SYTYCD: Honoring the Legendary Mia Michaels

In the midst of critical praise and a plethora of Emmy nominations, outside of the dance world, So You Think You Can Dance is arguably underrated in the reality TV genre. While people flock more to see celebrities try to dance, in a world of abounding reality competitions, the majority singing related, So You Think You Can Dance rests in a comfortable niche amongst its fans nearly midway through Season 9. After cuts by the Fox network this season, eliminating the show’s third hour each week and combining eliminations into the performance episode, many feared that this might spell the end of the reality TV gem.

Stepping aside from that uncertainty and setting aside (for just a moment) the UNBELIEVABLE talent the show has given us summer after summer (and even during the lockout inspired winter season), the SYTYCD dancers would not be able to shine as they do without the brilliance of the choreographers that stand behind them and work with them week after week. Among the many greats who have been nominated for industry awards, including the prestigious Emmys, stands out Mia Michaels. After a multi-season absence, the contestants on the show’s ninth season will bare all on stage to pay homage to one of dance’s greats.

In addition to her work for the Fox reality series, Mia has dedicated her career to working with some of the industry greats, including Celine Dion, Madonna, Ricky Martin, Tom Cruise, Gloria Estefan and Prince … just to name a few. In 2005, she choreographed Dion’s Vegas show, “A New Day,” for which she snagged an Emmy nomination. Just two years later, Michaels went home with an Emmy award for Outstanding Choreography for “Calling You,” which was showcased on SYTYCD’s 2nd season. In 2010, Michaels won three Emmys in the same category for “Koop Island Blues,” “Gravity,” and “One.” The following year, she earned Emmys for “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “When We Dance,” “This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Daylight,” putting her at a “tie” that year with fellow SYTYCD choreographers Tabitha and Napolean D’Umo. She was also stationed as a permanent judge on the show’s 7th season, alongside Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe and Step Up producer Adam Shankman.

To SYTYCD fans dismay, in 2009, Mia announced via Twitter that she will be leaving the show after five wonderful years. The door was, however, always open for a potential return. Since then, Michaels has expanded her choreography resume, worked on a clothing line and picked up a book deal. It was about a year later when her return to the show was confirmed.

Mia is the founder, artistic director, and choreographer for her New York based dance company, RAW (Reality at Work), which has been around since 1997.

With that, the remaining 14 dancers on SYTYCD’s ninth season will pay tribute to a choreographer whose pieces have struck the hearts of MANY around the world. As Season 4’s Joshua noted after performing “Hometown Glory,” “It’s so much more than dancing.”

Filled with raw emotion and storytelling (and a little bit of fun), we’ve chosen some of the many inspiring and breathtaking pieces Mia Michaels has given the show. So, sit back, enjoy and look forward to tonight’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance, which airs at 8/7c on Fox. You don’t want to miss it! That’s our Yak guarantee!

Which routines are you hoping to see tonight?

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Happy 200th, SYTYCD – A Look Back At Some Iconic Routines

How do you begin to even name off the top dance routines from the last 199 episodes of So You Think You Can Dance? Ever since the show kicked off with season 1, there has been routine after routine that has stood out in the eyes of many fans. In looking back at the iconic reality competition series, we thought of counting down our favorite 10 or 20 routines. Then we realized that was impossible. It rarely is a challenge to rank performances from a reality competition series. Usually everyone has their favorite, but we couldn’t pinpoint just one. And that’s not because there isn’t a routine worthy of being named a favorite. Rather, how do you just choose between routines that hit you so personally and to the core? It’s like choosing your one and only favorite child.

If we wanted to, we could rank some of the top routines from each choreographer. No other show has the distinction of so much talent behind the scenes to showcase the talent right on the stage. We could go by choreographer. We could go by genre. We could go by season. We could go by male vs. female. We could go by routines judges have claimed to love in the past. The possibilities are endless. So, instead of wracking our brains to rank and pit some of the best of the best against each other, we’re just going to take you down memory lane and post some of our personal favorites.

Tonight, on the show’s 200th episode, Season 9 names the Top 20 that will no doubt have us glued to our TVs. If you ask me, a milestone like 200 episodes is a perfect outlet to name the 20 contestants that will work hard through blood, sweat, and tears and win the hearts of Americans this summer. So, without further adieu and in no particular order, with every line, leap, swag, buccness, and hot tamales, here are some of our favorite SYTYCD routines. Be sure to let us know your favorites down below in our comments and don’t forget to watch tonight’s Top 20 reveal at 8/7c on Fox!

To kick it all off, enjoy this 200 Moves in 200 Seconds clip garnished by the people at Fox. We recommend not even looking for your favorite, but rather to just enjoy the fluidity of the clip and marvel at the moves. Make sure you click on through to see all of the others!

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‘SYTYCD:’ Mia Michaels OUT, Mary Murphy IN

We have another change at the judge’s table next summer for So You Think You Can Dance. After joining the judge’s panel for one season, Mia Michaels is out and will not be retuning to the show. In a statement she released, she said that she wants to focus on her own world. (Editor’s note: Wasn’t she always concerned with Mia’s world??). Mia does make a point to state that the decision was her decision and not Lythgoe or any show runner. “Last year when I was sitting on the panel, I knew it wasn’t the right fit because I felt too glossy sitting on the panel. People were so focused on what I wore and my hair. I wanted to get dirty and back to the work. I am an artist and I’m a visionary. I need to paint my world now and not be constantly linked to So You Think You Can Dance. It’s been a great platform,” Michaels says. “It was a wonderful platform. I’m staring at [my] two Emmys right now. It was an amazing, amazing thing for me but I feel like I have to fly. I have to now focus on Mia’s world.” Well, and focus on Mia’s world she will do. She has an upcoming Bravo reality show, will be writing her own memoir, and is developing her own Broadway show.

Who will be replacing her? According to Mia, she’s heard that Mary Murphy will be back to the table placing claim to her chair and bringing us back her hot tamale train. SYTYCD will return next summer for the latest installment. So Yakkster’s what do you think about the news? Excited? Bummed? Let us know below and join our FORUMS to discuss!