite team member (at least, the only African-American original member; there was Nicaya), but Abby has had her play several different ethnicities in dance performances, much to Holly's chagrin.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In between seasons 4 and 5, Nia's dancing really took a steep upturn.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Nia has her petulant moments, but she's become incredibly articulate in the past few seasons.

Kalani Hilliker

The daughter of Kira. Contestant on season 2 of AUDC, and team member as of season four.

  • All There in the Manual: If you didn't watch Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition you probably won't know who she is or what her relationship is to Abby when she shows up.
  • Canon Immigrant: From Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition
  • Cool Big Sis: She's the oldest of girls on the team and is very encouraging towards them.
  • Homeschooled Kids: She homeschools so she can spend more time taking classes and traveling for dance.
  • Sixth Ranger: She shows up in season 4 and becomes a permanent member of the team.
  • Teacher Favoritism: She was Abby's favorite when she competed on Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition.

JoJo Siwa

The daughter of Jessalynn Siwa. Joined the team in season five after being in season two of AUDC.

  • Bratty Half-Pint: Considering she's the second youngest and sassiest on the team, and she really gets the short end of the stick from Abby a lot, this trope was bound to come in play.
  • Butt Monkey: Has turned into Abby's newest one as of late, considering how much she gets it from her.
  • Canon Immigrant: Just like Kalani after being on AUDC (in the same season, no less).
  • Child Popstar: Has released a single called "I Can Make You Dance".
  • Ditzy Genius: While not particularly tactful, Jojo stands up for herself and is an impressive performer. The other girls have also admitted she has many skills they haven't quite mastered. According to the wikia, she is also a grade ahead for her age (is home-schooled) and learns another language in her spare time, so she's clearly very smart for her age.
  • Jumped at the Call
  • Mouthy Kid: Has gotten into some pretty hot water as a result.

    Former Abby Lee Dance Company Moms 

Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni

Melissa is the mother of Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler. Her girls are favored by Abby, much to the other moms' dismay, and maintains the best relationship with Abby because of this. She and her kids left at the end of season 6.

Christi Lukasiak

Christi is the mother of Chloe Lukasiak. She had a very rocky relationship with Abby during her time at the ALDC, especially since she thought Abby was deliberately belittling and bullying her daughter. She eventually left at the end of season 4.

Kelly Hyland

The mother of Brooke and Paige Hyland.

Kristie Ray

The mother of Asia Ray.

Jackie Lucia

The mother of Sophia Lucia.
  • Dropped a Bridge On Her: Jackie and Sophia left the team and went back to LA to prevent any mama drama with her daughter, who had become The Ace at the time. However, if you look at Sophia's accomplishments, it's not that much of a step down.

    Former Abby Lee Dance Company Dancers 

Maddie Ziegler

Maddie is the eldest daughter of Melissa and the older sister of Mackenzie.

  • The Ace: Definitely, much to the other moms' jealousy. If anyone out of the ALDC team could be considered the most popular, it's her.
  • Aloof Big Sister: Definitely showcases this when compared to Mackenzie.
  • Always Someone Better: For starters, she's almost always at the top of the pyramid.
    Jill: It's just not a surprise anymore.
    Abby: Isn't that sad?
  • The B Grade: A variation. She gets upset if she doesn't win first place, but she's still courteous to whoever does win.
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Breakout Character: Well, she was already getting the most opportunities out of the team (cameoing on Lifetime's own Drop Dead Diva, for example) before she starred in Sia's "Chandelier" video, which became one of (if not, the) most popular music videos of 2014 and racked up over half a billion Youtube views as well as 2.1 million likes. The video's extreme success skyrocketed her to performing on Jimmy Kimmel, Saturday Night Live, The Ellen Show, and at the Grammys. Not only that, but she did another collab with Sia by co-starring in the "Elastic Heart" video alongside Shia LaBeouf, garnering another 125 million views. And then she starred in a third Sia video for her song "Big Girls Cry", racking up an additional 20 million+ views. Not only that, but she's had a cameo acting role on Austin & Ally. So yeah, you can call her a breakout character.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Mackenzie. She's often seen helping Mackenzie with her hair and makeup in the dressing room.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Occasionally, most often with her sister and mother.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In "Abbygeddon" when she forgot her dance mid-performance and ended up breaking down in tears.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Compared to the other girls, Maddie's drive in dance is on another level entirely.
  • Homeschooled Kids: As of Season 4 she and Mackenzie are being homeschooled.
  • Humble Hero: She's rarely not at the top of the pyramid, she's won crowns and trophies alike, but she consists of staying modest and not letting her success get to her head. However, this is averted, whenever she does not win first in a solo, especially if a teammate places above her.
  • Jerkass Ball: Can go through this at times.
    • This moment, where she roughly pulled Kenzie off her and shoved her away after she hugged her after her solo due to Mackenzie sarcastically said "nice turns" when her turns were not very nice.
    • This moment, where she refused to take her loss to Mackenzie with stride, explicitly stating that she deserved to win.
    • In the first season, she was especially conceited about how often she won, to the point where she said she didn't know how it felt to lose.
  • Teacher Favoritism: No matter how much Abby tries to deny it. She is The Ace, after all.
  • The Rival: Her rivalry with Chloe is a major subplot, as is her rivalry with Kalani.
  • Running Gag: She's been on top of the pyramid so much that it's rarely a surprise anymore, and no one really gets overworked about it.
  • Sore Loser: Despite being a Graceful Loser most of the time, there are times where she isn't really above it all. Take, for example, the moment when Mackenzie beat Maddie (for once); let's just say Maddie wasn't happy.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: After the Sia videos, Maddie became a huge phenomenon in a short period of time. As such, she had to mature quickly and has become very graceful in the past year.

Mackenzie Ziegler-Gisoni

Mackenzie is the youngest daughter of Melissa and the younger sister of Maddie.

Chloe Lukasiak

The daughter of Christi Lukasiak.

  • Always Second Best: And Christi is sick of it.
    • And even when Chloe does win, she gets the rug pulled out from under her (when she beat Maddie with a nigh-identical solo, only to lose her victory when it's realized that the scores were faulty).
  • Break the Cutie: Happens disturbingly often on the show, and then it got so bad that she left.
  • Butt Monkey: A sadder and more serious example, considering how much she gets it from Abby. Her attempts to become more of an Iron Butt Monkey only led to her getting it more, to the point where she and Christi straight-up leave the studio.
    • Throughout the series, Christi has commented that Abby is setting the girls that aren't Maddie or Mackenzie, particularly Chloe, up to fail; there is some evidence, see Sacrificial Lamb below.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
  • Humble Hero: Chloe does not react to getting the Joffrey scholarship, not wanting to upset the other girls. Also, her first reaction upon re-entering the dressing room after her solo is to check on Maddie, to see if she was okay.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Subverted. She has a 5-year-old little sister named Clara who is not a dancer and who has only made brief blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearances.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Christi has mentioned this numerous times; Chloe was often relegated to competing against Maddie with "sub-par" choreography. She once went up against her with a hip-hop solo versus Maddie's tap; Maddie is a specialized tapper and the studio doesn't even offer hip-hop classes, having only done two hip-hop dances prior (neither of which were up to the usual standard). Also, when the select team would compete, Chloe had to face to go up against one of them the most.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Went through a growth spurt between Seasons 2 and 3 and now stands at 5'6''.
  • The Rival: Her rivalry with Maddie actually became a major subplot.
  • Those Two Girls: With Paige, forming the "twinnies".
  • Took a Level in Badass: It's subtle, but Chloe has been catching up with Maddie recently.

Brooke Hyland

  • Affectionate Nickname: "Brooke" is actually just a nickname, her full first name is "Brooklyn."
  • Child Popstar: During summer 2012 she released her hit debut single, "Summer Love Song". A year later, she releases an entire album. Mixed opinions have been tossed around concerning Brooke's music career, with a large amount of criticism given to Brooke's heavy Autotune use.
  • Cool Big Sis: To all the girls, and her sister, Paige. She is the oldest one on the team, after all.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Brooke of all the girls showed the least interest in the attention that come of the show. Of the girls who left, she's the only without a Youtube channel (Chloe and Paige).
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Brooke is constantly seen suffering from chronic back and hip pain throughout her appearances over the series, caused by performing excessive amounts of acro and contortion at the age where most people stop doing it, she's often encouraged to dance through the pain.
    • In Season One, while learning her solo "Metamorphosis," she thought her shoulder kept popping out and couldn't apply pressure to her hands during her tricks; Gianna told her to pop it back in and keep dancing.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: More recently she's been trying trying to be this.
  • Rubber Girl: To an extent. She specializes in acrobatic dance.
  • Teens Are Short: Brooke in the first two seasons was the tallest among the girls at 4'11," however, by Season 3, both Chloe and Paige are taller than her; with most of the girls catching up in height. Now at 18, she's about 5'1,'' but this makes her the second shortest among the original girls.
  • The Stoic: Abby has called her "Brooding Brooke" on a few occasions, and is known for not showing much emotion; Kelly saying that Brooke isn't really one to cry when upset or hurt.

Paige Hyland

Asia Monet Ray

The daughter of Kristi. Contestant on season 1 of AUDC (where she placed third), team member during season 3, and star of her own Lifetime reality show, Raising Asia.

Sophia Lucia

The daughter of Jackie Lucia.

    Abby Lee Miller Dance Studio Others 

Gianna Martello

Abby's assistant choreographer who started as one of her students, winning titles and awards, before discovering at the age of 16 that she also had a passion for teaching dance when she taught alongside Abby as well as by herself.

Payton Ackerman

The daughter of Leslie. Payton sometimes dances with the company featured on the show but has never been an official member.

  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: At first, she was a bit of a smart mouth and wanted others to call her by her name and not Brooke or Paige's.
  • The Cameo: How she appeared in the first season before she was formally introduced.
  • Cool Big Sis: Abby even noted when Payton was first let on the team that she assumed a role of leadership with the girls very quickly.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: One of the biggest hurdles Payton has faced is her absolutely dwarfing the rest of the girls with her height.
    • This was the reason why Abby decided not to give her the spot left with Vivi-Anne's departure (which then went to Kendall).
    • This was also the reason why Abby decided to kick her off the team once Brooke came back.
  • Jerk Ass: After her first group dance in season 2, she outright says that she feels like she did better than the other girls in terms of performance IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. Abby immediately called her out on it, absolutely appalled by her snobby behavior, and was even more shocked when her mom tried defending her.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Started out as a fill-in for Brooke when she left the team in early season 2 to pursue cheerleading, which lasted all but one episode. After Brooke was let back on the team and Payton was booted from the team, she continued to make recurring appearances dancing with the girls.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: She started out to be rude (such as in the infamous moment where she blatantly stated that she felt like she danced better than everyone else), but then she became much nicer and became a Cool Big Sis for the girls.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The show has sometimes accidentally called her "Peyton".
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The scenario in which she was kicked out of Brooke's spot on the team. Abby had unveiled all of the spots on the Pyramid except for the top, and everyone but Payton was on it. Payton and Leslie looked smug, for obvious reasons, only for Abby to reveal that Brooke is at the top.
    • Leslie managed to sum up the trope quite well when expressing her outrage with this at Abby.
    "You dangled a carrot in front of her, and you just ripped it away!"

Leslie Ackerman

The mother of Payton Ackerman.

    Dance Moms: Miami 

Candy Apple's Dance Center

    Cathy Nesbitt-Stein 

Cathy Nesbitt-Stein

The mother of Vivi-Anne Stein and the owner of the Candy Apples Dance Studio in Canton, OH. Was formerly a member for the ALDC back when the series began, but eventually disbanded after episode nine. Seen as the de-facto "villain" of the show (as far as reality shows go); however, when it comes to her being a bad person in real life, there are conflicting sources of evidence that point to this being true and false.
  • Alpha Bitch
  • Beware the Nice Ones / Faux Affably Evil: From first glance, "bad guy" probably won't immediately come to mind.
  • Big Bad: Out of everyone on the show, she's as close to being this as you can get (besides Abby).
  • Black Comedy: Her statement that she'd rather slit her wrists than let Vivi play softball over dance.
  • It's All About Me: During the moms' infamous group dance, Cathy suddenly started doing an improvised solo to try and upstage the other moms. Apparently, it worked.
  • Jerkass: Has been known to fire insults at Abby as well as the moms.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Some of the cast members have said that Cathy is made to look like a villain by the producers, but is actually a good person in real life.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Her studio boasts for being the county's "ONLY #1 dance studio". No, really.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Does have a particular liking for the color.
  • Token Evil Teammate / Evil Former Friend: Used to be on Abby's team with her daughter Vivi-Anne, but eventually disbanded and became Abby's worst enemy when she went back to her own dance studio.

    Vivi-Anne Stein 

Vivi-Anne Stein

The adopted daughter of Cathy, originally from Guatemala. She was originally on the show at its inception, but left shortly afterwards to train at her mom's dance center in Ohio.