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Mia Michaels left 'So You Think You Can Dance' for "other projects"


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/29/2009 

Mia Michaels claims all the time she was spending as a So You Think You Can Dance choreographer and guest judge took away from other opportunities, leading to her decision to leave the Fox reality competition.

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"It's been an amazing five-year journey and I am in a place where I have all these great opportunities that have been presented to me and I am ready to take on all these challenges," Michaels told People on Tuesday.

"So when I was working on the show, I wasn't able to really focus on anything else. Now I'm really focusing on these other projects that I can't pass up. I think that's pretty much the main reason why I left the show."

Michaels announced earlier this month on her Facebook and Twitter accounts that she would leaving So You Think You Can Dance effective immediately.

While she is no longer involved with the U.S. version of the show -- the sixth season of which is currently airing on Fox -- Michaels said she is still working on several international So You Think You Can Dance editions.

"I came to Canada and I choreographed the finale here in Canada, and I have right now scheduled to do the U.K., and Australian [versions of the show], as well as the new Canadian season three, so it's not like I need a break because creatively I feel like I have a lot to say right now," she told People.

"It was just a decision that I made. It's just something that I needed to do. I've been doing this for a long time and this is just another step in my journey to now take it to the next level."

Michaels said she has no regrets about the decision.

"It's not like I can't go and see the family and support the dancers," she told People.

"In order for me to move forward in my career, sometimes we have to let go before other things can take off. Am I sad? There's moments, of course, but I'm also doing these other shows that I still get my fix on So You Think You Can Dance because I'm still choreographing, I'm still judging, I'm still seeing [Nigel Lythgoe]. So it's all a very positive thing."

Michaels added "nobody tried to talk me out" of her decision and said the timing of the announcement was based on her "instincts."

"Instincts never lead you wrong and they've never led me wrong. It was a hard decision, actually, because I love doing the show. I love being an artist that millions of people get to see my work," she told People.

"I knew in that moment and we had not even talked about contracts or anything for the new season yet, so I was just ready to move while I had all this other opportunities in front of me. Before I got into the season with the dancers -- you know actually getting into a room and creating on them -- I just thought it was best for me to step out before I did that."

Since she appeared regularly on So You Think You Can Dance as a choreographer, Michaels said she started "feeling like a machine" who had to "deliver a piece every single week."

"Then you start wondering, 'Where is the inspiration for real? Is it inspiration or is that you've got to deliver, so you just have to turn it on and do it,'" she told People. "Now I find myself actually more inspired and more excited about creating. I feel like this time is so crucial for me to take that next step in my life."

Despite her So You Think You Can Dance absence, Michaels said a return to reality television is most likely in her future.

"I am right now in talks of doing my own choreography show. I'm also doing a dance musical that will probably be documented as a doc-reality show," she told People. "And then I'm working on a clothing line for dancers as well as just everyday lifestyle. And I'm working on a book deal as well."

In addition, Michaels refuted rumors that the shaved head she appeared with during the sixth season's "Las Vegas Week" callbacks was the result of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

"As far as me shaving my head, I just felt the need to get rid of it. I was kind of falling into a Hollywood image thing a little bit, and I just felt like it was a cool time to just start over. And that's why I shaved it," she told People.

"And I had said on the show, 'It's been a difficult time,' and it's like the last couple months in my life personally I've just been going through things... And then when I read those things I went, 'Oh no!' I do not have cancer. You can put that to rest."

(Photo credit Fox)


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