Maddie Ziegler will not be bringing any of the “harsh competitive vibe” as seen on Dance Moms to So You Think You Can Dance. Rather than taking tips from former co-star and ALDC coach Abby Lee Miller, the 13-year-old wanted to be seen as a relaxed and optimistic mentor.
In an interview with Vulture,Maddie Ziegler shared that she does not want to scare off any of the dancers. Instead, she wanted them to see her as a mentor who understands what they are going through. After all, this year’s So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation will feature younger dancers between the ages 8-13. Apart from teaching them a thing or two about dance techniques, Ziegler wanted them to have fun and enjoy the experience.
“I want them to see me as a mentor, as someone they can relate to without being scared and thinking, ‘Oh no, she’ll get mad at me and tell me I was awful,'” she said.
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 16, 2016
After appearing in four of Sia’s music videos, “Chandelier,” “Elastic Heart,” “Big Girls Cry,” and “Cheap Thrill,” Ziegler has picked up a thing or two from the singer. As she was a classically trained dancer, Ziegler wanted everything to be perfect as possible. She, however, soon found out that not everyone is as strict as her former coach, Abby Lee Miller. When Ryan Heffington, choreographer of “Chandelier,” told her that she did not have to point her feet for everything, the Dance Moms alum got the surprise of her life.
“I was like — that is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”
Maddie Ziegler shared that working with Sia encouraged her to be more spontaneous and uninhibited.
“I don’t think Sia likes everything to be perfect. If my foot isn’t totally pointed, she doesn’t care. I can be free with my emotion, with my face, with the choreography,” she said.
Maddie, however, admitted that she got uncomfortable doing some of the facial expressions in the music video. At one point, she had to hiss and then giggle soon after. She explained that she has never done anything like it before. In the end, the Dance Moms alum decided to embrace the routine and even learned the entire “Chandelier” choreography in two hours.
Troy Schumacher, a New York City ballet dancer and choreographer who worked with the So You Think You Can Dance newcomer in her Capezio ad early this year, called Maddie Ziegler “the first digital star.” At a young age of 13, he said that Maddie was able to create her own world of dance.
“When we talk about great dancers, it’s definitely a persona that leaves a lasting impression — it’s not necessarily the most technically perfect dancer. She’s only 13, but there’s a strong sense of personality that comes through in her movement that is somewhat iconic,” he explained.
While it may seem that she has everything down pat, Maddie Ziegler shared that she cannot help but also feel insecure at times, just like any other 13-year-old girl. Ziegler said that she was bothered with how big her eyes, teeth and nose were. At one point, she even considered changing her appearance, but Sia convinced her to stay true to herself.
“I really wanted to change my teeth — I was like, ‘They’re huge, I don’t like them.’ And Sia and this makeup artist we work with, Tonya, were like, ‘Don’t change your teeth. If you changed them, you wouldn’t be you.’ And I don’t want to now. It’s like, me.”
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]