Photo credit: Lifetime.
On July 13, 2011, a new era in dance reality TV was born on Lifetime — "Dance Moms." Six young girls were on their way to superstardom as the show followed their journey through their dance training and at competitions all across the U.S. It not only inspired a generation of dancers, but it changed the face of the dance industry. The dance competition circuit saw a huge increase in attendance and parents flocked to Abby Lee Dance Company studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and its second location in Los Angeles, California, for a shot at childhood fame.
Studio owner and dance educator Abby Lee Miller was often controversial — but so were the dance moms — and some of those feuds sadly exist to this day. A combination of money, fame and power came at them rapidly and it wasn't easy to manage because there is no blueprint when it comes to overnight stardom. And let's get real, sometimes the kids acted more mature than the adults. It's hard to believe that the young girls are now in their late teens and early adulthood and managing their lives with as much grace in real life as they did out there on the stage.
The show was so successful that six spin-offs came directly from the original "Dance Moms" franchise — "Dance Moms: Miami," "Raising Asia," "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition," "Abby's Studio Rescue," "Dance Mums with Jennifer Ellison" and the canceled-before-it-even-aired "Abby's Virtual Dance-Off." While the other series saw some modest success, none of them captured the magic of the original six dancers, which catapulted them into household names. The original "Dance Moms" was like discovering lightning in a bottle — that's how special that moment in time was for everyone who participated in the series.
Even though "Dance Moms" is on ice at Lifetime, with no current plans to revive the series, the show has developed a passionate fan base that still talks about the show online a decade later. With the 10-year anniversary coming up this summer, it's time to check in on the six original players — Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler, Paige and Brooke Hyland, Nia Sioux and Chloe Lukasiak. Where are they now in 2021?
Photo credit: Brooke Hyland/Instagram
She was the oldest on the team and known for her Acro on the show. Even though she was one of the original stars on the show, she and sister Paige left "Dance Moms" in 2014 after her mom, Kelly Hyland, had a major falling out and a physical altercation with Miller at the start of the fourth season. This may be hard to believe, but Brooke graduated from high school in 2016, got her Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from Ohio University in 2019, and now handles influencer relations at TechStyle Fashion Group.
Photo credit: Paige Hyland/Instagram.
Since leaving the show with her sister and mom in 2014, Paige modeled for Sherri Hill and graduated from high school in 2019. She's now a sophomore at West Virginia University and dating NCAA WVU football player Jayvon Thrift.
Photo credit: Nia Sioux/Instagram.
Nia was the only OG cast member to stick around for every season before the show went on hiatus. She stayed in the public eye by doing several dance concept videos choreographed by Kristin McQuaid and Chloe Arnold and appeared on "The Bold and the Beautiful" in the role of Forrester Creations intern, Emma Barber. Nia graduated from high school in 2020 and is now a freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Photo credit: Maddie Ziegler/Instagarm.
One of the most successful of the former cast members, Maddie reached a whole new level of fame when she became Sia's muse. From "Chandelier" to "Elastic Heart", Maddie's image was everywhere. She has continued her working relationship with Sia, who directed her in the upcoming movie, "Music." The movie is not without controversy, though. Ziegler plays a young girl who is on the autism spectrum, but many people with disabilities are understandably upset that the role went to an able-bodied and neurotypical actor. Fans will be able to judge for themselves when "Music" comes out on Feb. 12.
"So You Think You Can Dance" fans will also remember Maddie's time on the judges' panel during "The Next Generation" in 2016. Maddie now has the biggest job of her career on the horizon. She will be playing one of the Jets in Stephen Spielberg's reimagining of the classic film, "West Side Story." The film, which was originally scheduled to premiere in 2020, has its new pandemic-adjusted date set for Dec. 10.
Photo credit: Kenzie Ziegler/Instagram
The baby of the group is all grown up! Kenzie is now 16 years old and focusing on her singing career. She hasn't left dance completely behind. She was a finalist on season 1 of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors," where she was paired with junior pro Sage Rosen and mentored by "Dancing with the Stars" pro Gleb Savchenko.
In 2019, Kenzie voiced the main character in the animated feature film, "Ice Princess Lily" and she currently portrays Cassie in the "Brat" high school drama series, "Total Eclipse." For anyone following the first season of "The Masked Dancer," viewers are guessing that the tap-dancing Tulip is most likely Kenzie after viewing quite a few clues that point toward the youngest "Dance Moms" original cast member.
Chloe left at the end of season 4 in 2014 with her mom, Christi Lukasiak, but eventually returned in a recurring guest role in season 7 after Miller left the show. She jumped into other projects including a successful YouTube channel and beginning her acting career in the TV movie, "Center Stage: On Pointe."
Chloe graduated from high school in 2019 and is currently a sophomore at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She's also a rising writer, who has shared her poetry on her dedicated Instagram page, @chloelukasiakwrites, where she bravely revealed that she had been battling an eating disorder over the past several years.