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Mia Michaels

Mia Michaels (born February 23, 1966) is an American choreographer best known as a judge and for her contemporary choreography on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). She has worked with musical artists such as Celine Dion, Madonna, Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, and Prince.[1] In 2005 she choreographed Cirque du Soleil's world tour, "Delirium" as well as Celine Dion's Las Vegas show "A New Day..."[2] for which she was later nominated for Emmy. In 2007 she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for her "Calling You" routine on season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance; she won again in 2010 for her work on season 5.[3] She was a main judge of So You Think You Can Dance together with Adam Shankman and Nigel Lythgoe for season 7. She choreographed the dance sequence of "Get Happy" in Season 7 Episode 15 of the "House" episode "Bombshells".[4]

Early life

Michaels was born in Coconut Grove, Florida on February 23, 1966, to a family of dancers.[5] Her father, Joe Michaels, taught her jazz, tap, and ballet from the age of three at the Miami Dance Center.[5][6] Her sister, Dana Michaels, taught her contemporary dance.[7][8] While growing up she attended summer sessions at Interlochen Center for the Arts and at Jacob's Pillow in Massachusetts.[5][7]


The choreography for Celine Dion’s "A New Day", by Mia, under the direction of Franco Dragone at Caesars’ Palace in Las Vegas has received stunning reviews. The show features a cast of 50 dancers. Mia's work can be seen in the first touring show by Cirque du Soleil, Delirium, which premiered March 2006. She has created works for numerous recording artists including Madonna, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Anna Vissi, and Prince.[9]

Mia is a judge and contributing choreographer for the Fox television show, and touring company, “So You Think You Can Dance.”[10] Mia won an Emmy award for her Choreography on a Television Series “Calling You” on SYTYCD.[3] Her other works in film and television include “Cool Women” for AMC/DreamWorks Television and award winning commercials for Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Bacardi, Coldwell Banker, and Ziper.[9]

On October 14, 2009 Mia Michaels cryptically announced via her Twitter account that her status on SYTYCD was changing. She tweeted “I AM OFFICIALLY AN ADORING FAN OF SYTYCD….THANK U FOR 5 WONDERFUL YRS,” then she followed up with, “THANKS SYTYCD AND LOOK FORWARD TO WHATS AHEAD FOR ME…LOOKOUT WORLD!!!!!”[11] The show’s executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe confirmed on October 15, 2009, Michaels’ immediate departure from the show. Lythgoe thanked Michaels for her assistance during the auditions phase of season 6 which was being broadcast during the fall of 2009. He also made it known that Michaels was welcome to return to the show at any time during season 6 or in subsequent seasons.[12] Michaels later revealed she left the show to participate as a choreographer for the Canadian, UK and Australian versions of SYTYCD. In addition, Michaels shared she was moving forward on several other projects, including her own choreography show, participating in a documentary/reality show, working on a clothing line, and working on a book deal.[13] Michaels did choreograph a routine for So You Think You Can Dance Canada's second season finale on October 25; the theme of the piece evoked her choice to depart the franchise. During rehearsal in Toronto, she injured her back and could not be present for the live performance. On January 25, 2010 The New York Post claimed she was returning to SYTYCD for season 7.[14] Michaels confirmed it via Twitter on January 28.[15]

She will soon be seen on the big screen in the new motion picture Move, directed by Kurt E. Soderling and Melinda Songer, due in 2010. She plays herself in the film along with others like Tyce Diorio, Paula Abdul, Wade Robson and Nigel Lythgoe.[16]

Since June 2006, Michaels is a columnist for Movmnt magazine.[17]

Bravo (US TV channel) recently announced a new docuseries focusing on Michaels.[18]

Included in her concert and stage work is the critically acclaimed New York based dance company RAW (Reality At Work), for which she is the founder, artistic director and choreographer since the beginning in 1997.[5][19] She has created works for the Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of “Hello Dolly!” starring Tovah Feldshuh, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Jazz Dance Chicago, and Oslo Dance Ensemble. Her choreography has been seen off-Broadway with “If These Shoes Could Talk,” and “Fort Chaffee.”[20]

Michaels was one of many choreographers set to pay tribute to Michael Jackson at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Michaels was to join Wade Robson, Tyce Diorio, Laurie Ann Gibson, Brian Friedman, and other dancer-choreographers in performing with Janet Jackson for her rendition of the song Scream,[21] but suffered an injury during rehearsals and was thus unable to perform on the show.

Michaels has been on the faculty of schools including the Harid Conservatory, the Ailey School of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Broadway Dance Center, in New York City,[22] and her alma mater, the New World School of the Arts. Her choreography has been enlisted for the Miami City Ballet, Joffrey II, the Kirov Academy and the Jazz Theater of Amsterdam.[5]

Michaels served as a regular judge on So You Think You Can Dance for its seventh season, but decided to leave the show in November 2010 because she felt she did not belong on the panel and also wanted to focus on other projects.[23] She did however still do choreography for So You Think You Can Dance Canada.[24]

When So You Think You Can Dance returned for its ninth season, Michaels returned to the show and choreographed the Top 20 group performance.

In 2015, Mia provided the choreography for the Broadway musical Finding Neverland which is currently playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway.

So You Think You Can Dance

Season Week Dancers Dance style Music Notes
1 2 Destini Rogers
Blake McGrath
Lyrical Jazz "A Song for You"—Donny Hathaway
Ashlé Dawson
Artem Chigvintsev
5 Kamilah Barrett
Nick Lazzarini
Contemporary "King of Pain"—The Police
7 Ashlé Dawson
Melody Lacayanga
"Message in a Bottle"—The Police
2 LVW* All Dancers N/A
6 Travis Wall
Heidi Groskreutz
"Calling You" —Celine Dion Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography 2007
Heidi Groskreutz’s favorite routine of the season
Allison Holker
Ryan Rankine
"Ethna"—Klement Bonelli
8 Top 6 "Hide and Seek" from Imogen Heap Result Show
9 Donyelle Jones
Travis Wall
"Ray Charles
3 LVW All Dancers "I Miss You"—Vitamin String Quartet
1 Lacey Schwimmer
Kameron Bink
3 Shauna Noland
Cedric Gardner
"I Thought We Had"—The Family Stand
5 Lauren Gottlieb
Neil Haskell
"Let the Drummer Kick"—Citizen Cope
6 Top 10 "The Moment I Said It" —Imogen Heap Result Show
7 Lacey Schwimmer
Neil Haskell
"Time"—Billy Porter Dan Karaty’s favorite routine of the season
8 Lauren Gottlieb
Danny Tidwell
"Then You Look at Me"—Celine Dion
9 Neil Haskell
Danny Tidwell
"Are You the One?"—The Presets
4 LVW All Dancers Mic CheckImogen Heap
1 Chelsie Hightower
Mark Kanemura
"Beautiful"—Meshell Ndegeocello
3 Top 16 "The Dance"—Charlotte Martin Result Show
4 Kherington Payne
Stephen "tWitch" Boss
"Dreaming with a Broken Heart"—John Mayer
Katee Shean
Joshua Allen
"Hometown Glory"—Adele
6 Top 5 female dancers "Ave Maria"—Celine Dion Result Show
7 Katee Shean
Stephen "tWitch" Boss
"Mercy"—Duffy Nominated for the 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography
Mary Murphy’s favorite routine of the season
9 Top 4 "Hallelujah"—The Vitamin String Quartet
5 LVW All Dancers "Belief (Stripped Version)"—Gavin DeGraw
2 Top 18 "Higher Ground"—Stevie Wonder Result Show
3 Randi Evans
Evan Kasprzak
"Koop Island Blues"—Koop featuring Ane Brun Won the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography
One of Adam Shankman’s favorite routines of the season
5 Kayla Radomski
Kūpono Aweau
"Gravity"—Sara Bareilles Won the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography
One of Nigel Lythgoe’s favorite routines of the season
7 Top 8 "One" from A Chorus Line Won the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography
Result Show
9 Jeanine Mason
Kayla Radomski
Contemporary "The Four Sections: IV (Full Orchestra)"—Steve Reich
7 1 Billy Bell
Ade Obayomi
Alex Wong
"This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Daylight"—Max Richter and Dinah Washington
4 Top 8 "When We Dance"—Sting
7 Top 6
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"—Sting
9 1 Top 20 "Eyes" (Coachella Live 2012 version)—Kaskade
4 Top 14 "Hanging On"—Active Child All couples perform routines choreographed by Mia Michaels form previous seasons.
Eliana Girard
Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer
MercyDuffy From Season 4
Tiffany Maher
George Lawrence, Jr.
Hometown GloryAdele
Amelia Lowe
Will Thomas
"Koop Island Blues"—Koop feat. Ane Brun From Season 5
Janelle Issis
Dareian Kujawa
Dreaming with a Broken HeartJohn Mayer From Season 4
Audrey Case
Matthew Kazmierczak
"Time"—Billy Porter From Season 3
Witney Carson
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
Calling YouCeline Dion From Season 2
Lindsay Arnold
Cole Horibe
"Gravity"—Sara Bareilles From season 5
7 Eliana Girard
Cole Horibe
"Adagio for Strings"—Brno Philharmonic Orchestra
10 MT20* Hayley Erbert
Carlos Garland
Malece Miller
"StayRihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
8 Top 8 "Move to the Ocean" (Baauer remix)—Brick & Mortar
  • LVW=Las Vegas Week
  • MT20=Meet Top 20

So You Think You Can Dance Canada

Season Week Dancers Dance style Music
2 8 Top 3 Girls Contemporary "Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor, BMV 1043: II. Largo ma non Tanto (J. S. Bach"—The Scottish Ensemble/Jonathan Rees
9 Top 10 Contemporary "This Moment"—Nic Chagall ft. Jonathan Mendelsohn
3 3 Top 18 Jazz "Let Go" —Mitzi Gaynor
6 Top 12 Contemporary "Will I?" from Rent
4 9 Top 3 Girls Contemporary "What About Us"—ATB



  1. ^ 2002 Nominees Outstanding Achievement in Commercials- Coldwell Banker “Buying” - Mia Michaels iPressroom American Choreography Awards.
  2. ^ Bill Keveney (07/20/2005), "It takes 50 to tango, etc., on Fox's 'Dance'". USA Today. (07347456)
  3. ^ a b Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
  4. ^ Internet Movie Database Mia Michaels News
  5. ^ a b c d e f g McDonagh, Don; Caras, Steven (August 1998), "Blonde ambition". Dance Magazine. 72' (8):58
  6. ^ March 2007Gold Rush Magazine"A Towering Force",
  7. ^ a b c 2002 Nominees Outstanding Achievement in Commercials- Coldwell Banker “Buying” - Mia Michaels iPressroom American Choreography Awards.
  8. ^ Coldwell Banker “Buying” - Mia Michaels / The American Choreography Awards
  9. ^ a b Past Faculty - Jazz Broadway Dance Center, New York City.
  10. ^ Bill Keveney (07/20/2005), "It takes 50 to tango, etc., on Fox's 'Dance'". USA Today. (07347456)
  11. ^ Mia Michaels Twitter page, retrieved October 15, 2009
  12. ^ Adam Markovitz, “Mia Micheals tweets that she is leaving 'So You Think You Can Dance'" Entertainment Weekly, October 15, 1950, retrieved October 15. 2009
  13. ^ Dreben, Jed; People .com, "Mia Michaels: Why I Left So You Think You Can Dance", October 28.2009 Retrieved October 28, 2009
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Mia Michaels columns movmnt magazine
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Past Faculty - Jazz Broadway Dance Center, New York City
  21. ^
  22. ^ Past Faculty - Jazz Broadway Dance Center , New York City.
  23. ^ SYTYCD Judge: Why I'm Leaving the Show
  24. ^ Mia Michaels Twitter page, retrieved June 13, 2011
  25. ^ Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
  26. ^ 2003 Nominees Outstanding Achievement in Television - Variety Series - Celine in Las Vegas: Opening Night Live! iPressroom American Choreography Awards.
  27. ^ Awards Internet Movie Database.
  28. ^ 2009 Nominations List

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