Sia dropped one of the best songs of 2014 and a stunning music video for it almost out of nowhere on Tuesday, proving that she’s still got it. She’s not only an incredible singer but a brilliant director and choreographer, as evidenced by this year’s “Chandelier” visual. But it was Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler who truly stole the show. The 11-year-old was already known as a talented performer thanks to her work on Abby Lee Miller’s show, but she became a household name after starring in this music video and has since appeared in a variety of other projects including a Steven Spielberg movie. And her bank account is probably way higher than you might expect.
Maddie’s impressive dancing skills were a big draw for Sia, who tapped her to appear in the music video for “Chandelier.” Directed by Daniel Askill (who also directed the song’s original visual), the clip is shot like a one-take, following the flexible mini-diva as she flails, falls and spins all around the various rooms of a pretty bleak-looking apartment. The dancer, dressed in a flesh-colored leotard and severe white-blonde Sia wig, frantically sways, leaps and twirls her way around the space while expressing intense emotions. It’s a mesmerizing performance that perfectly captures the narrator’s addiction and subsequent mental breakdown.
But what really makes the video pop is Maddie’s amazing dance moves, which are made all the more impressive by the fact that she’s only four feet tall. It’s a testament to her training that the talented youngster can perform so many difficult poses, and even take on stunts with ease. Whether she’s juggling multiple steps or doing a split, the girl can do it all and then some, all while making her insane faces and thrashing around an apartment that looks like it could be a mental institution.
The dancer, who’s part of the internationally acclaimed Heidi Duckler Dance, has become a sensation for her ability to quickly pick up new choreography and execute it with precision and poise. She’s also known for creating immersive art experiences in a variety of nontraditional locations, including laundromats and subway terminals.
Ziegler was able to learn the “Chandelier” dance routine in a matter of days thanks to her years on Dance Moms, where she typically had to learn at least one group dance and possibly a solo each week. That experience, along with her innate musicality and talent as a dancer, helped her breeze through the complicated steps in no time.
While Ziegler didn’t initially think anyone would ever see the Chandelier music video, it’s racked up more than 2.5 billion views on YouTube so far, and she’s since appeared in two more videos for Sia (Elastic Heart and Cheap Thrills), as well as a Miss Dior commercial that’s soundtracked by the same song. The youngster’s talent is truly mind-blowing, and it’s no wonder that she’s become such a big star at such a young age.