TORONTO - Star choreographer Mia Michaels is going through an extreme makeover on her entire life.
The Emmy Award-winning talent recently resigned from the hit American series "So You Think You Can Dance"; shaved her head; restructured her business team; and is now lining up a slew of new opportunities, including guest judging this Saturday's Season 3 auditions for CTV's "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" in Montreal.
All this while nursing three "bulging discs" in her spine that have left her without feeling in her left thigh and groin, and have forced her to find a new way to teach her sought-after dance moves.
"I've been very challenged this year, from my family's health to my back, to my career to my personal life," the Los Angeles-based contemporary dance expert - who has worked with the likes of Madonna, Prince and Celine Dion - said in a recent phone interview.
"Once you're down at your lowest, there's only one way to go if you choose - if you want to pull yourself out of there - you have to see the light.
"You have to make solid decisions and you have to take bold steps forward."
Last month, Michaels shocked fans when she posted a message on Twitter implying that she was leaving "So You Think You Can Dance" after five seasons.
She didn't immediately explain why she was departing and that led to wildly inaccurate rumours about her reasons (some fans even speculated that she had cancer - a rumour she has since struck down).
The real reason she resigned, she eventually revealed, was simple: It was just time.
"For me, it was like everything hit at once around that time," Michaels said over the line from her hotel room in Las Vegas before heading to Florida to see her family for U.S. Thanksgiving.
"I was like: 'I have to see the light. I have to pick up the pieces in all areas of my life and move forward."'
And move forward she has, restructuring her "entire team from managers, agents, attorneys, publicists, like, everybody," she said.
"Having a solid foundation and a team around me, it's just helping me to achieve my dreams and goals a lot easier."
So far, she's already lined up three TV shows that are now in development, and she's writing a book about the inspirations behind her choreography.
Her physical movements are limited, though, due to the back injury she sustained during rehearsals for the Season 2 finale of "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" late last month.
Michaels now has to wear a rubber corset around her waist to support her three "bulging discs." She said she's letting her body heal naturally and is planning to do physical therapy and acupuncture.
Doctors have told her surgery is too risky since the injury is right on a nerve, "so I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to create without actually doing my work," she said.
"Either that or develop an entire new style of movement."
Season 3 auditions for "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" next hit Vancouver on Dec. 5.
Michaels said she hopes to participate more in the Canadian series as it feels like "a second home" to her.
"I love working on the Canadian version," she said. "I love the people, the production value ... the dancers. I'm hoping to be a bigger part of it."