October 05, 2017 12:44 PM

 

It’s no secret that Abby Lee Miller was ruthlessly demanding with her Dance Moms students — but according to JoJo Siwa, she also taught the girls some invaluable lessons.

“You know, she personally taught me how to sink or swim,” Siwa, 14, told PEOPLE Now on Thursday. “She never really said this, but you know when she’s saying something without saying it — she teaches you how to sink or swim. You either figure out the choreography and you go on stage and you nail your dance, or you don’t know anything and you go on stage and you mess up. That’s basically how it works, and you figure out how to swim.”

“Honestly, I have a lot to thank her for because truthfully, she helped me out a whole bunch,” she said of Miller, 51, who is currently serving a year in prison for bankruptcy fraud.

“Another [piece of] advice she gave me is you’ve got to be able to put your heart out on a platter and be ready for someone to stab it,” Siwa added. “That has happened a few times too!”

Terry Doyle/Nickelodeon

Siwa — whose new book JoJo’s Guide to the Sweet Life: Peace Out Haterz is out now — also walked away from the Lifetime show with some friends for life.

“We’re all really close and we’ll be forever sisters,” she said of her fellow dancers. “We’ll be 80 years old like, ‘Remember when we did that Dance Moms show?’ “

Siwa is particularly close with Maddie Ziegler.

“We talk all the time — she’s probably the one I talk to most,” she revealed. “I love her so much. She’s just a good friend.”

“It’s kind of weird because we all came from Dance Moms and then we all branched out and did our different things,” she added. “She’s going more on the acting route, whereas I’m going more on the singing-acting route. So we all have our own individual things.”

And of course, Siwa has also been keeping up with the current season of the reality show, which will welcome new coach Cheryl Burke on Oct. 17.

“I think when Cheryl Burke comes on, it’s going to be really good,” she said. “I love to watch it because I love to support my friends, and I think that the show is just so good for all of them. You know, leaving the show was actually one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make. So it’s fun for me to watch and see what they’re up to.”

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Lifetime.

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