We are delighted to introduce GroundWorks audiences to our newest company member, Tyler Ring!

Tyler, 23, joins us from Chicago by way of Muncie, Indiana, where he grew up and received his formal dance training. As a performer, Tyler has danced new works by Sidra Bell, Alex Ketley, and Melissa Thodos, and performed excerpts from the repertoire of Ohad Naharin, Alejandro Cerrudo, Robert Moses, Nacho Duato, and Nick Pupillo. He is also a dance maker, and his choreography has received national recognition, including being chosen as the first alternate for performance at the American College Dance Association National Conference at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. After spending last season as a performing trainee with Thodos Dance Chicago, Tyler is thrilled to be joining GroundWorks for his first season.

Tell us a little bit about your dance background.

I started dancing at the age of seven. My mom was a dance teacher so it was inevitable that either my older brother or I was going to become a dancer. I played a lot of sports growing up, but I couldn’t find my niche. So my mom put me in a dance class and it was love at first sight. I got my BFA in Dance from Ball State University in my hometown of Muncie, Indiana.

I’ve also studied at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago and did a summer intensive at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, where I worked on Gaga technique. I graduated in May of 2016 and started working in Chicago. One year later, I’m here in Cleveland!

How did you first hear about GroundWorks?

I went to the audition in November in Chicago, where I lived at the time. A friend of mine said that she was going to the audition and suggested I go, too. I called in sick at my job at Starbucks that day and tagged along to the audition. I absolutely loved my experience. Felise, Michael and David were there. They were very hands on along with having kind and open personalities. I had never really experienced that before, especially in an audition setting. The next month David asked me to come to Cleveland in February for a couple of days to work with the rest of the company, which was the beginning of my journey with the company.

And then you got the job! What are you most looking forward to as a member of GroundWorks?

They’re pushing me to become better! I’m looking forward to the training and performing new works with wonderful artists. In college I dabbled in choreography, so I’m also excited to be involved in the process with established choreographers. Hopefully that will inspire the way that I choreograph.

I also love that GroundWorks performs a weekend of shows in Cleveland and then in Akron. And seeing the community outreach has been such a fulfilling experience. During my second week, I went to a presentation at Judson Park – Action Reaction. From that one experience, I was just blown away by the participant’s artistry, just based off of their time with GroundWorks.

What makes you unique as an artist?

Well, I’m 6’4” so I definitely bring height. I think that I have a graceful and fluid quality to the way that I move. Since I have such long limbs, I try to move them in an efficient way that helps me execute choreography. I also use them as a way of expression, too. When I dance I also focus on my kinesphere as much as possible. Having full awareness of my body is essential when I’m rehearsing and performing. Another advantage of being tall is traveling. I can use my long legs to travel across the stage very quickly. And I love to jump. I can jump pretty high!

When you dance, how does it make you feel?

Dancing is about portraying something without speaking words. In addition to making an audience happy, it’s also about enjoying a moment on stage with other people. It’s just a full circle moment going to creation to rehearsal to finally putting a piece on stage. Dancing makes me the happiest. Sometimes my body hurts, but the reward is so worth all of the work that you have to do.

What do you look forward to contributing to the company?

I think that I bring a kind, uplifting and positive energy to the studio. I always try to stay positive and make the most out of every rehearsal. I love making people laugh, and I enjoy doing this even in rehearsal. The company members have been so great at welcoming me this past month, and I’d like to think that I add to the special energy that is created in a GroundWorks rehearsal.

As a newcomer to Cleveland, are you excited about exploring a new city?

I’m thrilled to be a part of the Cleveland community! I feel like the arts are really well supported here and the company does a good job reaching out to the community. I look forward to getting to know Cleveland. And hopefully for a long time to come.

[Photos by Chloe Hamilton]