Premiered at L.A. Dance Project on May 27th, 2023, Micaela Taylor showcased her artistic genius through the use of film, live performance, and movement in her twelve minute film, MISFIT. Directed by Conner Bell and produced by Sadie Wilking, Micaela’s choreographic choices and universal storyline came to life in a cinematic masterpiece.

The evening began with a riveting duet performed live by Micaela Taylor and Emma Sutherland. The dancers entered the space wearing white and black moving with abrupt dynamics to music by Kendrick Lamar. Taylor’s choreographic choices were stark and intelligent. The dancers progressed in a way that felt conversational while maintaining Taylor’s athletic rigor. It was very satisfying to watch the ways in which Taylor and Sutherland’s movement paralleled the music. Their duet was intimate because of the care they showed for one another throughout the performance. It was clear, however, that there was an anguish beneath the surface of the movement, furious to be known. Taylor’s work is thoughtful in its mechanics and excellent in its execution and most definitely set the tone for an evening of surprises.

Scene from Micaela Taylor's film MISFIT - Screen shot courtesy of the artist.

Scene from Micaela Taylor’s film MISFIT – Screen shot courtesy of the artist.

Following the performance, the lights darkened and my attention was turned to the screen for the premiere of MISFIT, a film that captures the internal feelings and thought processes of someone who feels out of place. That concept was communicated and supported by the ensemble of dancers Jessie Lee Thorne, Kaia Makihara, Matt Luck, Madi Tanguay, Marlie Couto, and Maddie Lacambra. MISFIT brought forth the universal feeling of displacement as it journeyed through Taylor’s everyday routine with internal turmoil at the forefront of the work.

Taylor’s choreographic choices felt intentional and related not only to the theme of the work, but also to the musical components created by composer Tru. Alongside the music was a narrative written by Taylor and Conner Bell that was expressed through spoken word and dispersed throughout the film to assist the journey ensuing the main character’s internal struggle. The performers moved with varying textures from mechanical and staccato to controlled and sustained. This dynamic dance film captured the wave of emotions a misfit might experience, capturing numerous intimate moments with each artist via close ups of extreme facial gestures, assisting the vulnerable aspect and storyline of this film.

Although this is an emotionally difficult story to tell, Taylor and Bell succeeded in creating comedic relief throughout the film playing upon the ego and insecurities that one might feel emotionally. The aspects of comedy atop of powerful relatability in anguish and dismay created an experience that kept my interest throughout the films entirety. I am looking forward to seeing Taylor create in cinematic spaces more often as her movement and choreographic choices seem effortless in its execution. MISFIT is an excellent display of how dance on film can speak loudly in universal ways.

For more information about Micaela Taylor and the TL Collective, please visit her website.

For more information about L.A. Dance Project, please visit their website.

Written by Rebecca Lee for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: Scene from Micaela Taylor’s film MISFIT – Screen shot courtesy of the artist.