Micaela Taylor founded The TL Collective in 2016 and following a great success of her commissioned work PopMadness, she has not only made a huge artistic impact on Los Angeles but throughout the country and beyond. Taylor’s work has been commissioned and presented by Grand Park, the Ford Amphitheater, The Board Stage, The ACE hotel, and Jacob’s Pillow.
Taylor is a recipient of the Springboard Danse Montreal EMERGE Choreographic Award (2018) and as part of that prize created a new work for Gibney Dance NY alongside Bobbi Jene Smith. Her work has been commissioned by dance companies that include BODYTRAFFIC, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, and Cleo Park Robinson Dance Company. Taylor was also scheduled to set a new work for the Cuban company Acosta Danza, founded by the world renown ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, but the commission is on hold due to the pandemic.
Beginning on Monday, August 17, 2020 The TL Collective is offering new online classes under the title TLXPND, plus Taylor has very recently released a wonderful short video dance work titled Toughskin.
Taylor’s company ethos is “People First Dance Second” and in their classes people are invited to share their stories through expression and movement. As they put it, “Let’s XPND our mind, body, and soul together”. Using the vowel-less title, TLXPND, The TL Collective is offering an online 40-45 minute class led by company members. The classes are described as embodying Taylor’s XPND technique through physicality and narrative that will allow one to find one’s own “inner groove”.
TLXPND classes will be offered every Monday and Thursday 11-12pm, starting on Monday, August 17th. The sign up process (see link below) is not complicated and once payment for the class(es) has been made, participants will receive a JPE file with the link for them to type into their browser.
Taylor’s powerful and poignant new video Toughskin, is performed by Emara Neymour, Santiago Villarreal, Matt Luck, and Micaela Taylor. The brown and tan costumes that allow one to fully see Taylor’s unique movement style was created by Gianna Todisco. The video was filmed and edited by Nathan Kim and the at times unsettling music score was composed by FUME.
In a rare written statement Taylor has contributed the following about the genesis of Toughskin.
“In the past, I have felt very uncomfortable talking about things that can be perceived as controversial or political because I really feel that my creativity speaks louder than words. I pour everything out into my artistry and passion. When everything started to happen in the world; the pandemic, the civil unrest, even though I haven’t experienced anything devastating personally, of course, I still felt a major impact on my life and I wanted to speak to it. Toughskin is about coming together and feeling united even in the midst of struggle and pain, I think that these moments are when we need each other the most. I’ve seen a lot of people fighting to stay together, fighting to stay connected. And really only because we had the time to focus on what was happening in the world, people got a chance to protest, get involved, and focus on the issues at hand and really try to make a difference. I think that a lot of times, even before the pandemic, I found myself being isolated in my own schedule, life, and situations and didn’t have the time to connect with other people or make a difference for a bigger cause. It was very nice in a sense to have the time to really focus on these issues and to create something that was bigger than myself. I wanted to bring dancers from different cultures, different ethnicities, and really represent what is like to come together against all odds.
During this process, we had to have an intimate cast and we really talked about concerns and issues regarding dancing together during the pandemic. Thankfully, everyone in this cast felt comfortable with working together in a small group and we also took the necessary precautions; got tested before getting together and followed all of the guidelines during, before, and after rehearsal to ensure the safety of every member. During this film, I was also focusing on fighting to stay together, giving artists opportunities during these times, and most importantly, giving us all the opportunity to step outside of the box.” – Micaela Taylor
To sign up for the TLXPND classes, click HERE.
To watch Toughskin, click HERE.
To visit The TL Collective website, click HERE.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Micaela Taylor and The TL Collective in “Toughskin” – video still courtesy of the company.