May 9, 2013
“There shouldn’t be any right or wrong in creating a dance” A quote from a woman who has inspired many people with her choreography and continues to create and inspire those who have a vision and a dream. As an artist in dance and theatre, questions are raised, “Who inspires you to create?” This is usually followed by “Who is your favorite artist?” Both of these questions are hard to narrow down to just one person, over the years, as new artists have come to the forefront, the answer changes. However, as of right now, there is one choreographer, Mia Michaels, who is in my top five most inspiring artists. She is my favorite not only because of her work but because of what she stands for and her passion for everything that she does. For each of her choreographed pieces, duets or group numbers on the reality dance show So You Think You Can Dance?, Michaels illustrates a bit of humanity that cannot be said just in words themselves. She brings the audience in with her storylines and leaves them with an emotional connection that they will remember beyond just that one performance. Mia Michaels is one the best emotional storytelling choreographers of the twenty-first century.
“Be inspired, have healthy competition with the people around you, but very much stay on your own tasks and stay focused and just continue to push yourself to the highest level possible. Stay on your path, stay true to who you are. Don’t try to be like anybody else; don’t try to look like anybody else. Be you, and be the best that you can be and celebrate it every step of the way.” This is another inspiring quote from Ms. Mia Michaels. From studio, stage to screen, Mia Michaels' unique choreographic style has touched dancers and audiences across the globe. “Her choreography is consistently cutting-edge, though her demeanor is notoriously tough. Dancers lucky enough to work with Mia -- either on "So You Think You Can Dance" or the convention circuit -- have been known to break down during her creative process. She works you hard physically, and she'll gut you emotionally. By the end of your time with Mia, whether it's an hour or a week, you'll be a stronger dancer and, most likely, a stronger person.” (Feller, 2013) Known as a popular judge and contributing choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance, Mia is an inspiration to the dance community. “Mia was born in Coconut Grove, Florida, to a family of dancers. Her father and dance teacher, Joe Michaels, taught her jazz, tap and ballet, while her sister, Dana, taught her contemporary dance. Though she began her training with members of her family, she also trained at Miami Conservatory, the Miami Performing Arts Center and Michigan's Interlochen Arts Academy, as well as, the New World School of the Arts. Her first work experience was with her father at the Miami Dance Center, even though she began choreographing at the age of 11. She still works with her father at Joe Michaels Miami Dance Center. She has also taught dance in several schools, including the International Dance Festival of Italy, Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, and as a guest jazz teacher at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC. She is the founder, artistic director and choreographer of RAW (Reality At Work), a critically acclaimed New York-based dance company begun in 1997. Mia's contemporary dance company "Mia Michaels R.A.W." has performed in Seoul, Korea, the Jazz World Congress, the International Dance Festival in Amsterdam, the Gypsy Project, Jacobs Pillow, and the New York City '99 concert season. In 2001, the dance company went on a 6-week European tour. Her claim to fame came in 2005 when she became a guest judge and contemporary choreographer for the "So You Think You Can Dance" competition television series. In 2009, she left the show after the auditions in New York City. In 2010, she returned, becoming the new resident judge for the show. “Mia’s expertise in the area