News

Does Abby Lee Miller Deserve Another Chance?

If you're wondering how Abby Lee Miller, the former reality star of "Dance Moms," is doing behind bars, she recently gave the world an update.


Over the weekend, Miller, 51, shared a photo on Instagram of herself with friends inside Victorville Federal Correctional Institution in California. The photo, showing a smiling (much thinner) Miller, has since been removed, but here was the caption, as reported by several news outlets:

"Sometimes in life you make mistakes," she stated. "I trusted the wrong people and didn't pay any attention to things I should of. I'm more than sorry for the mistakes I have made. My world flipped upside down when I had to enter prison. I did so with grace, the stories you read about me being a princess are untrue. I have made friends with both inmates and staff, I've tried to better myself, participated in anything offered to me and I am a better person for this experience."

Miller, who's allegedly lost over 100 pounds, pled guilty last June after being indicted on fraud charges in 2015 and began her sentence in July. Recent reports also stated Miller would be released early from her one-year-and-a-day prison sentence on February 20, but she cleared up those rumors in the same Instagram post:

"All the press stories and speculation are not entirely correct however, I am feeling hopeful but no dates have been confirmed at this time," she said.

She ended the post with, "I am feeling great and ready to turn over a new leaf. Thank you so much to everyone for your support especially my nearest and dearest I love you all (and yes this is me in prison)."

No matter your opinion of Abby Lee Miller as a teacher and studio owner, do you think she deserves another chance?

Here's a report from "Inside Edition" featuring the doctor who performed Miller's gastric surgery prior to her sentence:

Music
Mary Malleney, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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For Parents

Darrell Grand Moultrie teaches at a past Jacob's Pillow summer intensive. Photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow

In the past 10 months, we've grown accustomed to helping our dancers navigate virtual school, classes and performances. And while brighter, more in-person days may be around the corner—or at least on the horizon—parents may be facing yet another hurdle to help our dancers through: virtual summer-intensive auditions.

In 2020, we learned that there are some unique advantages of virtual summer programs: the lack of travel (and therefore the reduced cost) and the increased access to classes led by top artists and teachers among them. And while summer 2021 may end up looking more familiar with in-person intensives, audition season will likely remain remote and over Zoom.

Of course, summer 2021 may not be back to in-person, and that uncertainty can be a hard pill to swallow. Here, Kate Linsley, a mom and academy principal of Nashville Ballet, as well as "J.R." Glover, The Dan & Carole Burack Director of The School at Jacob's Pillow, share their advice for this complicated process.

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Teachers Trending

From left: Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives; Courtesy Ballethnic

It is the urgency of going in a week or two before opening night that Lydia Abarca Mitchell loves most about coaching. But in her role as Ballethnic Dance Company's rehearsal director, she's not just getting the troupe ready for the stage. Abarca Mitchell—no relation to Arthur Mitchell—was Mitchell's first prima ballerina when he founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook; through her coaching, Abarca Mitchell works to pass her mentor's legacy to the next generation.

"She has the same sensibility" as Arthur Mitchell, says Ballethnic co-artistic director Nena Gilreath. "She's very direct, all about the mission and the excellence, but very caring."

Ballethnic is based in East Point, a suburban city bordering Atlanta. In a metropolitan area with a history of racism and where funding is hard-won, it is crucial for the Black-led ballet company to present polished, professional productions. "Ms. Lydia" provides the "hard last eye" before the curtain opens in front of an audience.

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