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Mikaela Kelly

Description of your idea

I’m interested in the subtleties of people and the way small gestures can be infinitely expressive. I appreciate working with the people around me who I know and love because I wish to capture different sides of them and explore their many facets. Being a professional dancer I am of course surrounded every day by incredible dancers who understand their bodies in such a unique and fascinating way. Working with people who understand the same language as me is integral to the images because it allows a sort of trust and freedom between myself and those I’m capturing.

How did you get into Dance+Craft+Photography Style?

A few years ago I was doing a lot of work where I was in front of the camera being photographed by both wonderful photographers and not so wonderful photographers. I learned an incredible amount from all of them and started to really understand what I liked in an image and what turned me off. I wanted to explore being behind the camera for a change so I started taking people’s portraits. Though for the most part I never enjoyed being in front of the camera, I really appreciate the time I had with those photographers because they taught me everything I know. I don’t consider myself professional like they were, but I’m grateful to have found my own aesthetic that drives my photography and enough tools to create the images that resonate with me. I’ve only ever worked with natural light, often shooting outdoors or in my bedroom, so I have very little knowledge of professional studio lighting. This in turn lends itself to my aesthetic and my own limitations force me to come up with creative solutions.

 Recently, during a corona virus lockdown in the Netherlands, I began sewing and knitting clothing from the fabric and yarn I had lying around my house or from thrifted clothing or recycled cloth grocery bags. I just started selling a few pieces to some close friends and while it’s been nice to see so many people who don’t even know me interested in purchasing my creations I don’t have much time outside of my job as a dancer.

What drives your enthusiasm the most?

I find the most joy when I’m making unique, one of a kind pieces for someone who inspires an idea in me or a close friend who I want to photograph in the clothing I make. I have no desire to be a part of the fast fashion industry that is currently choking our planet so everything I create is from recycled clothing or textiles which of course means my desire to make only one of every creation is actually out of necessity.

What is your dream?

I’m lucky that two of my passions coincide with one another and I can use my photography as a tool to showcase my handmade clothing and vice versa. I would also argue that my passion for dance coincides with both my photography and my designing abilities because I have big ideas for multidisciplinary art installations that could combine so many of the things I love. The possibility of making costumes for my own dance installation works as well as films and photographs of them is exactly where I believe I’m headed in the future.


Mikaela Kelly is a native New Yorker and began dancing at the age of 4. She trained at American Ballet Theatre’s JKO School for five years before attending The Juilliard School and graduating with a BFA in 2018. Mikaela joined Nederlands Dans Theater 2 in 2018 and is currently in her third season with the company. Mikaela is a 2017 Princess Grace Award winner in dance.

Instagram: @mikaelakelly__















Instagram: @mikaelakelly__



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