Primarily set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and later in Los Angeles, California, the show originally followed the Abby Lee Dance Company's Junior Elite Competition Team of dancers aged 6–16 as they traveled week-to-week to various dance competitions, winning awards and preparing for Nationals, while at the same time being prepared by Abby Lee Miller to be "professional, employable working dancers". The series depicted the doting mothers as rivals of each other on behalf of their daughters, often arguing with Miller and each other, and sometimes closing ranks against rival teams. Dance performances were creatively conceptualized by Miller and her dance instructors, with input from the show's producers, while the choreography was done by Miller, her staff, and occasionally a guest choreographer. Various rival dance teams spurred the team's competitiveness. The show's success was often credited to the drama and conflict among Miller and the moms, along with the weekly dances and the close relationships among the girls as viewers watched them grow up and improve their skills.