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The Dance Moms cast is back, and they’re ready to unpack their baggage. The stars of the popular Lifetime reality series reconnected in New York City on April 25 for the premiere of the new Dance Moms reunion special. But their infamous teacher Abby Lee Miller was noticeably absent from the event.

The two-hour reunion special brings together former Dance Moms cast members to reflect on the show, its memorable moments (both good and bad), and how their experience as young TV stars affected their entertainment careers. It airs May 1 on Lifetime. 

Photo of the cast of 'Dance Moms: The Reunion' laughing at the premiere
(L-R) Kendall Vertes, Paige Hyland, Chloé Lukasiak, Kalani Hilliker, JoJo Siwa and Brooke Hyland attend the premiere of ‘Dance Moms: The Reunion’ on April 25, 2024 in New York City | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Kendall Vertes, Paige Hyland, Chloé Lukasiak, Kalani Hilliker, JoJo Siwa, and Brooke Hyland were in NYC on Thursday to celebrate the premiere of the reunion special.  

Kelly Hyland poses with her daughters Paige and Brooke at the 'Dance Moms: The Reunion' premiere
(L-R) Paige Hyland, Kelly Hyland, and Brooke Hyland | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Also in attendance was dance mom Kelly Hyland, mom to Brooke and Paige. Moms Jessalyn Siwa, Jill Vertes, Kira Hilliker, and Christi Lukasiak also participated in the reunion. 

Chloe Lukasiak in a white jacket at the 'Dance Moms: The Reunion' premiere
Chloé Lukasiak | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Chloé Lukasiak, 22, spoke to People about connecting again with the rest of the Dance Moms cast. “It made me realize I should probably go to therapy,” she said. 

JoJo Siwa wearing sunglasses
JoJo Siwa | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Jojo Siwa has one of the most successful Dance Moms alums. After debuting on the show in 2014, she launched a career as a kid-friendly pop artist and became a judge on So You Think You Can Dance.  

Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler in 2023
(L-R) Maddie Ziegler and Mackenzie Ziegler attend Variety Power of Young Hollywood on August 10, 2023, in Los Angeles | Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

While the reunion brings together several Dance Moms fan favorites, a few notable alums didn’t participate in the reunion, including Maddie Ziegler, Mackenzie Ziegler, and Nia Sioux.  

In a teaser (via YouTube) for the special, JoJo Siwa seemed to take aim at the missing cast members. 

“Them not being here is kind of like, ‘Let me erase my past, pretend it never happened, shove it down the drain,’ she says. “When it’s like – that’s why you are who you are.”

Abby Lee Miller making jazz hands
Abby Lee Miller poses at the opening night of ‘Bob Fosse’s “Dancin'” on Broadway at The Music Box Theatre on March 19, 2023 in New York City | Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

‘Dance Moms’: The OG Cast Was ‘Pushed Into’ a Contract

Also missing from the reunion stage? Controversial dance teacher Abby Lee Miller. Her abrasive style generated plenty of drama – and tears – on the show. Despite her central role in the series, she was never asked to be part of the reunion, a source told People. Some of the cast members only agreed to participate if Miller was not present.  

“Some of those involved decided that they would only be a part of the reunion if Abby wasn’t,” the source said. “The girls were able to speak their minds more openly without her there.”

While some former Dance Moms stars want to keep their distance from Miller, she’s on good terms with at least one of her former students.

“Abby, honestly, my relationship is great,” JoJo Siwa told People. “I talk to her on a weekly basis. Great human in my life.” 

Dance Moms: The Reunion airs Wednesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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