High school was a rebellious time for New York choreographer Mia Michaels.

"I stopped dancing in the classical and modern jazz world and moved to breaking and street dance," Michaels said with a laugh. "But no matter what style I went into, the different influences I grew up with became so prevalent."Michaels was in Orem last week staging a new work on the Utah Contemporary Dance Theatre.

The Utah Contemporary Dance Theatre will present its fifth anniversary concert at Kingsbury Hall Tuesday and Wednesday, March 30 and 31, and April 1 and 2. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Kingsbury Hall box office or all ArtTix outlets. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 581-7100 or 355-ARTS (2787).

The other creations slated for performance include the zoot suit swing of "Club Calloway," Janalyn Memmott's "Rain" -- a favorite during last summer's World Jazz Congress -- and UCDT artistic director Derryl Yeager's "Sledgehammer," done to the grooving music of Peter Gabriel.

Michaels' work, still untitled at the time of the interview, was commissioned by UCDT artistic director Derryl Yeager.

"I met Derryl during the Jazz World Congress," Michaels said. "He called me up and asked if I could come to Utah, and I had some time.

"We decided the piece was to be done to classical music," Michaels said. "And I come from a largely jazz oriented background, and I thought it would be interesting to blend the two styles. The work, so far, is a good representation of where my life is now -- it keeps running and moving forward."

Michaels was born into a dancing family in Coconut Grove, Fla.

"My mother and father owned dance studios," she said. "My father's second wife also owned a dance studio. And my brother and sister each have their own.

"Dancing is literally my life," she said. "It's been such a big part of my life that I grew up knowing that I wanted to be choreographer."

When she was a young dance student, her choreographical skills came into play when she'd change the teachers' variations.

"I was 10 then," she said. "By the time I was 18, I had my own company."

It was called the Miami Movement Dance Company.

"Later I decided to go toward a more commercial line of success," Michaels said.

She began creating works for New World Dance, Miami Ballet, Dallas Arts, Kirov Academy and the Jazz Theatre of Amsterdam.

In addition to a long line of awards and recognitions, Michaels found success working with pop music artists such as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Jimmy Ray and Cameo.

She currently runs the Mia Michaels R.A.W. dance company.

Still, Michaels said, some decisions were difficult to make.

"I'm 6 feet tall and not very little," she said. "That was hard growing up. I didn't get the opportunity to perform because I was so tall.

"Consequently, I was pushed into a new direction. And if I couldn't do someone else's work, then I'll do it myself."