Dance Mom’s Exclusive: In Conversation with a Former Student of Abby Lee Miller

Abby Lee Miller is among the better known dance moms in American. She has her own school. She trains promising dancers at the school and is known to have churned out quite a few performers over the years. Laurel Izzie, 28, who was Abby’s student once, and now has her own dance school, does not however have very fond memories of her days at Abby’s school. She says, the methods used by Abby to teach dance were not student friendly at all.

Laurel said that she was about ten or twelve years of age when she enrolled at Abby Miller’s dance school. She had gone there to attend acrobatic classes. Her mother would drive her to the school all the way from New Jersey so that her daughter could gain some new experience in tumbling.

What made Laurel decide to attend classes at Abby’s school was that she had befriended many of Abby’s students at a dance performance. She therefore did not find it unusual to visit this school to gain some fresh experience and learn what was being taught over here.

From the very beginning, Laurel had been intimated at the school. As a visitor, she had made several attempts to impress the dance teacher and show her what she knew, but all of this was done in vain.

The Abby that viewers get to see on television is less lively in real life, as far as Laurel is concerned. She says that there was an age gap of 14 years between the time Abby would first appear on television and how things are right now. As a teacher, she says, it is often expected that students will show them certain amount of respect, but this does not always happen. She feels that Abby is a very powerful and very talented dancer, and that it is necessary sometimes to be forceful to get one’s views and instructions across.

Laurel visited Abby’s school for two consecutive summers. The sessions at the school were of duration of two weeks. The sessions were highly intensive.

According to Laurel, one of Abby’s biggest drawbacks is that she is extremely harsh with words and is also very strict as a person. When you are working with children, you cannot be too harsh. The lessons will not be learnt and teaching dance will be an exercise in futility.

Laurel’s advice to upcoming and aspiring dancers who do attend such schools is that they should demonstrate a lot of grit and determination and not let anything get in the way of their success. Critical comments should be taken in good spirit. You should feel proud of the progress made each day. Only then can you go ahead with your career in dance.

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