One of the most memorable Miss Universe openings was that of the 2010 edition where girls danced to Kelly Rowland’s “Commander”. And we have Miss Universe Stage Director and Choreographer Michael Schwandt to thank for it!
Michael was instrumental in the revitalized live show where he added excitement and entertainment to the Miss Universe pageant. According to his website: In 2008, Michael became the new stage director & choreographer for the Miss Universe & USA TV specials where he was challenged to give the live stage portions of the show a fresh look. Michael had the foresight to convince NBC & the Miss Universe production to take a chance on an unknown artist that he firmly believed was the future of pop music. His intuition paid off when on July 13, 2008, he directed & staged Lady GaGa’s first ever television performance to “Just Dance,” ultimately seen by millions around the globe. Michael has went on to greatly influence the direction of the show pushing the visual boundary & expectation of modern day beauty pageants…
Miss Universe’s 2011 TV special in Brazil challenged Michael with the largest Miss Universe production to date, staging 15 Brazilian dancers, 5 capoeira martial artists, 2 Brazilian singers – pop star Claudia Leitte & Bossa Nova singer Bebel Gilberto…*
Since his participation, the live show was a showcase of the music and entertainment industry’s best with guest performances by Kelly Rowland & David Guetta, Flo Rida, The Veronicas, John Legend, Trace Adkins, Kevin Rudolph, Train, Boys Like Girls… Needless to say, his vision enabled the pageant to soar new heights in terms of entertainment value. He served as Stage Director and MUOrg choreographer from 2008 to 2012, where he was part of making both Miss USA and Miss Universe live shows.
After his stint with Miss Universe, he is seen lending his talents with American Idol, Ringling Bros. Circus Xtreme, and So You Think You Can Dance.
Checkout these videos from Michael’s Youtube channel.