If there's an upside to Abby Lee Miller's guest judge appearance on Dancing With the Stars Season 18, it's that she brought the pros together. They are competing against each other on the show, with their respective partners, but they seem of similar mind when it comes to Abby's harsh teaching style on Dance Moms.
Derek Hough and Mark Ballas tweeted disdain for Abby a few years ago, and even though she didn't challenge them or their partners on last night's Week 8 show, they haven't changed their stand on how she treats her students.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, as befitting his outspoken nature, was the one to fire the loudest shot on the live show. Erin Andrews asked him to comment on Abby's "sickled feet" critique of Meryl Davis, and Maks simply replied, "I really don’t care for anything that she has to say." Derek clapped in the background, and after the show more pros weighed in to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I still stick to what I said three years ago online," Mark said. "I don’t agree with her teaching methods. I’m 100 percent with Maks tonight.”
Sharna Burgess added, “The way she treats her children, the way she teaches them — she’s not molding anybody into a star; she’s not teaching anybody to harness any creativity; she’s trying to make good TV. What she is doing to those kids now at this age is going to affect them for the rest of their lives.”
Derek told THR, “I’m afraid for kids who are exposed to pressure, anxiety and things like that at such a young age and are put down. My fear is that they’ll get burnt out as soon as they hit 16 and they won’t want to do it again.”
Derek and his partner Amy Purdy were praised by Abby on the show, but Derek expanded on the subject of her teaching style in his post-show interview with AfterBuzz. Before commenting, he checked to make sure he had Amy's OK, and she said, "I think it's great."
Derek said he was fortunate enough to have been instilled with positivity and a love for dance at an early age, and that's why he's still going strong years later. He said you don't have to put up with that kind of "bullying" from a dance teacher. "There are other studios, there are other teachers that will encourage you, that will motivate you, that will fill you with love for what you do and not make you terrified."
Well said. Watch his full speech in the video below.