You choreographed the opening number of the
Spring Spectacular. Now you’re running the
I’m getting my first official director credit—it’s
really exciting! I’ve wanted to direct for a long
time, and it’s happening. This show is huge. It’s a
beast. But that’s perfect for me. I don’t start small,
What is your vision for this show?
The Rockettes have been around for more than
85 years and now they’re putting themselves
into my hands. That’s golden. We’re creating this
spectacle and making beautiful eye candy for the
viewers. There will absolutely still be kicklines—
that will never go away! But I’m excited to breathe
fresh energy into it. My goal is to bring a Mia vocabulary into the Rockette world, and really marry
the two. When a brand is this iconic, you don’t
want to change it—it’s iconic for a reason. I’m
protecting this little nugget while playing around
with all the gravy that surrounds it.
What is the new story about?
It’s a magical journey through New York City,
told through the eyes of a child, so it brings
that fantastical quality of what New York can be.
There’s a lot of dance, a lot of leg and a lot of
original music. I’m bringing on a group of male
ensemble dancers, so that’s a big change. The
movement is all over the map, from the classic Rockette rep to more contemporary flavors.
Not only do the dancers have to do Rockette
material, they also have to do the physical and
technical Mia work.
What are some of the challenges you’re facing
as a director?
It’s so different from just choreographing because
you have your eye on every team and every
department. You’re looking at everything from the
colors to the lights to the videos to the music. As
a choreographer, you’re in your own pocket. As a
director, you’re in every pocket.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
I wrote a book—an instructional inspirational
memoir, if that makes any sense—called A
Unicorn in a World of Donkeys. Everyone is
always trying to look the same, be the same.
This is about challenging yourself to stand out
and celebrate it. It has a lot of stories from my
life and career, but it’s not just for dancers. I’m
also working on “Mia Michaels Live,” which is an
online mentorship program for artists, dancers,
choreographers and teachers. As I get older, I
realize how much I needed a mentor when I was
younger. Now it’s my turn to be a mentor—to be
Any chance we’ll be seeing you on this season
of “So You Think You Can Dance”?
Oh, I don’t know! I have no idea! But never say
never. That brand is a big part of my life, so if
Nigel [Lythgoe] wanted me to come back, I would
definitely do it if the time was right. ■ Re
news | 10 MINUTES WITH...
When you’ve launched your own company,
become a three-time Emmy Award winner from
your work on “So You Think You Can Dance” and
choreographed a hit Broadway musical, what
would you pursue next? Most people would think
“A vacation.” But this summer, Mia Michaels will
make her directorial debut as the director and choreographer of the Rockettes New York Spectacular,
a revamped version of last year’s New York Spring
Spectacular. The show runs June 15–August 7 at
Radio City Music Hall.
queen is taking on
the most famous
kickline in the world.
BY ALISON FELLER
Mia Michaels Michaels working with the Rockettes
TOPICS FROM MISTY