Photo courtesy of Kreiling

While training with Abby Lee Miller in Pittsburgh, Rachel Kreiling underestimated the studio's requirement of enrolling in every class. The versatile curriculum (tap, ballet, hip hop, modern, acro, lyrical and jazz) paired with Miller's unconventional teaching style, since showcased on "Dance Moms," greatly impacted Kreiling's own style and relationship to music. "Abby would play the music and choreograph within the phrasing, but rarely to actual counts," she says. This resulted in a huge positive learning component. "I had to learn musicality myself," says Kreiling, who left the studio at age 18 after graduating, more than a decade before the Lifetime network show aired. "And studying every style became instrumental in my attachment to music," she adds. "I'm always seeking out new genres and diverse songs." After a performing career that included a Broadway-style revue at Tokyo Disney, Revolution (a tap tour with Mike Schulster), and dancing with Alison Chase/Performance and in a Rasta Thomas contemporary ballet, Kreiling began assisting Suzi Taylor at Steps on Broadway in New York City. In 2007, Kreiling, who describes her class as extremely athletic and technical, became full-time NYCDA faculty.

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Whether you consider "Dance Moms" a guilty pleasure or a legitimate depiction of competitive studio life (or maybe you just don't consider it at all, these days), you're definitely aware that change is brewing for the Lifetime TV show. Abby Miller (DT, October 2012) just announced she's leaving the show after seven seasons and under less-than-ideal circumstances (bankruptcy fraud claims, feuds with producers). And it appears that "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom performer Cheryl Burke (DT, October 2009) will be taking the helm—at least according to Burke's latest Instagram posts:

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Abby Lee Miller during her Dance Teacher cover shoot

Want to set an example of how a real dance parent behaves? Well, there may not be room for that on reality television, but this audition is sure to be an educational experience!

During the next few weeks, Abby Lee Miller’s infamous reality show will hold open auditions for dancers and their parents to be featured on the next season of Lifetime's “Dance Moms,” and possibly “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition,” as well. At stops in Orlando (October 25), Atlanta (November 8) and New York City (November 23), Miller herself will teach a combination to dancers 13 and younger for a chance to join Abby Lee Dance Company's elite team, technically, though the amount of training selected participants will receive at Miller’s facility has not been publicized.

On the plus side, young dancers will have the chance to learn from an award-winning, celebrity teacher and to participate in what will surely be a challenging audition. It’s also an opportunity for dancers’ moms and dads to represent the industry in its best light, if only momentarily. Truth be told, they’re probably looking for over-the-top, zealous stage parents who are going to maintain the show’s drama quotient. One audition flyer even prods, “Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make your kid a star?” Yeesh. If you have dance parents at your studio who fit that description, perhaps an encounter with the no-nonsense Miller will put them in their place. And if they get picked for the show, they’ll have a new teacher to hassle for a while!

Interested dancers and parents must register in advance at

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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