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Maddie Ziegler on Working With Steven Spielberg on ‘West Side Story’ and the 10-Year Anniversary of ‘Dance Moms’

·3 min read

As she slowly awakens from the “dream” of working with director Steven Spielberg on “West Side Story,” Maddie Ziegler is teasing some of the upcoming musical’s standout scenes, including the iconic “Dance at the Gym” number.

The “Dance Moms” alum stars as Velma in Spielberg’s film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical, about two teenagers (played by Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler) of different ethnicities, who find love in New York.

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“It’s always nerve-wracking to do a remake of something, especially something so iconic, but [Spielberg] really stayed true to the 1960s, which is amazing,” Ziegler, 18, told Variety backstage last weekend at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Festival at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. “We had all of our costumes handmade and the full undergarments and everything they wore in the ‘60s, which was awesome.”

“I think everyone’s going to be really excited to see the ‘Dance at the Gym’ scene because that’s the big dance number where everyone comes together and there’s some really surprising elements,” she continued.

The dancer and actress, who starred in musician Sia’s directorial debut, “Music,” and several of her music videos, added that working with Spielberg was an incredible experience. “He was so collaborative, really understanding of everyone and made it such a safe environment for us to all bring our own flair to the table,” she said. “The way he works and sees every shot is so incredible. He’s brilliant.”

Ziegler was attending the iHeartRadio Music Festival with sister and fellow “Dance Moms” star Mackenzie Ziegler, 17, to promote their new podcast, “Take 20 With Maddie and Kenzie,” launching on Sept. 20. The two hope to show a different side of themselves while discussing mental health, body image, family and more.

“People have had this idea of us for so many years — they’ve watched us grow up from when we were 7 and 8 to now, which is crazy,” Ziegler said. “It’s been over 10 years, so we’re excited to show people a different side of us that’s more personal, more relaxed and not in front of a camera.”

“We’re so excited to work on a project together because it’s been a long time since we have,” added Mackenzie Ziegler, who competed in “The Masked Dancer” earlier this year and is continuing to work on new music following her recent single, “Happy for Me.” “This is something so fun for us because we just get to ramble and be ourselves.”

July 13 marked 10 years since the premiere of “Dance Moms.” Ziegler said the stars of the Lifetime reality series have been texting as they reflect on their shared journey growing up in the limelight.

“We cannot believe it’s been 10 years,” Ziegler said. “We’ve grown up and gone through so much together and we’re all close, so it’s surreal to be around each other as young adults now. Having that as our childhood was crazy enough and the fact that it’s already been 10 years is insane.”

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