Interview With Tyler Christopher Jay

dancer in forest

Tyler Christopher Jay

I “met” Tyler Christopher Jay on Twitter recently and after a short chat, thought he’d be great to feature on the site. He has a varied background in dance and theatre, and a lot of energy! Here’s more about his life in the arts…
1. How did you get started in dance?
I suppose it was just expected of me to dance. My mother was a dancer and taught dance, and my sister was a dancer so I was constantly at the studio. I think when I was 7 I finally was able to push my mother to let me start taking classes. At that time I started taking ballet, tap, and jazz and have taken many more different styles since then.
2. What made you pursue it as a career?

Well, its not my full career. I also make my career out of acting, and singing. The limelight has always been in me from my first dance class to going to see my first musical. For me, going into the arts was never a question. I always knew that I wanted to be onstage somehow. I also enjoy choreographing though and being behind the scenes. I specialize in musical theater choreography, but don’t mind teaching ballet, contemporary, or partnering.

 3. What are you currently doing?

Currently I am dancing with the Metropolitan Ballet for their 2012-2013 season in the Twin Cities; right now we are working on ‘Swan Lake.’ I also choreograph for a local theater company. 

4. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of a career in dance—and why?

Personally I’m the worst at finding time to stretch. I’m always going someplace or doing something and I forget that I need to just sit and stretch. In general I find it hard for myself to just sit. I’m always at class doing something and moving and I need to remember that resting is just as beneficial to my body as working hard at whatever I’m doing.I can’t say that I find it very challenging though. I truly love my job and find that, in general, it comes very easy. I’m doing what I love to do and what I’ve wanted to do professionally since I was young.

 5. You also choreograph. What do you enjoy most about that?

I love interpreting the music and giving that interpretation to a group of dancers to make into something meaningful and full of life. As I said above I also enjoy choreographing musical theater. Choreographing a show is very fulfilling for me to see all of the parts come together and see how they compliment each other.

6. What has dance given you that you use elsewhere in your life?

Dance has given me so much, where can I even begin? It has given me discipline in other parts of my life such as keeping a consistent work-out schedule, and has helped me with the discipline to be a vegetarian. Its also helps in building the creative side of my brain. As an actor, dance has given me a great awareness of my body and how it moves, which I think a number of actors lack. Dance affects almost every aspect of my life from how I hold myself while standing or walking to the way I use my body when talking to someone. I am a very animated person and a lot of that energy comes from my dance background. 

7. Can you share a favorite memory of your life in dance thus far?

Oh gosh, there are so many that come to mind! One of my favorite (although I hated it at the time) was when I was doing a production of  “The Nutcracker” and somehow ended up in three of the divertissements. I would run offstage and strip into another costume with only two minutes or so between each number; the most difficult was having about three minutes to run offstage and completely change tights and put on a tutu, my pointe shoes, and a wig to go onstage and play Mother Gigione. “Breathing is optional” became the joke backstage during that act.

8. What is next for you?

I am still waiting to hear back on a couple of projects. I will definitely be working on the ballet “Sleeping Beauty” with Metropolitan after “Swan Lake.” Wherever my performing takes me I am very excited to go. That’s what I love most about being a performer is that I have change in my life. I don’t go to the same job everyday; I work on ballets, and musicals, and plays, and operas. Its just wonderful.

Tyler Christopher Jay


Born, raised, and still living in the Twin Cities, Tyler Jay grew up dancing for the St. Croix Ballet and training at Spotlight Dance Academy. At the age of 8 he saw his first musical, The Phantom of the Opera, and became entranced with how deftly a story could be told with music and dance; this further intensified his love for the theater.After graduating from high school in 2010, Tyler went on to act for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN and now teaches with Top Hat Theater Company, and is a soloist with the Metropolitan Ballet. His work can be found across the cities whether he is performing a role or choreographing the movement for a show. If he’s not working on a show(or shows) he enjoys volunteering with OutFront MN, or sipping on a glass of wine.

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