Abby Lee Miller’s teaching techniques have long brought accussations of child abuse, most recently via a lawsuit by former “Dance Moms” star Kelly Hyland, but the coach has responded, claiming the allegations couldn’t be further from the truth.
During an appearance on “Fox and Friends” Monday, Miller, 47, asserted that although she is tough with her Pittsburgh students, her teaching techniques are not as traumatic as they appear on her hit Lifetime series “Dance Moms.”
“That's after hours of doing the same 32 counts of choreography,” Miller explained following the airing of a seasons-old clip showing her screaming at her current student, Chloe Lukasiak, and former ALDC member, Paige Hyland, both 13 at the time.
While Paige’s mother, Kelly Hyland, 43, is now suing Miller for a cool $5 million following her family’s dismissal from the series in November, claiming her daughter is now in therapy after studying at Miller’s school, among other issues, Miller claims she is just doing her job.
“I still do what I do. I was a dance teacher before the show started and I will continue to do so,” she said. “I was much tougher 20 years ago. Much, much tougher.”
Miller added that her letting parents to watch her tough-love approach from the comfort of her ALDC studio is another hole in the child abuse claims.
“I built my building from a ground up. I built a glass-enclosed observations mezzanine so that every parent could see what was going on in that classroom,” she said. “There are hundreds of thousands of dance studios in the country that you don’t see a thing until your kid comes on stage in that recital.”
While Miller claims Hyland’s suit and the backlash from “Dance Moms” viewers hasn’t altered her approach, she does confirm that the series Season 4 return to Lifetime, July 29 at 9 p.m. EDT, will show her softer side.
“This last 10 episodes that we did, I don’t know [if I’m] as happy as I usually am about putting my foot down,” Miller said.
In Season 4's episode “Big Trouble in the Big Apple," Hyland was caught on camera by Lifetime allegedly attacking Miller at a dance event in the Bronx last November. Following the taping of the televised brawl, Miller filed a criminal complaint against the mom of three, reportedly having her arrested for “assault and harassment.”
Hyland filed a countersuit against Miller in February, alleging the dance coach tried to “bite” her during the disagreement. Lifetime was also included in the $5 million suit, Hyland accusing the network of "loss of wages."
Miller is no longer involved with the criminal case, saying the state of New York is now handling the complaint.
Hyland updated fans on the court proceedings Monday, posting to Twitter, “My trial was today… still no outcome.”