Is Dance Moms done for good?

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Samantha Sektnan

If you haven’t already heard, Pittsburgh’s own Abby Lee Miller could end up behind bars after being indicted October 13th by a Pittsburgh grand jury on 20 counts of fraud. The allegations include Miller hiding more than $755,000 in earnings, which could cost her five years in jail and over $5 million in fines if convicted. Some of the charges include bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets, and false bankruptcy declaration. This indictment suggests that Miller tried to hide money after her 2010 Chapter 11 petition to reorganize her dance studio business, referring to when she filed for bankruptcy after owing more than $400,000 in taxes in 2010. The judge in her case grew suspicious of where Miller’s income was going, leading to an investigation by the feds. Not only does Miller receive funds appearing in Lifetime’s Dance Moms, but she was also in the spin-off Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition for two seasons, Dance Moms: Abby’s Studio Rescue for one season, appeared as a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars, published a book titled Everything I Learned about Life, I Learned in Dance Class, and receives some of the profits from the merchandise sold supporting Dance Moms and her company.

Through her studios, Miller has taught thousands of students, some of which have gone on to perform in Broadway shows. Dance Moms has aired five seasons and 138 episodes thus far. The show follows Miller, her students, and the dance moms that are a part of the elite team of the Abby Lee Dance Company. Coming from someone that is an avid fan of Dance Moms, I am not surprised to say that Miller is capable of the charges that she is accused of. If you watch just one episode of the show, you will see a cruel Abby Lee Miller emotionally and mentally abuse some of her students. She will constantly berate students, such as Nia, for not dancing as well as the “perfect” Maddie, or tease JoJo for saying whatever is on her mind. As a result of Miller’s abuse, Chloe, Paige, Brooke, and Viv-Anne are just some of the students that have quit the team and are no longer on Dance Moms.

It may seem like a stretch to go from mistreating others to breaking the law, but Abby Lee Miller is no stranger to lawsuits. In February of 2014, a $5 million dollar lawsuit was filed by the Hyland family for the alleged bullying and emotional distress that Paige Hyland suffered from Miller. Although the charges were subsequently dropped, the lawsuit certainly doesn’t help Miller’s image. The actions of Miller have played a signifigent role in the numerous conflicts between herself and the parents seen in Dance Moms. Not only has Miller been confronted numerous times by the parents, but some of these conflicts have led to foul language and physical attacks being used. After one of the altercations seen in an episode of Season 5 between Miller and dance mom Kira, Miller was subsequently kicked out by the show’s producer, leading to her being absent from filming for a whole week. Based on these past events, that is why I say I am not surprised that Abby Lee Miller is capable of the charges that she is accused of.

So what does this mean for Dance Moms? For the time being, Abby Lee Miller is not in jail and Season 6 of Dance Moms is being filmed as we speak. After the Season 5 finale, Miller stated that she was unsure of whether the show would continue. Although this proves untrue because she is now filming for Season 6, she may have no choice in the matter for future seasons if she is found guilty of the charges. In my opinion, it seems that Miller is guilty of the charges. The real question will be how severe her punishment will be and if it will include jail time. Even if she stays a free woman, hopefully Lifetime will not allow for this drama to continue. Fans of Dance Moms can rest assured that they will get at least one more season, but it seems rather unlikely that the show will continue beyond that. We will just have to wait and see whether Miller will be found guilty and if Dance Moms will have a future beyond Season 6.