If you’ve watched Lifetime’s hit TV show Dance Moms, then you’ve probably been amazed by these talented young dancers and their spectacular performances. Behind the crazy dance moves and beautiful choreography is Gianna Martello, who has worked with the Abby Lee Dance Company for years and is the main choreographer for the show. Find out how long she’s worked with Abby, her favorite styles of dance, and what inspired her to pursue it as a career.
R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
G: My name is Gianna, but most people call me Gia. I don’t have a middle name. I’m twenty-seven years old and a Gemini. I am bi-coastal; I split my time between Los Angeles and my hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. I am currently the choreographer on Dance Moms, but I grew up dancing at the ALDC under Abby Lee Miller, so that’s how it all fell into place.
R: How long have you been dancing?
G: I have been dancing since I was four years old. I started in a church basement taking only ballet and tap, but I wanted to take all styles, which is why I switched to dance under Abby. The rest is history!
R: When did you decide you wanted to be a choreographer?
G: I started teaching and assisting Abby when I was sixteen. She trained her older students to teach her lesson plan and pass it on to the younger dancers. Once I went to college, I started coming home on the weekends to teach and choreograph, and I knew that this is what I loved to do.
R: Tell us about Dance Moms. How did you get involved with the show?
G: I grew up dancing for Abby and started working for her while I was still in high school. Some of the girls on the show were the first students I ever had, when they were very young. I was teaching and choreographing dances for the girls way before the show started. I used to go to competition with them, get them ready, warm them up, and make sure they were stage ready, so it was only right that I did the same on the TV show.
R: What’s your favorite style of dance?
G: My two favorite styles are lyrical and contemporary. I grew up as a strong lyrical dancer, and contemporary became more popular as I was older.
R: What are some of your other interests besides dance?
G: Shopping, makeup, fashion, music, sushi, massages…y’know!
R: What advice do you have for young dancers?
G: I wasn’t always the best dancer in my group, but I know I was the most passionate. Dance was the only thing I cared about when I was growing up. If it is your obsession, being the best doesn’t matter. Stick with it!
Written by Anna Tallarico
Photo credits: Ryan West