Who Is 'Dance Moms' Star Areana "Ari" Lopez? She's Already An Accomplished Performer

When Season 6 of Dance Moms premieres on Jan. 5, there will be one notable change — Abby Lee Miller has added a mini team and they'll be competing in solos and group dances throughout the season. We'll have some new cast members to cheer on and I'm especially excited about one powerhouse dancer who has joined the ALDC. So, before tuning in for the premiere, let's get to know Areana Lopez from Dance Moms — because she's definitely a rising star. The 10-year-old may not be a household name just yet, but I have a feeling that's about to change once viewers catch a glimpse of her killer dance moves and impressive stage presence.

Areana, who goes by Ari, began dancing when she was two years old and she's a seasoned competitor who will undoubtedly fit right in at the ALDC — she's already won titles at Starbound, KAR, Spotlight and Star Power. "Dance is my life now," Ari says in an interview with Bustle. "I live in dance clothes, I love to compete, and I have a lot of inspirations, like Sophia Lucia and Christina Ricucci." Although she loves every style of dance, Ari's favorites are ballet, lyrical, and contemporary.

Ari was selected for the ALDC mini team after a successful audition with Miller. Since she's been training intensively (about 20 hours each week) for a long time, Ari told me that her life hasn't changed that much since joining Dance Moms — but working with the other talented ALDC dancers has been a highlight for her. "My favorite thing would be meeting all the kids from the junior elite team and working with the mini team. We’re all really good friends, which I love," she says.

Despite her impressive track record, Ari admits that she sometimes gets a little nervous before competitions — but those feelings are short-lived. "When I get on stage, my nervousness goes away and I just feel so happy when I'm dancing," she explains. Ari loves to perform solos, and her favorite dance moves are turns and leg extensions.

Between training, auditioning, and filming, it would be an understatement to say that Ari's schedule is insanely busy — especially for a 10-year-old. When she has downtime, Ari enjoys spending time with her family and friends and making videos for her YouTube channel. And, dance isn't her only talent — Ari's also a budding fashion designer who works with her mom to create (what else?) dancewear. Sari Lopez founded Kandi Kouture Dancewear in 2014 and Ari helps her mom with sewing and merchandising. She also models for the company, which sells everything from leotards to hairpieces.

Ari is an incredibly talented and passionate young dancer, and I can't wait to see what Season 6 has in store for her.

Image Courtesy Of Kimber Hamill/Red Pebbles PR