Abby Lee Miller (Head Instructor) started at 14 years old, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She prides herself on turning out professional level dancers. Abby feels as if she is providing her dancers with everything they need to go out into the world and succeed with a career in dance. She comes off as strict, tough, and even bossy, and has made many of her dancers cry. She also tends to be the object of all fights in the network. Abby also shows favoritism through a pyramid telling each child if they are good or bad. Usually showing favoritism towards a dancer named Maddie.
Melissa, Maddie and Mackenzie's mom, is a divorced mother of the two. The other mothers on the show talk about how they can't stand her. She "would do anything for Maddie to become the lead" (on the last episode with LUX). Melissa is always talking about Maddie but never seems to have positive things about her other daughter Mackenzie. Makenzie says "she can't handle the long rehearsal hours" so Melissa is worried about her. She is never worried about Maddie because she is so used to her winning. She is constantly talking about the other mothers. She meets with the producer of the LUX video but Chloe still gets the lead, and Melissa, despite her saying she is happy for Chloe, is taken back.
Christi has two daughters: Chloe, who is enrolled in the Abby Lee Dance Company; and Clara, age two. Christi is very encouraging of Chloe but constantly worries that Abby does not give Chloe the attention or the opportunities that Maddie receives. Because of this, Christi almost always finds herself at odds with Abby as well as with Melissa. Christi had a tough upbringing, essentially being raised by her grandmother due to her mother having her at a young age. Because of this, Christi feels that she had few opportunities as a child and wants to make sure that Chloe receives more opportunities than her. But no matter what happens, Christi wants her daughter to come off that stage and feel like she did the best she could do. She is a generally sweet and nice mother but can pick a fight if she needs to to defend Chloe.
Kelly, Brooke and Paige's mom, used to be a dancer at the Abby Lee Dance company herself, but quit as a teenager to become a cheerleader. Now grown, she has now enrolled both of her daughters in the same dance company. She is often seen gossiping on the show with Christi, heightening tensions between the mothers. She is a nice mother but like Christi defends her daughter. Doesn't like Melissa.
Cathy, Is the owner of Candy Apple's Dance Center in Canton, Ohio. Cathy previously enrolled her daughter, Vivi-Anne , in Abby Lee Dance Company, but quit because she was tired of the rules, the moms, and Abby. She claimed Abby didn't use Vivi-Anne to her full potential. After she dropped out, she went back to her "Candy Apple's Command Center" and plotted her revenge. She found out where Abby's dancers were competing. She took her 3 best "Apples" Justice, Vivi-Anne, and Taylor to the iHollywood competition in L.A, California. Cathy is a sassy and never plays-by-the-rules woman. She isn't afraid to say anything to the mothers or Abby. Her plan backfires when they go competing with ALDC and lose.
Holly, Nia's mom, a mother of three, only has Nia enrolled in the Abby Lee Dance Company. Holly tends to be quieter than the other moms, however, she does have an opinon. When she feels the need to speak up, she does it in a different tone than some of the other mothers. She's been seen confronting Abby about Nia's placement in dances and costumes that are based around her ethnicity (such as a leopard print jumpsuit and an afro wig). However, she has yet to stand her ground and prevent those numbers from happening, and instead confronts Abby after the fact.
Minister Dawn is not one of the Dance Moms, but has appeared twice and is notable for her spectacular exit from Abby's dance studio in the first episode. Her daughter came to class inappropriately dressed (loose hair, t-shirt and socks for acro, which would make the rehearsal unsafe for her) and Abby had her leave the classroom. When Minister Dawn found out, she pushed her way into the studio, screamed at Abby at length, and followed her around calling her "trash" and berating her. She only left when the police were called; she and her daughter were barred from returning. She did reappear in one later, less explosive, episode to discuss billing issues with Abby; she insists that she doesn't owe for costumes and lessons given since Abby "made" them leave.
Gianna is Abby's assistant choreographer. She is often seen traveling with the group, as well as in the studio. She is noted for her special bond with Maddie. Gianna has never been individually recognized on screen.
 Abby Lee Dance Company Dancers
Maddie, now age 9, is considered the best by Abby, Melissa and some of the moms. She is continually placed at the top of the pyramid and in the front for dances, and receives a great deal of attention from Abby. Maddie was on an undefeated winning streak for most of the first season, until episode 10 where she wins second place in L.A. She also attracted the attention of a Broadway casting agent in episode five. Maddie is passionate about dance, declaring that “If I didn’t dance, I would kill myself.” She has dreams of becoming a performer on Broadway. Maddie is good friends with Chloe.
Chloe, now age 10, is considered to be Maddie’s biggest competition at the studio. Her performances are frequently compared to Maddie, by both her mother Christi, and Abby. Chloe herself does not believe that they should be compared, but rather judged on their own. Though not as well-recognized as Maddie at the studio, Chloe held the title of Junior Miss Dance of Pennsylvania for the first season of the series. She was also chosen to be the star of the "LUX" music video, outshining Maddie in the final episode.
Brooke, age 14, is the oldest member of the team. Brooke is not very interested in dance, expressing a desire to be a cheerleader with her friends; she also has complaints about dance negating any opportunity for a social life. A distinctively talented acrobatic dancer, Brooke has placed high for many of her acro performances, often in spite of personal injury, and on one occasion gained the coveted top slot of the pyramid for her impressive performance. She purportedly used to be one of “Abby’s favorites”. Brooke wants to perform on Cirque Du Soleil when she gets older.
Paige, now age 11, is Brooke's younger sister. Like Brooke, she is a talented acrobatic dancer, but does not receive as much airtime as some of the other girls. She is most frequently situated at the bottom of the pyramid, with the upper-tier slots awarded to Chloe, Maddie, and Brooke. She and Chloe are best friends and have been dancing together since they were two years old. Paige, like her older sister, wants to be in Cirque Du Soleil.
Nia, age 10, Abby says she is one of the team’s less distinctive dancers, though she believes herself to be improving. She is frequently rebuked for her technique by Abby, and on a few occasions has been accused of bringing the rest of the team down. As the team’s only African-American dancer, Nia is frequently placed in ethnic roles and dances, much to her mother’s indignation. Nia's claim to fame is her signature "death drop" move, which she learned from the drag queen "Laquifa" in Hollywood. She is usually placed at the bottom of the pyramid.
Mackenzie, now age 6, is Maddie's younger sister. Unlike Maddie, she does not have much interest in becoming a Broadway star; she'd rather "hang out by the pool" and "eat chips" than perform in competitions. Because she is significantly younger than the other girls, Mackenzie does not qualify to compete in many of the competitions, though she is very talented and flexible. When she does compete, she frequently performs in duets or in small roles in group numbers, such as pushing the swing in "Where Have All the Children Gone?" She is often put down by Abby. Her sister Maddie is very supportive of her.
 Other Dancers
Though less frequently featured than the Abby Lee Dance Company girls, these dancers have made significant guest appearances on the show.
Brandon is a fourteen-year-old dancer who performs with the Abby Lee Dance Company. Abby brings him in for the girls' Orlando number, "Snapshot", to play a photographer in the dance. He and Brooke are partners for the number, and have some unresolved feelings: Brooke states that she liked him when she was younger, but no longer does. The situation is made awkward when Abby, in order to give their dancing "chemistry", sends them on a date. The outing is mutually uncomfortable for the pair, and reflects in their performance at the competition.
Juliana is a dancer roughly the age of Maddie. She is considered by Maddie and her mother to be Maddie's biggest rival outside the studio. The two go head to head at the Orlando competition in a pageant, which Maddie wins in spite of faltering when speaking in front of the judges.
Taylor is an older dancer from Candy Apple's Dance Studio. Cathy specifically picked her to go head-to-head with Chloe at the competition in Hollywood, even going so far as choreograph her dance to the same music Chloe was dancing to. She was defeated by Chloe, who won first place, and did not place herself.
Justice is another Candy Apple's dancer, roughly the age of Vivi-Anne. He and Vivi-Anne danced a duet against Nia and Mackenzie at the Hollywood competition, but failed to place, and were defeated when Nia and Mackenzie's routine took first place.
Vivi-Anne, age 6, is a former ALDC dancer. Her mother is Cathy, the owner of Candy Apple's Dance Center in Ohio. Vivi does not share her mother's level of enthusiasm for dance, and is more interested in playing softball. While not on par with the dancers of the ALDC, Vivi is nonetheless quite an accomplished dancer for her age level. Like Mackenzie, she is rarely featured in group numbers, due to her age; her only performance with the rest of the ALDC team was "Where Have All The Children Gone?", where she was featured as the child on the swing. Due to her mother's noncompliance with Abby's rules of conduct and attendance, Vivi was pulled from the ALDC, and returned to Candy Apple's,