Ty is a fitting member of this company.
He started dancing on a whim.
He was sitting in a science class, when a friend suggested he go along as moral support to a high school drill team tryout.
He went, tried out himself, and found he liked and was good at it.
Next, his math teacher, a principal ballet dancer with Pacific Festival, saw him and suggested he audition for the Nutcracker. Before that he’d never seen a ballet. Even the posters on the wall were new to him. He knew nothing about barres, marley floors, tights, dance belts—”I’ve got to wear what?”
Before long, Ty was looking into opportunities for concert dance rather than competition.
After stints with various companies in NYC and the NW, Ty met Donald Byrd, whom he greatly admired. “Come up to Seattle,” Byrd said, “when you’re ready to do some real dancing.”
Ty did, and he’s been four years with Spectrum.
It was hard at first, “to dance with such intention.”
Technique is important just as a tool, on the way to dance, and Donald Byrd is so specific. “You have plenty of freedom for interpretation and your own personality, but it must fit his intention.”
Ty finds Olivier’s way of working similar.
“The choreography is precise, but with room for quirkiness. Humanness.”
Ty notes Olivier’s love for details: “I need to see every finger of that hand.”
It’s as if your body is an orchestra, where one instrument is featured while the others surround and support it. “You need to know what part of you body is being accented.” A sizzling section of 3Seasons—performed by Ty with Kylie Lewallen, his partner in life and dance—is a perfect illustration. A sinuous moveable kiss, lips the center and focus, propels the two dancers around the stage, evoking applause at rehearsal.
As a dancer, Ty used to focus on strength, stamina, and a kind of ferocity.
“Now it’s about how to move in space and what’s at stake.” There’s less posturing, more “being in the now— like an actor who knows his character will be killed in the next act, but who has to stay present in the moment, without signaling ahead.” He loves working with experienced dancers like Donald and Olivier. The challenge is to work, like a good mixing/mastering engineer (which is one of Ty’s other skills), to bring out the intention of the choreographer, not to add extra, to work as an ensemble.
Ty admires Olivier’s courage in starting the company. There are lots of strong personalities in Whim W’Him. “Every person has to be humble. They are. It’s a great atmosphere.”