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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Growing up as a dancer, there was one show that seemed to spark more controversy in the dance community than any other: Dance Moms. I loved the show. Although I knew that it wasn’t reflective of the dance world, I couldn’t help but love all the drama and hysterics. However, with the recent resurgence of Dance Moms on TikTok, I’ve realized that all of that drama may have heavily impacted the young stars of the show. As I’ve grown up, I’ve started to realize that Dance Moms may have been more than met the eye. 

At this point, I’m sure almost all of us have seen the TikTok videos that are just TV shows or movies split-screened with subway surfers. Dance Moms has become one of the most common shows to be posted this way. This means that a close eye has been put back on the girls and their moms. I know I’ve seen much more of them since the show regained popularity. Along with this unexpected surge in popularity has come a lot of talk from some of the girls about how the show affected them. Whether it’s reposted clips of them speaking out or new storytimes about the show, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Dance Moms was not a good environment for many of the stars.

There are many examples of the girls speaking out on the alleged abuse they faced while on the show, but I’ll focus on the two most prominent, the first being Abby Lee Miller’s “favorite” Maddie Ziegler. Ziegler doesn’t like to talk much about the show these days and is attempting to separate herself from it as she starts to work on new projects. However, this past summer, she opened up about the show to Cosmopolitan. She stated that the show was an extremely toxic environment for her and that she wanted to get out for the last three seasons she was in. She felt immense pressure from Miller to be the best and felt that if she didn’t win, she was worth less. 

Another notable example is Paige Hyland, who sued Miller after her time on the show in 2014. She claimed that Abby emotionally abused her and that she feared Miller would hurt her. This was due to violent outbursts, such as the well-known chair-throwing scene. She also accused production of allowing this violent behavior towards her. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2015. Miller denies all of the accusations that Maddie and Paige have made, claiming that what she did to train the girls was justified. 

Miller has recently announced that season 9 of Dance Moms is in the works. While it will still be under the Dance Moms name, it’s going to be on a different streaming service and have a slightly different tone. Miller has been posting about casting calls for season 9. She’s going to be right here in Florida, stating that her mom used to teach out of Miami, and she knows what kind of talent there is there.

With season 9 coming out, there are many questions raised about these differences Miller claims there will be. There may be a new production style. Miller is known for constantly complaining about what production made her do on the show, so she may be branching out to a new network to have more liberty over the show. It also begs the question of whether she will continue her teaching style. With all the controversy it spiked, it’s unclear if Miller will continue her “tough love” teaching style or try a softer approach. It has been said that she was nicer to the girls behind the scenes, so maybe we will see this nice side come to light. Many worry that she will do to the new cast what she did to the old one and trigger more abuse allegations.

It’s no secret that Dance Moms is a very divisive show. However, it’s important to remember that it is a heavily produced TV show, and no one knows what happens behind closed doors. Season 9 may be a big hit among people who grew up on the show, but its differences may cause it to flounder. The TikTok resurgence may be the springboard that was needed to get fans excited again and get this season off the ground. With all of the eyes on Miller, season 9 is sure to get some kind of attention, whether good or bad.

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I'm from Minnesota, and am a Sophomore Editing Writing and Media major at FSU.