Mia Michaels

Mia Michaels Melchiona (known professionally as Mia Michaels, born February 23, 1966) is an American choreographer and judge on the television show So You Think You Can Dance. She has worked with Tom Cruise, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Ricky Martin, Prince, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In 2005 she choreographed Cirque du Soleil's world tour Delirium and Celine Dion's A New Day,[1] for which she received an Emmy Award nomination. In 2007 she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for her routine on "Calling You" during season two of So You Think You Can Dance. She won another Emmy Award during season five in 2010.[2] She was a judge during season 7 with Adam Shankman and Nigel Lythgoe. She choreographed the dance sequence for "Get Happy" in the episode "Bombshells" of the television series House.

Mia Michaels Melchiona
Michaels is interviewed backstage after the So You Think You Can Dance season four finale, August 7, 2008.
Born (1966-02-23) February 23, 1966
Home townMiami, Florida
AwardsOutstanding Choreography
2007 So You Think You Can Dance
Outstanding Choreography
2010 So You Think You Can Dance
Outstanding Choreography
2011 So You Think You Can Dance

Early life

Mia Michaels was born in Coconut Grove, Florida on February 23, 1966, to a family of dancers.[3] Her father, Joe Michaels, taught her jazz, tap, and ballet from the age of three at the Miami Dance Center.[3][4] Her sister, Dana Michaels, taught her contemporary dance.[5] Her brother Joe Melchiona owned and taught dance at Heidi & Joe's Dance Center in Miami Florida. While growing up, she attended summer sessions at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan and at Jacob's Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts.[3]

Professional career

The choreography for Celine Dion's "A New Day" by Michaels, under the direction of Franco Dragone at Caesars' Palace in Las Vegas, received positive reviews. The show features a cast of 50 dancers. Michaels' work can be seen in the first touring show by Cirque du Soleil, Delirium, which premiered in March 2006. She has created works for Madonna, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Anna Vissi, and Prince.[6]

Michaels is a judge and contributing choreographer for the FOX television show So You Think You Can Dance (abbreviated SYTYCD).[1] She won an Emmy award for her choreography on the television series Calling You on SYTYCD.[2] Her other works in film and television include Cool Women for AMC/DreamWorks Television and commercials for Mike's Hard Lemonade, Bacardi, Coldwell Banker, and Ziper.[6] She also choreographed and played the character Olivia in the dance film Step Up Revolution.

The show's executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, confirmed on October 15, 2009 Michaels' departure from the show. Lythgoe thanked Michaels for her assistance during the auditions phase of season 6, which was 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9]

Since June 2006, Michaels has been a columnist for Movmnt magazine.[10]

In 2010, Bravo announced a television program focusing on Michaels.[11]

Included in her concert and stage work is the dance company RAW (Reality at Work). She is the founder, artistic director, and choreographer since the beginning in 1997.[3] 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 in If These Shoes Could Talk and Fort Chaffee.[12]

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",[13] but suffered an injury during rehearsals and was 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, Broadway Dance Center in New York City,[14] 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.[3] She occasionally joins the staff of the dance convention JUMP. In 2017, she worked with the Joffery Ballet School for a summer intensive program.[15]

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 2012, Michaels choreographed for the film Rock of Ages.[16] In 2015, she provided the choreography for the Broadway musical Finding Neverland. In 2016, she choreographed the New York Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes.[17] In 2019, it was announced that Michaels would provide choreography for the 2020 animated film The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge.[18]

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
"Georgia on My Mind" – Ray Charles
3 LVW All Dancers "I Miss You" – Vitamin String Quartet
1 Lacey Schwimmer
Kameron Bink
"Dancing" – Elisa
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

Awards and honors

Year Award Category Work Result
1992 Jazz Dance World Congress Silver Leo Award Won
Dance Educators of America President Cup Won
2002 American Choreography Awards Outstanding Achievement in Commercials Coldwell Banker "Buying" Nominated
2003 Outstanding Achievement in Television - Variety Series Celine in Las Vegas: Opening Night Live Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Choreography Nominated
2007 So You Think You Can Dance ( For episode Calling You) Won
2009 So You Think You Can Dance (For "Mercy") Nominated
2010 So You Think You Can Dance (For the routines "Koop Island Blues," "Gravity," and "One") Won
2011 So You Think You Can Dance (For the routines "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "When We Dance," "This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Daylight" (tied with Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo) Won
2015 Astaire Awards Best Choreographer Finding Neverland Nominated


  1. Bill Keveney (07/20/2005), "It takes 50 to tango, etc., on Fox's 'Dance'". USA Today. (07347456)
  2. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
  3. McDonagh, Don; Caras, Steven (August 1998), "Blonde ambition". Dance Magazine. 72 (8):58
  4. Wozny, Nancy (29 October 2007). "A Towering Force". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-10-29. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  5. "Coldwell Banker 'Buying - Mia Michaels  / The American Choreography Awards". web.archive.org. 13 March 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  6. Past Faculty - Jazz Broadway Dance Center, New York City.
  7. Markovitz, Adam (15 October 2009). "Mia Michaels tweets that she's leaving 'So You Think You Can Dance'". EW.com. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  8. "Mia Michaels: Why I Left So You Think You Can Dance". web.archive.org. 30 October 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-10-30. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  9. Wieselman, Jarett. "PopWrap Exclusive: Mia Michaels returning to 'Dance'!". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  10. "Movmnt | Mia Michaels". Movmnt Magazine. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  11. Hibberd, James (October 13, 2010). "Bravo greenlights four new shows". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. Past Faculty - Jazz Broadway Dance Center, New York City
  13. http://www.mtv.ca/vma/2009/article.jhtml?id=20301
  14. "Mia Michaels". Broadway Dance Center. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  15. "Workshops ‹ Mia Michaels". miamichaels.com. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  16. "News ‹ Mia Michaels". miamichaels.com. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  17. "About ‹ Mia Michaels". miamichaels.com. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  18. Giardina, Carolyn (June 12, 2019). "'Spice Girls' Movie in the Works as Paramount Unveils Animation Slate (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
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