Maddie Ziegler admits to feeling “free” after parting ways with Lifetime’s “Dance Moms.” The 13-year-old stars on the August cover of Seventeen magazine, and inside, she dishes about why she decided to leave the program after six seasons. 

“Leaving ‘Dance Moms’ was a hard decision to make, but it was getting too stressful,” Maddie dished. With cameras no longer following her every dance step, Maddie added she feels a sense of relief. “Now, I feel like I’m so free,” she said. 

While Maddie cites stress as being her main reason for saying goodbye to the show, it appears she still has warm feelings for her tough-love coach Abby Lee Miller. Maddie defends her former co-star’s controversial teaching tactics in the magazine, saying she realizes she only wanted her to be a good dancer. “She’s exactly how she is on the show, but the thing that I like about her most is she can actually be funny sometimes,” Maddie said. Still, Maddie admits there was always pressure on her to be “the best in the room.”

While Seventeen reports Maddie’s “Dance Moms” leave means “no more Abby Miller,” it doesn’t appear she’s completely ditched her longtime coach. On Monday, Abby shared a photo of Maddie performing at her West Coast studio’s Dance to the Music 2016 concert. Maddie’s 12-year-old sister Mackenzie Ziegler, who also left the show, can also seen dancing in the photograph. A few days earlier, Abby shared a video of Maddie rehearsing a contemporary solo for the ALDC LA (Abby Lee Dance Company Los Angeles) showcase.


Abby’s posts came several weeks after she revealed she was working on a potential TV project with Maddie. “It was not an easy decision. It was a very difficult decision. However, she made the right one,” Abby said of her student’s departure in a YouTube broadcast following the Season 6 finale of “Dance Moms” in May. “Hopefully, wink wink, Maddie and I will work together again. She’s still at my studio. That’s never going to change. But hopefully we’re going to be working on another project that you might just see on your television screen [or] even your computer screen in the future. Keep your fingers crossed!”

Maddie’s mother Melissa Gisoni pulled her daughters from the series after they lined up multiple projects outside the show. Maddie now stars as a judge on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation” and has a film with pop singer Sia in the works. Her first feature, “The Book of Henry,” is due in theaters in the fall.

“Dance Moms” will return for a back half of Season 6, though Lifetime has yet to announce a premiere date. Find out all of the drama that’s been going on during filming HERE

Maddie Seventeen magazine Maddie Ziegler opens up about why she decided to leave “Dance Moms” in the August 2016 edition of Seventeen magazine. Here she is pictured on the cover. Photo: Seventeen/Eric Ray Davidson