Renowned choreographer, mentor and master teacher, Mia Michaels, recently made her first trip to Australia in February. Michaels has choreographed for Broadway’s Finding Neverland, The New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, So You Think You Can Dance, Cirque du Soleil, and for performing artists such as Ricky Martin, Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Prince and Celine Dion. She’s a three-time Primetime Emmy winner and was named one of the Most Innovative Women by Variety Magazine in 2013. She’s taught at some of the most prestigious dance studios and schools around the world and has a number of exciting projects in the works. But her recent trip to Australia was another experience she’ll never forget. Here, Dance Informa finds out more about her experience down under.
What compelled you to travel to Australia?
“This was my first trip to Australia. I had heard about the dance community there, but I had no idea I would have such an incredible experience. Their arms and hearts were wide open with excitement to go on a journey with me. Their work ethic was electric and exhilarating. Work ethic is a very important thing for me, and it’s difficult to teach. So to walk in to a new place and everyone in the room is ready and willing to work was pretty incredible. I hope to go back and do more in Australia in the future…I feel as if I belong there.”
Where did you travel? What was on the agenda?
“I was able to travel to Australia thanks to Raise the Barre Productions in collaboration with the Dance Studio Owners Association. We did Mia Michaels Live — a full-day event — both in Sydney and in Melbourne. We had dancers from ages eight to 80 of all levels and studios. There was a dance educator’s class, a professional’s class, a kid’s class, a talkback, and a Q&A. Oh, and Michael Dameski was my assistant — the heartthrob of Australia! I also did a non-dancers inspirational and motivational evening in Melbourne produced by Jade Wisely.”
What is unique about the dancers/dance industry in Australia?
“I find that when I go to different countries, the dance community seems so hungry for American dance. In Australia, this combined hunger and strong work ethic really created a really magical experience. Because American dance is not as accessible, obviously, as in the United States, the students seemed especially grateful.”
Besides hoping to return to Australia, what’s next for you?
“My book, A Unicorn in a World of Donkeys, is coming out next winter. It’s a memoir about standing out in your true authenticity and magical uniqueness. Inspired by my trip to Australia, I’m going to be launching a global master class and mentorship series called Mia Michaels Live. And I’m also creating a fitness/movement-wear line with sizes ranging from two to 24.”
Visit www.miamichaels.com for more.
By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.