PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The moms and dancers of Abby Lee Miller’s studio in Penn Hills are known across the country thanks to the popular “Dance Moms” show on the Lifetime network.
Three of those moms and four daughters came to the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh to entertain students with special needs.
When asked about the frequent battles on Abby Lee’s show, Melissa Gisoni says, “They can’t put the whole 60 hours of your filming in, so they just get, of course, all the bad times in.”
“But the emotions and the feelings are all very real,” says Jill Vertes. “When you see us crying, it’s because we’re sad and hurt. And it’s the same with the kids.”
It’s a triumphant return to the Children’s Institute for 12-year-old Nia Frazier.
Four years ago, she was diagnosed with reflex neurovascular dystrophy, a condition in which pain symptoms are greatly magnified. Her mother says the Children’s Institute turned her daughter’s life around.
“Nia couldn’t walk,” says Holly Hatcher-Frazier. “She was in a wheelchair. And at this point, we had this child who was so active, so vibrant, and she was in pain. Nia was determined to be a dancer again, and the Children’s Institute was able to guide her to achieve that goal.”
After the show, dancers meet with students. Anna Riordan, 13, has the same RND symptoms, the same goals that Nia had.
“She’s able to dance like six days a week,” Anna says, “and still does so much, and be a TV star, and have this pain condition that she’s going to have and just work through it.”
“They helped tremendously,” Nia adds. “Because now whenever I get hurt, I don’t cry anymore. Because I’ll be like, that wasn’t real pain.”