As a long-time member of The Next Step Dance Studio, Riley has cultivated many relationships.



Emily is Riley's older sister. Upon first introduction, Riley admits that Emily has her faults but that, at the end of the day, she is her sister and she loves her.[1] Riley initially even tries to defend Emily's actions due to her love for her sister.

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Riley calls out Emily.

Although, it becomes clear to Riley that Emily is unreasonably threatened by Michelle and calls Emily out for this. This results in Riley getting kicked out of E-Girls by Emily, hurting Emily and aiding in their eventual estrangement.[2]

Riley decides that her sister can no longer be dance captain because of her unfair rule, which is a turning point in not only Riley's character, but in her relationship with her sister.[3] Riley's relationship with Emily wavers further in her pursuit toward Emily's dethronement and Michelle's promotion, and her eventual success in the matter.[4] As a result, Emily tells Riley that she is no longer her sister, bringing Riley to tears.[5]

Riley tries to recapture her relationship with Emily, seemingly to no avail. Although, Riley eventually succeeds when talking to her about their kittens.[6] Riley successfully rekindles her bond with Emily and fosters and even stronger relationship with her. Riley develops a code with Emily, known as "sister needs sister," to be used in their times of need.[7] The code is regularly used by both parties when they need comfort and support from one another.

Riley learns from Emily that Amanda is a mole, and helps Emily turn the team against her so that she can fill Amanda's plan.[8] Seeing Emily being subject to so much derision from her teammates deeply affects Riley, especially since she can not reveal the truth for fear of ruining the plan.

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Riley rushes behind Emily to see if she is alright.

When it appears that Emily has injured herself during the semi-finals at Nationals, Riley is the first of Emily's teammates to run off of the stage and see if she is okay.[9] Riley is devastated when her sister is unable to dance in the finals due to such an injury.[10] When Riley hears from Stephanie that Emily's doctor told her that she cannot dance on her knee, but that she will do so anyway, Riley is sure to inform the troupe and Kate that Emily is not clear to dance, so as to not make Emily's injury worse.[11] Although this briefly fragments their relationship, Riley's concern for Emily's well-being is evident.

Riley is thankful for Emily's assistance during her time as studio head,[12] and attentively listens to Emily's advice, showcasing that Riley values her sister's opinion.

Although Riley and Emily are close, Riley has stated that Piper, who is not related to her whatsoever, except for being her boyfriend, James's, younger sister, is her favourite sister, not Emily.[13]


Riley has an unseen younger brother named Matty.[14]



Riley is extremely wary of Ella when she first meets her as exchange dancer to the studio, due to her brashness and trickiness. Although, Riley is forced to give her a tour of the studio, during which Riley warms up to Ella and even partakes in a prank with her.[15]

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Upon Ella's suggestion, Riley considers pranking A-Troupe.

Riley spends more time with Ella, during which Riley partakes in increasingly more pranks and attempts to let loose. Riley's bond with Ella becomes so strong that she begins spending more time with her than James and that James even states that Ella is changing Riley's personality.

Riley is melancholic about Ella's departure and claims that she will miss her best friend.[16]

Riley arranges to go out for dinner with Ella in Miami, even cancelling her plans with James in order to do so. Riley is confused when Ella never return after claiming that she needs to get her wallet, leaving her to briefly work as a waitress to pay off the meal.[17]

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Riley wishes Ella good luck before her solo and regards her with confusion when she brushes her off.

The true end of their friendship comes when Ella performs Riley's solo during the solo round and is crowned Miss Internationals Soloist. Riley is heartbroken at Ella's betrayal, and vows to make her pay for what she has done.[16][18] When Ella's team is eliminated from the competition and Ella ties to hug her, Riley rejects her advances and refuses to resume their friendship.[19]

Despite no longer being her friend, Riley calls Ella and asks her to check on James while he is in London. Riley accepts Ella's apology for stealing her solo and is flattered at her offer to visit her in London. While the two are not best friends again and will probably never reach that status again, they are at least acquaintances or friends at this point.


"We're more than friends. Thanks to The Next Step, Michelle and I are sisters."

Michelle is Riley's best friend.

Riley is amazed by Michelle's prowess when she auditions for The Next Step Dance Studio.[1] Believing her to be talented and a good person, Riley disagrees with the E-Girls, especially Emily's, erreoneous treatment of her. Riley becomes so fed up that she open calls out her sister, which gets kicked out of the E-Girls.[2]

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Riley asks Michelle to meet her in Studio B.

Riley decides to actively pursue Emily's dethronement as dance captain and decides to replace her with Michelle.[3] Riley goes behind her own sister's back to work on a routine to dethrone her, with Michelle at the helm. Riley understands that her relationship with her sister may very well be squandered as a result, but believes Michelle's promotion to be so important that she does it anyway and succeeds.[4] Throughout this process, Riley becomes very close to Michelle.

Despite Michelle's frequent slighting of Emily over the course of Season 2, Riley never exhibits any form of derision or anger toward her. In fact, Riley remains Michelle's close friend and hangs out with her often. Riley is very upset when Michelle leaves The Next Step Dance Studio[8]; in addition to actively attempting to get her to return, Riley makes getting Michelle to return to the studio the final request on the list that James must complete to be her boyfriend again.[20]

After taking on the role of studio head, Riley frequently seeks Michelle for advice and guidance. When Michelle faints during her trio at Regionals, Riley is visibly concerned,[21] in fact, some Steppers deem Riley's concern fro Michelle fainting greater than Riley's concern for Emily when she breaks her knee. Riley even takes Amanda out of the finals routine so that Michelle can ultimately dance.[22]


Riley is very close to Piper, especially because of her relationship with her brother, James. She even claims that Piper is her favourite sister, not Emily, despite not being related to Piper.[13]

After Piper witnesses Riley kissing Alfie,[23] and therefore cheating on James, Riley's relationship with Piper dissolves.

When Riley gets back together with James, Riley's relationship with Piper is restored.[24]

Love interests


"I like you [...] as more than a friend."
Riley to Alfie[src]

Riley is introduced to Alfie in Java Junction on the day of the open house for A-Troupe.[25] She comes to like him and believes him to be a "beautiful dancer."[26] Riley grows closer to Alfie after convincing the Swiss ambassador to let him stay at The Next Step Dance Studio as opposed to returning to his duties as prince of Switzerland and after James leaves for London.[27]

Alfie riley kiss season 4 episode 16

In a dream, Riley kisses Alfie.

Riley becomes romantically attracted to Alfie, a feeling that only intensifies as the time she spends away from James progresses. Eventually, she admits to Alfie that she likes him as more than just a friend but, knowing that she is in a relationship and is also studio head, wishes to keep the relationship platonic.[28] Despite this assertion, Riley continues to struggle with her feelings to Alfie and, eventually, she kisses him.[23]

After breaking up with James,[29] Riley begins dating Alfie. Although, as their relationship continues, Riley becomes increasingly aware that the spark she once had with Alfie is gone and that she still loves James. Consequently, Riley ditches Alfie on his proposed trip and flies to London where she reunites with James.[30] This effectively ends her romantic relationship with Alfie.


Upon suggestion from her friends after her break-up with James, Riley approaches Charlie. Riley struggles to flirt with him, having never done so before, but her poor attempt does not deter Charlie. Charlies ends up asking her out on a date. On this date, though, Riley realizes that Charlie is very vapid and superficial, much like Beth. [31]

Riley and Charlie eventually break up, as Riley reprises her relationship with James.[20]


James is Riley's long-term boyfriend. They have been together since Season One, and are the longest-running couple in the entire show.

Riley is initially put off by James's personality and is sure that she will not fall for him, unlike seemingly "every other girl". However, Riley is coerced into spending more time with James, and their friendship buds into a romance.

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Riley leans into James.

When James is pulled from the studio due to his declining grades, Riley is devastated. Riley promises him that if he scores at least a 70% on his math test, they will go on a date.[5] Sure enough, James scores a B+ on his test, and he and Riley have their date. Riley is disappointed to find that the date is in Studio A, seeing as she dances there everyday, but Riley comes to understand the thought in James' date and has a good time. The date ends with a slow dance and kiss, and Riley deems it "pretty perfect."[32]

Despite their mutual romantic feelings, date, and kiss, Riley is confused as to where she and James stand in their relationship. Riley is advised by Emily to simply ask James and she does. Riley is excitedly lifted up and spun around by James, and their relationship commences.[6]

Riley becomes suspicious of James' ex-girlfriend, Beth, being around him so often. Her suspicions ring true when Riley catches James and Beth kissing one day, much to her devastation.[33] Riley is hurt even further when she gives James the opportunity to confess what he did and he lies that nothing happened. When James tries to make it up to her by performing a dance and apologizing, Riley softens up, but immediately resorts to her previous anger when Beth interrupts James' speech. Believing that James ruined something special, Riley breaks up with James.[34] Riley tries to move on from James, even briefly dating Charlie, but continues to miss James despite what he has done.

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Riley speaks to James about the possibility of a list.

When James approaches her, suggesting that they rekindle their relationship via a list of tasks designed by her that he has to do, Riley is responsive, seeing this as James' genuinely wanting to correct his actions.[35] Upon James completing the list, Riley begins dating James again.[20]

After performing her duet with James at Nationals, Riley is so overtaken by joy that she tells James that she is in love with him right there on stage, resulting in her being kissed by James in front of thousands of audience members.[36]

In Season 3, James and Riley's relationship begins to grow tenuous after James begins spending more time with his band. Later, Riley's friendship with Ella is another weakening factor for the relationship, as Ella convinces Riley that she shouldn't "waste" so much of her time on James, and instead should spend time with her. Realizing that a rift is growing between them, James temporarily quits the band, and he and Riley spend a day trying to imagine how the other thinks, resulting in them being closer than ever before. Even though James decides that he will quit dance after Internationals, Riley decides that this will not affect their relationship, and is excited to see what the future holds for them. James and Riley perform their final duet together as the Internationals tiebreaker, and their performance helps The Next Step win Internationals.

Riley's relationship with James sees trouble once more when Alfie arrives at the studio[37] and James goes to London for a hip-hop competition.[27] Riley begins developing romantic feelings for Alfie in James's absence, and although she initially refuses to act upon them, she eventually succumbs to them and kisses Alfie.[23] Riley feels guilty about kissing Alfie, especially since Piper witnessed it,[38] but doesn't tell James in order to save him from heartbreak. James puts the clues together once he finally sees her face-to-face, and Riley reveals that the person she cheated on James with is Alfie. Although James quickly forgives her,[39] Riley breaks up with James, deeming their flawed relationship a distraction. [40]

Riley commences a romantic relationship with Alfie soon afterwards. Although it initially goes well, it becomes obvious to Riley that something is missing in their relationship. Realizing she still loves James, Riley flies to London and tells James:

"I love you. It's always been you, I'll always love you and I'm so sorry for what I did but you're gonna have to find a way to—"
Riley to James [src]

after which, James kisses her.[30] She rekindles her romantic relationship with James, and is subsequently in disbelief that she ever questioned her love for him.[24]

Later, Riley receives a promise ring from James.[22] This, in terms of their relationship, means that they are planning to never break up again, whatever may happen.


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  25. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named :1
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