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Portland Tribune Preview: White Bird, Micaela Taylor, and her TL Collective

Autor: Joseph Gallivan, Portland Tribune, Pamplin Media Group

The White Bird Uncaged Series is ends with an evening of work by acclaimed choreographer Micaela Taylor and her Los Angeles-based company, The TL Collective. The TL Collective will make their Pacific Northwest debut at Lincoln Performance Hall at Portland State University from Jan. 26 to 28 at 8p.m. The eight-member company will perform three works, Pull, Drift, and their newest work, BlueNav.

Pull focuses on the twists and turns of life, starting with melancholy and focus, but ultimately finishing with hope and contemplation. Drift (2019) examines the ever-changing relationship an individual has with themselves and exposes a personal season of self-growth. The movement in Drift is as exploratory as the sound score it is paired with, which includes segments of silence followed by spoken word to “Hollywood Swinging” by Kool & The Gang.

BlueNav (2023) is the newest work by The TL Collective and Taylor, which focuses on the unified calm during the storm. The piece was inspired by the story of United States Army Corporal Desmond Doss, a combat medic who saved 75 men trapped at the top of the escarpment during World War II.

In an artist statement, Taylor said, "My commitment to storytelling is what brews my creativity. I’ve always been drawn to the imaginary, unknown, and profound ways of relating to others. After discovering dance as a source of communication, I imagined that my ability to transcend words would be what defines my artistry. However, I’ve found that my role as a director/choreographer of The TL Collective has been even more groundbreaking."

The TL Collective was founded in 2016 by Micaela Taylor in Los Angeles, California, and since then, they have received critical acclaim and performed at various venues across the West Coast, including Grand Performances, Ford Amphitheater, The Broad Stage, The ACE Hotel, and Jacob’s Pillow. Taylor's unique style, which includes exaggerated facial expressions, gestures, and athletic theatricality, sets her work apart and has helped solidify the company's repertoire.

Taylor is trained in hip-hop and ballet, and has created her own dance genre, Expand Practice, which exudes emotion from the core and creates varied physical shapes and textures to express one’s authentic self. Taylor received the Inaugural New Choreographer Award from the American Dance Guild in 2018.

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