Mia Michaels left the Top 20 dancers very disappointed on the sixth season of “So You Think You Can Dance” because they won’t get the experience of working with her, but she felt she needed to expand herself as an artist.
Obviously the big news this fall was you leaving “So You Think You Can Dance.” Do you have an official reason for leaving? There were so many rumors flying about.
You know what, it was 5 years I was on the show, I was there from day one and I felt like I had all these opportunities in front of me that I was looking into, from my own show to another touring show to a clothing line to books and I didn’t have time to dive into all these projects because I was focusing so much on “So You Think.”
I just thought I wasn’t growing anymore, honestly. I felt like as an artist I was getting caught up in just grinding out duets and there’s so much more to me than that. I felt like I needed to expand myself as an artist and a brand and a director/producer/creator, as opposed to just a choreographer.
So there was absolutely no truth to any illness rumors because you gave us all quite the scare.
No! You know, when I read that I laughed at first, but then I was like, “Oooh, this is bad.” I was getting all these emails like “We’re sending you light and love” and I was like, “Oh my god, I need to stop this now” because it’s yucky energy to have out there. So I’m healthy. I’m bald but I’m healthy. I have no hair!
I’m just funny like that with my hair. I’ve always had this thing with hair. I probably would’ve been a hairdresser if I wasn’t a choreographer. I just had this intense need to shave my head. I was making all these crazy decisions in my life, making changes in my life, so it was very appropriate for me to start fresh again.
What are you working on now? What are the new projects?
One of them is a choreography show, one of them is a touring show that is also going to be a doc, a reality series, a making of. Then there’s another one that’s more personal, it was basically inspired by a website called “Mia Michaels, please choreograph my life.” Along those lines without giving away any details.
They’re all very different, but they’re all very Mia. There’s a lot of heart, a lot of passion and humanity but it’s also very meat and potatoes, the artistry and the rawness of what true creators and dancers go through. I think it’s gonna be really, really special. It’s not glossy, it’s real, you know? For me, that’s what makes me tick. The beauty and the ugliness are all so powerful.
When you say “show,” are they stage or TV? Or both?
Both. Three are television but one will also be touring the states.
When we first started talking, you mentioned a clothing line. What is going on with that?
That’s still in development. It’s for normal people, dancers can wear it, but it’s more about lifestyle. It’s funky, it’s every day, I’m really excited about that one. That’s a fun one. I’m developing some stuff for dancers, strictly for dancers, as well as every-day lifestyle, comfy but funky and edgy but still special. Bohemia-slash-edgy-slash-all that stuff.
I’m working on a book as well. I’m doing my first book. Mostly for my fans, since I left the show. I want to talk about the inspiration of every piece and how that came about and be very detailed about each journey because each journey that I created was definitely that. I want to let my fans in so they really get a sense of where the pieces came from.
Speaking of the show, is there any chance you’d come back and do a guest spot?
Absolutely. “So You Think” is such a part of who I am and it will always be somewhat of a family. Me and Nigel, we’ve been talking, so I’ll definitely come back if it works out. I’m going this week to Montreal to do the auditions for season 3 for them, so my hands are still involved.
Do you think you might be back on the US one this season or probably not until next summer?
I don’t know. If I do it’ll probably be towards the end of the season, but I don’t know. It’s all open for discussion.
I don’t know if this would be like asking you to pick a favorite child, but do you have a favorite routine you’ve choreographed for the show?
I’m probably the worst person to ask that question because I’m so picky. I don’t like anything I’ve ever done in my entire career! [laughs] And I find that that’s a blessing and a curse. The fact that I never really pat myself on the back and go, “Wow, that was great” keeps me continuing to go back, to keep going “Well, maybe this time will the great one” so there’s that part of me that I’m striving to be better, to make that magic. Whereas it also is exhausting because you’re never satisfied. You’re insatiable with the quality of work. Is it good enough? Is it interesting enough? Does it tell the story?
If I could pick… there’s moments. There are moments in each piece that I think are special. As a whole, do I like one whole piece? Probably not. There’s moments from the Stick piece (the group number), from “The Moment I Said It,” from “Hometown Glory,” to the Door piece, addiction, there’s moments in each piece that I go, “YEAH!” but then it doesn’t stay there.
Do you have a favorite piece that someone else has done?
I’m a big fan of Wade. I think Wade is a genius, I love his work. I don’t know. I just think everything he touches is unique and I’m all about having a unique voice and your own unique vocabulary and Wade has that and I hope that I have that. That’s really important, to see unique voices from creators. For me, even if Wade — it’s a hit or miss — every single thing he does I respect because he takes risks and he really takes it to another level. It’s not just a piece of choreography, it’s an entire experience. I think that’s what a true choreographer is, someone who is just constantly evolving and they have their own unique voice and they drag you into an entire experience on that stage. In general, I love Wade’s work for sure.
Do you have anything you want to get out there that I didn’t ask you about?
No, I think that’s good. Just be ready because when all my stuff starts to pop it’s gonna be a lot of Mia. Lotsa Mia!
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