“Be the kind of dancer who walks into the room and wears the choreographer out in the best way,” Tyce Diorio says by phone, as he prepares to travel to the next city on the Radix convention tour. “Make them never want to let you go.” It’s a Pinterest-worthy statement he regularly makes to many students in cities across the country. He believes it’ll make all the difference for aspiring artists because he’s seen it in action in his own life. He’s trained in nearly every genre of dance and has worked with dance industry giants, from Janet Jackson, to Twyla Tharp, to Kenny Ortega, to Debbie Allen. Since he was 15, he’s been using his training and experience to teach dancers in styles as varied as Broadway and modern.
Dance Teacher: What advice do you have for studio owners when bringing in guest choreographers?
Tyce Diorio: Create a safe environment for outside choreographers at your studio. Don’t say, “Give me something that is going to beat everybody,” because it’ll cause the choreographer to work out of anxiety and fear, regarding things that nobody can control. Bring in a choreographer with the intention of exposing your students to an excellent artist, and then if you end up getting a piece that does well, it’s just the icing on the cake.
DT: What words of wisdom do you have for working with this specific generation of dancers?
TD: I think dance teachers do such a great job at managing their world. It really is such a hard job, and I wholeheartedly support everyone who does it. If there was one piece of advice I could give these teachers, it would be to teach their students to take care of their bodies. Just because they are young, flexible and can do contortions now, doesn’t mean they should—particularly if they aren’t working correctly. These students don’t know the wear and tear that will happen to their bodies over time. Educate them in a way that can keep them healthy.
DT: How can we make our theater jazz and Broadway classes successful?
TD: Be sure to approach these styles of dance as an actor first, before you incorporate the dancing. Without the performance, the steps will be totally irrelevant—particularly in this genre. Make the pieces fun and creative and story-driven so that the dancers are excited about them. Teach the dancers to imagine their outfit, where they are and what the setting is. Then the whole room is drawn into an entire world that fills the essence of the piece.