Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Patti D'Beck

Second Advisor

Amy Hutton


One of the top television reality shows today is So You Think You Can Dance? This show showcases many talents of top choreographers, including Ms. Mia Michaels. But what makes her stand out from the other choreographers in her field? With this thesis I explore why I believe Mia Michaels to be the best emotional storytelling choreographer of the twenty-first century. Analyzing examples from the show, four from Michaels and four from other choreographers and using a movement scoring method, I find why her work stands out. I will also explain how Michaels got her start in choreography, her philosophy and creative process along with why story is even important in dance. By learning more about how her uses personal vulnerability and emotional struggles in storylines that connect to a larger community in her choreographed movement, other choreographers can use her tools to further their own individual work.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2011