Explaining her creative process Mia says, “I direct moves a
lot. I’ll have a dancer that is totally open to the movement, that knows my thinking and creative process, and I just start directing them. It’s like painting a picture sometimes. It’s all an explosion of the unknown, which is the most uncomfortable part. But it’s cool because then once your body goes into those places it starts a whole thing of newness, and that’s kind of what I’m always about - always pushing to the unknown.”
Mia shares that pushing the boundaries is a challenge, but it keeps her on her toes. “It keeps me constantly exploring”, she says. Her works are varied and always inspiring, but where does she get her inspiration from? “There are different things that inspire me”, she shares. “It could be a photograph, a piece of music, the dancer themself (someone that’s really unique that I’ve never had the opportunity to work on), or what I’m going through in my life. It all factors into different feelings and movement.”
With an impressive list of stage and screen credits I asked Mia about her career highlights. Mia noted her current work with So You Think You Can Dance as a definite highlight, saying, “It’s almost like a workshop for me. It’s like I’m able to do a workshop on national television”. With millions of viewers across the world watching her work Mia explained that it can be a little daunting. “The world is seeing your work and it’s scary because you’re not just exploring it on your own, you’re exploring it with the world.” Talking about SYTYCD Mia says, “I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been fun-filled. It’s a lot of work but it’s been good and I think it’s one of my highlights so far.”
Working on A New Day was a definite career high for Mia, as well as winning an Emmy in 2007 for Calling You, a contemporary bench piece performed on SYTYCD US Season 2.Talking about the moment her Emmy was announced Mia expressed “I just stopped, it’s like everything just stopped and I took it all in for a couple of seconds before I could even speak. It wasn’t about the bench-piece, it was about all the years and years and years of hard work and determination that brought me to that moment. I’m such a hard critic on myself and for that quick moment in time I was smiling from the inside out and was just so proud, you know.”
With achievements bursting out of her belt, I asked Mia if there was anything else she wanted to accomplish in the years to come. “I would love to have a Broadway show, a wonderful Broadway show of my own, not a remodel”, she said. “I would love to work with Tim Burton, Baz Luhrmann and Sting, and I would also like to create, direct and choreograph a spectacle show kind of what like Cirque does, except through music, dance and story.” On a more personal note Mia also expressed a calling to motherhood. “I want to hopefully one day, whether it’s through adoption, experience being a mother. I think it is important as a woman, because it only enhances who you already are and your art.”
Mia also talked about having her own television series. “I’m writing a lot for different shows and concepts, I’m pitching two television shows of my own that are choreography based”, she divulged. “I would love to have my own television show, just to take it into a whole other level”. Mia plans to take dance reality shows to a new place, building on where SYTYCD has gone. “I’m ready for the next place now”, she said, “the real meaty place, like do you want reality? I’m going to give you the reality of dancers and choreographers and the work - you know the work!”
Known for her teaching at Broadway Dance Center and at The Pulse I spoke to Mia about her talents as a dance teacher. “I was a teacher at a very young age. My dad had a dance studio and they put us to work real early” she laughed. “We were teaching really young. It is like second nature for me to teach. I am a great teacher. I bring in the philosophy not only of movement but of life, spirit and soul. You need an understanding of why we’re here, why we do what we do, and why we love to dance.”
Mia feels that “there is an underlying reason for why people love to dance as much as they do and why it brings us altogether” . Mia has so much to give to dancers and audiences. “I love the experiences that I’ve had in this business and this life, because I have so much to share”, she says.
With such a passion to share her love of dance, I asked Mia if choreography was always her career plan. “I think dance was always there”, she said. “It came in waves, sometimes it was stronge and sometimes it wasn’t. At one point when I was fifteen I just wanted to be a normal teenager. I grew up in the dance studio, so by the time I hit fifteen I just wanted that normal life that every teenager had. I quit for a year and just explored that, but I got over that real quick. So I kind of went back into dance. It was always pulling me.I always felt like it was a calling on my life to be in the dance business".
Believe it or not Mia did have a brief affair with hairdressing. “I went to hair school” she divulged. “I wanted to be a hairdresser at one point” - an interest that explains her many distinctive hairstyles. “I have fun hair, my hair is always something”, she laughed.
With a creative flare that can be seen in her choreography as well as her hairstyles, Mia shared that she is moving into designing. “I’m designing clothes, writing conceptually and directing”, she said. “I have a lot of things that I’m actually moving into as well now”. Mia is designing an artistic t-shirt line that is already selling well. “I’m going to be launching a clothing line in the next six months. I’m also doing footwear for dancers, for contemporary dancers because that hasn’t been done yet", she explained. Obviously excited about this new venture, Mia shared that her clothing line will be available online for purchase. With her Australian tour soon approaching, Mia will be bringing a small boutique of her designs to our shores for purchase at her classes.
With dancers across the country so excited about Mia’s visit I asked her what her trip will involve. “I’ll be teaching master classes and going to New Zealand, Australia and possibly South Africa (although that’s still to be determined)”, she shared. Teaching master classes in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, Mia will also be making an appearance on So You Think You Can Dance, Australia. Unsure at this stage as to whether she will choreograph or judge for the show, Mia is excited to be a part of the Australian series. “I’ve never been to Australia and I know that I have a huge fan base over there because I get lots and lots of fan mail from Australia. So I can’t wait to go over to work, to teach and meet everyone”, she said. “I can’t wait to get the whole feel of the dance world over there. I’m looking forward to it!”
Check out the June edition of Dance Informa for Part 2 of Mia’s Interview!
Mia Michaels Workshops!
Please note that Dance Downunder unfortunately cancelled Mia's tour.
For further information please visit our blog - Click here
Date: Saturday May 2nd & Sunday May 3rd
Venue: State Sports Centre
Date: Saturday May 9th & Sunday May 10th
Venue: Melbourne Sport Centre
Date: Saturday May 16th & Sunday May 17th
Venue: Sleeman Sport Centre
There are also audience tickets available for $50.
For information visit www.dancedownunder.com.au