Riley is a long-time member of A-Troupe and a member of E-Girls, which she is kicked out of after defending Michelle to her older sister, Emily. Riley is instrumental in Emily's dethronement as dance captain and Michelle's promotion to the title.
The loss puts a lot in perspective for Riley and, realizing that it is time to follow her dreams, she ultimately decides to attend business school.
Before the show
Riley used to play baseball, but eventually quit after choosing dance over it. Riley began dancing because of a "best dancer" ribbon she believed she received without even having to dance, as well as being inspired by her older sister Emily.
At an unknown time, Riley made her entire family become vegan for a year, until they caught her eating a bacon cheeseburger in bed at 2am.
Riley makes it onto A-Troupe for yet another year.
Riley sees the value of newcomer, Michelle, despite Emily's poor treatment of her. Riley eventually finds it within herself to stand up to Emily in front of the entire troupe after Michelle is the victim of biased line positions. As a result, Riley is unanimously voted out of E-Girls.
Amidst Emily's progression as a despot, Riley decides that she must be overthrown as dance captain and decides that Michelle is the best candidate to replace her. Riley eventually succeeds in convincing Michelle to comply, resulting in her partaking in a secret routine alongside Michelle, James, West, Daniel, and Chloe.
Riley's suspicions that Emily is aware of the dance ring true, forcing her to perform the routine with her fellow conspirators for Kate prematurely. After the performance, Riley votes in favour of Michelle taking Emily's title of dance captain, which leaves Riley feeling happy, yet guilty, when the plan succeeds.
Despite herself, Riley develops romantic feelings for James. She is upset when James is pulled out of the studio due to his poor grades, but promises him that he can take her on a date if he scores at least a seventy percent on his make-up math exam. Riley also tries and fails to resolve things with Emily, shattered by her claim that they are no longer sisters.
Still reeling from her fallout with her sister, Riley is uplifted upon James getting a B+ on his exam. She goes on her promised date with him which culminates in a kiss and which she deems "pretty perfect."
Riley tries once again to reunite with Emily, which eventually prevails. While catching up with her sister, Riley reveals that she is unsure of her status with James, and is urged to ask him. Following Emily's advice, Riley does so, leading to the official beginning of her romantic relationship with James.
During a performance at Regionals, Riley's hand gets stuck in her hairpiece. Although she only falters briefly, it is enough for the team to lose the round against Dance Inc., eliminating them from the competition. Riley is devastated, but is relieved when the team wins the wildcard and returns to the competition.
Riley makes it onto A-Troupe and becomes wary of Beth's closeness to James, but remains trustful of him.
Riley is in disbelief upon seeing James and Beth kissing when she goes to tell him that they won the duet for Nationals. Although James attempts to make it up to her, Riley is too hurt to accept his apology and breaks up with him, causing their duet to suffer. Nonetheless, Riley still misses James tremendously. She attempts to get over James by dating Charlie, but this only works to make her miss him more.
Riley discovers from Emily that Amanda is actually a double-agent for Elite Dance Academy whose sole purpose at The Next Step is to bring it down from the inside. Riley concocts a plan that Emily takes unto herself, which includes turning everybody in the studio against her. The plan is set into motion when Riley auditions for the Nationals solo; as she dances, Emily yells at her and Riley runs out of the room. It is hard for Riley to see everybody turn on Emily so easily, and Riley comforts Emily as she cries at the outcome.
Riley begins to speak to James again after he assures her that he will get her back. James presents her with a proposition which she accepts; she makes a list consisting of items he must complete to become her boyfriend again.
When Emily is suspended from the studio for allegedly stealing the Nationals money, Riley, with Chloe's help, deduces that the money was stolen by Amanda. She and Chloe notify the team, which has a bittersweet outcome; Amanda leaves the team upon confrontation, but the team is one dancer short from being able to perform at Nationals due to Michelle's previous departure from the studio. Riley replaces the final task on her list for James with getting Michelle to return to the studio. Upon the task's successful completion, Riley resumes her relationship with James.
Although she is back together with James, Riley still struggles with the duet. After receiving advice from Emily, Riley takes James out on a date, making her relationship with James truly official. Riley creates a new duet with James as well, which she performs with him at Nationals. After the duet, Riley tells James that she loves him, causing her to be kissed by him right on the stage in front of hundreds of people.
Riley is distressed when Emily injures her knee, leaving the team ineligible for the finals. She begins to notice that Amanda seems rather sympathetic of the team's situation, a premonition that proves right when Amanda steps in for Emily in the finals and helps lead the team to victory. The celebration is cut short when Riley discovers that the studio has been evicted upon their return, meaning that they do not have anywhere to dance. She assists in packing up the items in the studio one night, when Lucien enters and proposes that Elite and The Next Step merge for Internationals.
Riley no longer wants to participate in the dance battles for a spot on the Internationals team when she discovers that she will have to battle James. After James makes her promise to, Riley dances her hardest, only for James to forfeit, making Riley the automatic victor. While Riley initially feels betrayed, she comes to understand that James bowed out because he loves her. A spot is open on A-Troupe after Shantel quits the team and Riley is shocked when James does not jump at the chance to return. But, she is no less overjoyed when he ultimately does rejoin the team.
Riley is initially put off by Ella's tricky nature when she arrives at the studio for the Internationals exchange program. But, Riley learns to let loose with her. Ella becomes her best friend, despite James' warnings.
Riley grows confused by Ella's coldness and is hurt when she steals her solo choreography, winning the title of Miss Internationals Soloist and therefore gaining a five point advantage with the plagiarized choreography. Riley deems this the end of their friendship.
Riley competes in the seven-person dance at Internationals, as well as the blindfolded routine despite her initial wariness, both of which she wins with her group members. Riley goes on a date with James due to her success in the blindfolded routine, during which Riley notes his distractedness and wonders if he'd rather be with the band than with her.
After the team ties with Stockholm Dansteater in the finals, Riley must perform a duet with James as a tie-breaker, which is her last dance with him. The duet leads to victory, but Riley remains wondering what the future will hold.
Riley fears that with so many people leaving, the team will not be able to win Regionals due to a lack of chemistry. She meets Alfie, an auditionee from another team at Internationals, giving her hope that the team will be okay.
Riley makes it onto the troupe again, but is presented with the opportunity to become studio head. Riley has trouble making a decision, not knowing if she wants to give up competitive dance. Although, with James' advice, Riley decides to accept the position. Riley's first decision as studio head is to give her spot to Amanda, a decision that both Kate and the majority of the dancers (minus Michelle, Noah and Richelle) do not seem to agree with.
Riley prepares for the first round of the upcoming Regionals qualifier. After seeing the auditions, Riley picks the trio that originally consisted of Piper, Noah, and Sloane, but replaces Sloane with Richelle.
Riley begrudgingly allows James, West, and Eldon to use her laptop to sign up for the Bangers & Mashups International Hip-Hop Extravaganza and encourages them to go, but is still wary of James leaving. She admits that without James there, she won't have anybody to rely on when the stress of being a studio owner proves to be too much. She goes on a date with James, which proves to make her feel a little better, but but does not entirely eradicate her worry.
Riley grows concerned about Noah marking the trio and allows Skylar's trio to re-audition for the qualifier. In the end, she keeps the original trio after Noah assures her that he is okay. At the qualifier, Noah fumbles several times during the dance, resulting in the studio's loss. Upon this, Riley contemplates about resigning as studio head, feeling that the loss is her fault. After some encouragement from both Alfie and James, Riley becomes newly confident with her role.
Riley gains romantic feelings for Alfie, but also recognizes that she is still in love with James. Her feelings for Alfie peak when she dreams of him singing her a love song and kissing her. When Alfie approaches her with the confession that he has feelings for her, Riley admits that the feeling is mutual, but that they cannot act on their feelings because she is with James and is the studio head. Nonetheless, Riley's feelings for Alfie do not waver.
After learning that the winning team at the second qualifier can poach a dancer from any team they choose, only reaffirmed by Gemini's assurance that they will take Alfie if they win, Riley pulls the team out of the qualifier.
Riley picks Noah and Alfie to represent the team at the final qualifier. Soon after making this decision, she learns that Noah has sustained a back injury and must see a doctor. In lieu of Noah's unknown status, Riley considers replacing Noah with herself after rehearsing the choreography with Alfie. She comes to realize that her desire to dance at the qualifier with Alfie is irrational and decides to hold auditions for the duet, which become all the more important when Riley discovers that Noah has to have back surgery. Riley has trouble watching Alfie doing the duet with Piper, but ultimately picks them to compete at the qualifier.
Riley meets Alfie in Studio A after being asked to see him there. She is presented with a song by Alfie and confesses that even though her body is telling her to leave, her heart is what is keeping her from doing so. After Alfie concludes the song, she kisses Alfie. Riley is racked with guilt and paranoia about her kiss with Alfie, but refuses to tell James about what occurred. She also avoids speaking to Alfie, fearing that if others see them together, they will know of what she did. She is shocked when Piper tells her that she saw her kiss Alfie and that she will tell James about it if she doesn't. Riley knows that the revelation will break James' heart.
After being advised by Cooper to speak to James, Riley finally calls him and is surprised to find him standing in the doorway of her office. Riley reluctantly admits to James that she cheated on him with Alfie, and is brought to tears when he refuses to speak to her. She is happy to ultimately be forgiven by him, but is still unsure about where her heart lies.
Riley is surprised to see Emily in the studio, and even more surprised when she asserts that she is there to help her. Riley begrudgingly agrees to let Emily help take care of things around the studio. When Emily suggests that she break up with James, Riley is initially torn about ending her relationship with James. But, she realizes that it is the right thing to do and tearfully does so.
After Noah backs out of the qualifier duet despite his recovery, Riley is forced to think of a replacement. She immediately objects to Emily's suggestion to get James to dance in place of Noah, but realizes that there are no other options and asks. As she suspected would happen, she is met with angry refusal from James. But, James eventually decides to dance at the qualifier. When the team ties with another, Riley struggles to choose between James and Alfie to perform the tie-breaking solo. She is pleasantly surprised when Skylar steps in, and even happier when the team qualifies to Regionals.
Riley goes on a date with Alfie, but her mind continues to wander to memories of James. Overwhelmed by her resurfacing memories, Riley runs out of her date in tears. To make up for the ruined date, she has a makeshift date with Alfie in the Lounge, during which she is read French poetry and kissed. Despite this enjoyable turn of events, Riley realizes that she and Alfie have lost the spark they once possessed, amplified by her failed attempt at a subsequent date and her repeatedly calling Alfie James. When Alfie proposes that she meet him at the airport for a spontaneous trip, she decides to fly to London instead, where she reconnects with James and resumes their relationship.
When Riley returns to the studio with James, she is confused to find that Alfie is absent. After reuniting with Piper, Riley calls Alfie and discovers that he is in Switzerland and has no intention of returning. Riley feels guilty, believing Alfie's departure to be her fault, and worries about the team's prospects at Regionals. Riley replaces Alfie's spot in the quintet with Piper and makes Cassie an alternate.
Once at Regionals, Riley discovers that she misread the rules concerning the solo and that the soloist's name is to be drawn from a hat. Riley fears for the team's fate when Sloane is picked, as she deems her a weaker dancer than Michelle, who was the original soloist. Riley is pleasantly surprised at Sloane's performance and even more so when she wins the round. Although, Riley's contentedness devolves into anger when she discovers that Sloane knowingly performed choreography, disqualifying her from the competition, and forcing the team to compete in the sudden death trio round.
The trio round goes well, until Michelle faints from exhaustion during the routine, worrying Riley profusely. Although the team moves on in the competition, Michelle is taken to the hospital, leaving the team one dancer short and Riley guilty for neglecting her friend. Riley is relieved when James manages to get Alfie to return to fill in her spot.
Right before the team is to compete in the finals, Michelle returns and demands that she be put into the routine. Riley, deeming Michelle one of the strongest dancers, decides to pull Amanda out of the routine due to her alleged lack of focus. Regardless, the team loses Regionals, much to her guilt and devastation.
Riley still feels as though she made the wrong decision in taking Amanda out of the finals, but has moved on from the team's loss.
Riley performs one final solo in Studio A, and decides that she will move on from the studio and fulfill her dream of going to business school.
Riley helps Kate judge the dance battle between TNS East and TNS West. She is positive that TNS East will win and subsequently makes a bet with fellow judge, James; if TNS West wins, she will have to hold up a sign reading "James is a bubbly babe" at his next concert and if TNS East wins, he will have to wear his dad's powder blue suit at her business school mixer. Riley wins the bet, as TNS East is declared the victor.
Riley is initially characterized by her impartiality, morality, and practicality. Riley specializes in being able to make tough decisions because they are right regardless of the consequences, as exemplified through her decision to dethrone Emily as dance captain despite being her sister. She is extremely perceptive and notices everything that is happening in the studio, even things that others would easily miss. Although, Riley's sensibility contributes to her constant state of anxiety and inability to let loose without considering possible ramifications, regardless of their unlikelihood. Her shyness and inability to flirt only worsens this anxiety, especially when talking to the opposite gender. In conjunction to this, Riley has been described as finicky and quirky. Nonetheless, Riley is very excitable, as seen with how thrilled she is to meet Brighter Brightest.
Riley is initially quite insecure, but becomes more confident after having helped the team win Nationals and, later, Internationals. At one point, she even attempts to become more of a relaxed individual and takes part in childish pranks, such as tricking A-Troupe into learning how to square dance. Although she retains much of her worrying nature, she eventually exhibits less of a serious outlook on life.
When Riley receives the leadership role of studio head and James leaves for England, her new-found confidence and staple decisiveness waver immensely. Unlike in previous seasons, she is unable to make independent decisions with ease and constantly depends on others to assist her in making even the simplest of choices. Even when she does make a decision, she is never secure in the choice or it simply proves to be an irrational one. Additionally, Riley displays disloyalty and an inability to think with her head rather than her heart, as displayed in the advances that she makes towards Alfie despite being in a monogamous relationship with James. In fact, Riley even admits that she is very lonely and usually has a very woeful disposition. In conjunction to this, Riley can often be found drowning her sorrows with candy and compulsive online shopping.
Riley bears little resemblance to her older sister, Emily. While she is short and fair-skinned like Emily, she is much slimmer, possibly due to her fast metabolism. Likewise, she is a natural brunette rather than a blonde, although she does eventually dye her hair the latter colour. Her hair is initially straight, except for the occasional synthetic curl, and just past her shoulders, but it is cut into a bob after Regionals and remains above shoulder length. Riley wears braces, but eventually gets them taken off.
While dancing, Riley initially wears very loose-fitting and colourful clothing, often rolling up her shorts. As Riley matures, her dance wear becomes more fitting and transitions from bright blues and stripes to purples, white, black, and more neutral blues.
Riley's street wear is diverse, ranging from a simple t-shirt and shorts to dresses and skirts. After becoming studio head, Riley dresses herself in more professional attire.
- Acro: Acro is not Riley's strongest style. When suffering from nerves in front of Brighter Brightest, she butchers a mere cartwheel. James teaches her how to do an aerial and this remains as the only acro move she can perform.
- Ballet: Riley is proficient in ballet. It is one of her favourite dance styles.
- Contemporary: Riley's dominant style is contemporary. Riley likes contemporary because it combines two of her favourite dance styles: ballet and hip-hop.
- Hip-hop: Riley is proficient in hip-hop and has explicitly called herself a hip-hop dancer. This is one of her favourite dance styles.
- Main article: Riley/Relationships
- Group dances
- Group dances
- Group dances
- Group dances
- If she could dance with anybody it would probably be Kenny Wormald.
- Riley's favourite movie is Footloose.
- If she was stranded on an island the CDs she would bring are Brighter Brightest and One Direction.
- Riley's favourite band is Brighter Brightest.
- If she was a jam or a jelly, she would be blueberry jam.
- Her dream job is to be a famous dancer or actress.
- Riley hates musicals.
- Riley is known for rolling her shorts.
- Riley's phone voice-mail is "Hi, you've reached Riley. Please leave a message."
- There are conflicting accounts of Riley's proficiency in Spanish:
- Main article: Riley/Quotes
- at the
| "Look at that painting!"
To view the Riley gallery, click here.
- ↑ In "Get the Party Started," Emily reveals in that she has attended The Next Step Dance Studio from the age two. In "Under Pressure," Kate says that Emily has been at the studio for fourteen years; thus, Emily is sixteen in Season 2. Since Riley is Emily's younger sister, she must have been younger than sixteen in Season 2.