Tyrone C. Walker began his training in Washington, DC, at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts under the direction of Charles Augins. Tyrone has received dance training from The Washington School of Ballet, School of Nashville Ballet, and Giordano Dance Chicago under full scholarships. Tyrone is a former member of Nashville Ballet 2, Ailey II, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. He has performed works by many notable choreographers, including Paul Vasterling, Robert Philander, Alvin Ailey, Troy Powell, George Faison, Thang Dao, Sidra Bell, Ben Stevenson, Christopher L. Huggins, Robert Battle, and Judith Jamison. He has also performed with Nashville Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria. Tyrone strongly believes in giving back to the community. He has taught many master classes across the country in ballet, jazz, and the Horton Technique. He was on staff at the School of Nashville Ballet and taught for the summer programs of the Houston Academy of Dance, Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Tyrone recently premiered his choreography, Prototype, in Ontario, Canada. He has also choreographed on the students of Houston Academy of Dance, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, The Ailey School, Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, and the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre. His theater credits include Father Panik Village: The Untold Story (Bridgeport, CT) and a production of The Wiz (Dallas, TX) with Dallas Theater Center. Tyrone is currently on faculty at Metropolitan Ballet Theatre as Ballet Master and Director of the Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble.
MOVEIUS’s Fall Performance Series features a world premiere by Tyrone Walker. MOVEIUS Associate Director Olivia Sabee recently spoke with Walker about his first work for the company.
MOVEIUS: How did you first get interested in choreography?
Walker: The first time I ever touched choreography was when we had a composition class in high school, at Duke Ellington School of the Arts. When I was at the Ailey School in New York, I was really influenced by Christopher Huggins. My exposure to him made me want to choreograph so that I could make other people feel the way his work made me feel. Then later, when I went to Dallas Black Dance Theater, I choreographed a piece for their show where company dancers are given the opportunity to choreograph on other dancers, Black on Black. I got to expand the piece for the second company and it premiered in Canada.
MOVEIUS: What was your inspiration for this piece?
Walker: When I’m creating I try to focus in on where I am in my life. Right now I’m at a point where I keep telling myself, “I don’t have enough time to do this.” But I’ve also set certain goals for myself, things I’d like to accomplish before I depart from this world. If you’re that type of person, you always feel that anxiety, that rushing feeling. My grandma is also an inspiration for this piece—she’s always going.
MOVEIUS: Your piece is strikingly athletic. Can you tell us a little bit about your choreographic influences? Do they relate to that?
Walker: Christopher Huggins’s and Ulysses S. Dove’s work have influenced my style. They both push athleticism. It’s more than just ballet and modern and putting it together. Also, for this piece I’ve been fortunate to work with six female dancers. I like women performing quick, athletic movement. I don’t see things as, “This is a women’s step,” and “This is a men’s step.” I just like seeing what dancers can do, and I guess in that way I’m a feminist.
MOVEIUS: Anything else?
Walker: I like to leave things open to interpretation—I don’t want to put my story out there. People can create their own storyline. Maybe they connect in a certain way and feel a sense of relief for a little bit.