PHOTO Young Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms

Dance Instructor Abby Lee Miller

Long before she was the harshest dance coach on reality television, Abby Lee Miller was a young girl in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. She wasn’t just an average teenage, however. The ultra-driven coach established the Abby Lee Dance Company in 1980 — when she was just 14.

“I was lucky to accompany my mom and her staff every summer to several national dance conventions,” Abby said of her childhood experiences with her dance instructor mother, Maryen Lorrain Miller. “I learned from some of the most amazing originals, pioneers in the dance world. I became interested in this new thing forming called ‘dance competitions!'”

By the time she posed for her senior yearbook photo for Penn Hills High School, Abby was an established dance coach who was well on her way to notoriety.

Young Abby Miller Dance Moms

UPDATE – Our resident Photoshopologist did a little work on the Abby Miller yearbook picture and made it a little more clear:

Dance Moms Abby Lee Miller as a young woman

Even though Abby is a successful coach who has trained one dozen dancers who went on to professional careers, she never felt the same desire to perform on stage.

“(I) never enjoyed performing. That’s one reason why I am a great teacher,” Abby said. “I don’t envy or compete with my students. My dreams for them are sometimes greater than their own but never confused with mine.”

Now more than 30 years into her career as an instructor, Abby has two popular shows on television: Dance Moms and Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.

The second season of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition premieres on Lifetime on September 3 at 9/8 p.m. CST.

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