Former Abby Lee Dance Company Student Performs With Taylor Swift
An Upper St. Clair native reveals what it was like dancing for the MTV Video Music Awards.
If you watched Taylor Swift perform her hit single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" to close out the MTV Video Music Awards last week, one of the dancers may have looked awfully familiar.
Click here to watch the performance. Upper St. Clair native Taylor Ackerman is the brunette with the light blue pants and white crop top.
"It was a dream come true," Ackerman said.
Ackerman went to Upper St. Clair High School through her junior year and finished her senior year online so she could move and chase that dream in Hollywood.
Ackerman said she was one of six girls and six guys selected from a pool of 500 to dance with Swift.
"In my eyes I think it's the biggest job I've gotten so far," she said.
For eight hours a day for a week, Ackerman rehearsed with Swift.
"She's super nice," Ackerman said. "When you're around people like that it's so amazing to see how creative they are.
"We had to keep telling her to stop singing," Ackerman said with a laugh.
Swift even went to her VMA dancers' dressing room to say hello and give them gifts before the performance.
To add to the excitement, Ackerman also got to meet Rihanna in a hallway.
"She's my favorite; She's amazing," Ackerman said. "She (Rihanna) said good luck and congratulations."
Ackerman will appear on TV again in the movie "Lovestruck" on ABC Family in the spring and Abby Lee Miller's, of "Dance Moms," new show "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition" on Lifetime in October. Ackerman danced at the now-famous Penn Hills studio from age 12 to 18—many students from the Plum-Oakmont area also have trained at the studio, which is near the Plum Borough border.
"It's crazy to see my studio in the national spotlight," Ackerman said. "It's cool to watch them."
Ackerman's younger sister, Payton, still dances with the Abby Lee Dance Company and often appears on the "Dance Moms" reality TV show with their mother, Leslie.
"The drama is real," Ackerman said. "My mom is definitely a mama bear and always defends me, my brother and my sister."
However, she thinks the show makes everything seem "crazier" than it really is.
Ackerman tries to visit Pittsburgh during the holidays.
"I miss my family and I really appreciate Pittsburgh now that I'm gone," Ackerman said. "But I'm right where I need to be to do what I want to do.
"I remember telling my dad last Christmas that my next goal was to perform with an artist."
And she reached it—performing with one of the biggest names in music.