When the cast of Lifetime's “Dance Moms” convened for the first pyramid of Season 6 during Tuesday night’s premiere, one cast member was noticeably absent. Maddie Ziegler, Abby Lee Miller’s longtime star student, was not on the West Coast, but in New York City filming her first feature film, “The Book of Henry.”
“Maddie is shooting a movie,” Abby tells her students and dance moms. “I know Maddie’s not here and in the film she’s a dancer and that’s why she got the part — from watching her solos from the Abby Lee Dance Company. That’s where it started."
While Maddie eventually appears in episode 1, titled “New Season, New Rules,” she does not compete with her elite junior team. “It’s definitely been different without you in rehearsal,” Kendall Vertes tells her co-star when she shows up to the event.
Despite Abby admitting she misses Maddie’s presence, the “Dance Moms” star says she could see herself filming more movies. “I had so much fun,” Maddie says. “The cast was amazing. Getting to work with really experienced actors was really, really cool.”
While she may have had fun on set, Maddie did admit she to being “a little sad” that she was not able to compete.
This dance is going go be FAB! pic.twitter.com/tAlWLmCx65
— Dance Moms (@DanceMoms) January 6, 2016
After Abby’s team walks away with two first-place wins at their first competition of Season 6, Maddie’s mom, Melissa Gisoni, is reduced to tears in the dressing room. Maddie lack of participation in the group dance and her eldest daughter's announcement that she will be in New York City filming for an additional two weeks gets her teary-eyed.
“We’ve been doing this for so long and we appreciate it and we love being with each other because I love these ladies and these kids like they’re mine and it’s hard because I think things are changing for us,” Melissa, whose daughter Mackenzie Ziegler is also a part of Abby’s team, says. “I love to see my daughter onstage. It’s just hard for me today.”
When Melissa gets emotional, she apologizes to Maddie and asks her not to say “don’t cry.”
“Don’t say don’t cry because it is what I do,” Melissa explains. “It’s why I exist, for my kids.”
“Just imagine seeing it in a movie theater,” Abby comforts Melissa. “This is just the beginning, remember.”
Maddie began shooting “The Book of Henry,” a drama film directed by Colin Trevorrow, in October 2015. The movie also stars Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts and is due to be released this year.
“Dance Moms” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.