Kalani Hilliker: Dance Moms Standout's Exit From Series Defended By Mom

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If you watch Dance Moms, you noticed that when Season 4 returned last week, star dancer Kalani Hilliker, 13, and her mother, Kira Girard, did not.

The explanation for that depends on who you ask.

Kalani Hilliker Photo

“Notice that Kalani is not with us,” coach and Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller said. “I certainly don’t want a kid whose mother chooses her boyfriend over her own child.”

Oooh, burn. But Kalani's mom tells a different story:

While Miller, 47, claims that Girard pulled her daughter from the show in an effort to spend more quality time with her boyfriend,

Girard says her decision did not stem from her love life, but from a request to sign a seven-year contract in order to stay on Dance Moms Season 4.

The contract wasn't right for her family, she says:

“I have a 6-year-old little boy that I [had] to leave for four months [at a time] and yes, my boyfriend, as well. My son needs his mom just as much as Kalani does."

"“I’m more about raising kids, not about being famous. … Kalani has the rest of her life to become a dancing star if that is where her life takes her.”

“I had to make a decision based on what’s best for our family and Kalani ... It was a very hard decision, but I stand by it and am very happy with it.”

Kalani Hilliker is now back in Arizona, practicing and competing with her original studio, Club Dance in Mesa, though she maintains her Dance Moms ties.

“Kalani has an amazing relationship with all the kids and moms, and, of course, [Abby Lee Miller],” her mom said. “She is actually going to Pittsburgh for a week [this] month.”

When Kalani’s not practicing, Girard said her daughter is all about promoting the positive side of dance via fan meet-and-greets and master classes.

“Kalani is out to inspire and let the world know that when you work hard, dedicate yourself and focus, you can be anything you want to be,” said Girard.

“We are hitting some states," the former Lifetime star says, "to help keep the positive drive in dance. Sometimes, I feel it gets lost in the show.”

Ya think?!