'So You Think You Can Dance': Mia Michaels piece not cancer-inspired

mia-michaels-320.jpgOn June 10, " So You Think You Can Dance" choreographer Mia Michaels gave us the first tearjerker of Season 7 with the contemporary performance of "This Bitter Earth" by Max Richter and "On the Nature of Daylight" by Dinah Washington. We got the shivers just watching the dancers' portrayal of a man going through the stages of his life.

Michaels was noticeably absent from the show last season. "First of all, I have to say, It's so good to be back!" she says. According to Michaels, it has been "a gift" to work with the Season 7 Top 11.

In explaining her piece, Michaels tells Cat Deeley, "For me right now, time is a very heightened thing in my life, and the journey of life from being a child to a man in his prime to an old man who can hardly walk -- as older dancers start to feel -- it's just a very precious thing right now for me. That's what this piece is about. Time, and the journey of life, and how it goes by like that." She snaps her fingers.

Contrary to rumors, the piece is not inspired by Michaels' battle with cancer. In fact, as she told Zap2it in November 2009, Michaels does not and did not have cancer. Her exit from the show simply corresponded with her shaving her head, which she did just for fun. "I probably would've been a hairdresser if I wasn't a choreographer. I just had this intense need to shave my head. I was making all these crazy decisions in my life, making changes in my life, so it was very appropriate for me to start fresh again," she told us.

The contestants in the emotional piece both had previous experience with "SYTYCD." Alex Wong, a self-proclaimed "crazy goofball," auditioned for Season 5 but was cut because he had a contractual obligation elsewhere. Billy Bell from Palm Beach, Florida, was on Season 6 but went home because he got sick.

Billy, who played the child, and Alex, who played the healthy young man, were joined by Season 5 all-star Ade as the old man.

After watching the piece, Michaels says, "It was an honor." She also calls Billy "a freak of nature" -- in a good way! Alex, on the other hand, she referrs to as a "stallion" and a "beast."

"Let's hear it for the freak and the beast!" Deeley says.

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Photo Credit: FOX