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Dancer Tyler Duboys is bringing his expertise and enthusiasm to the new North Haven Arts Alliance. (Photo by Travis Magee )
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Tyler Duboys is committed to sharing his love for the arts with North Haven.
With his most recent undertaking, participating in the formation of the North Haven Arts Alliance, his goal is clear.
“If we come together to find a shared vision [through an Arts Alliance], that is where the artistic magic can happen,” said Tyler.
Right now, he’s asking the community to, “come together and smash our brains…Let’s build on each other’s strengths,” to cultivate the arts in North Haven.
Open-mindedness is key.
“I am always looking for…having people stay open…to be open to discovering new things about the arts and themselves,” said Tyler.
The New Year Nutcracker, a ballet showcased in North Haven last month, he says, is an example of that kind of attitude, and the rewards it can bring to a community.
Tyler was co-artistic director and stage manager for the production.
“We planted the seed” with The New Year Nutcracker, he says. “We said, ‘Here, this is what we can do, if we can get a lot of people to support the arts.’”
A dancer himself, Tyler’s enthusiasm for the arts is infectious. He recently shared his passion with students at Slate School, a private school in North Haven. While there, Tyler displayed some of his dance and breathing techniques.
“One thing I always tell young dancers is to make the easy things look hard and the hard things look easy,” said Tyler.
He led the students through simple, coordinated movements that served to show them that “everyone has the potential…the artistic potential to find themselves in any form of the arts. It’s eye-opening for a lot of the kids,” he said.
Tyler gained a sense of satisfaction when at the end of the lesson, he asked, “‘Are you all dancers?’ and they all raised their hands and said ‘Yes.’”
Shifting some of the misconceptions about dance, and ballet in particular, is something he hopes to accomplish as an instructor.
“It doesn’t have to [be] structured, [with a] quintessential mean ballet teacher,” Tyler says of dance instruction. “It’s a lot different than that. I steer people away from [negative] connotations…there is a lot of stigma associated with the arts.”
Tyler practices this philosophy, not only when doing outreach to local schools, but as a company member of the Brooklyn, New York-based Streb Extreme Action company.
Being a company member means he’s a “dancer, teacher…sometimes we get called action heroes,” he says.
The company “uses a lot of different machines and apparatus’ to achieve brief moments of flight,” Tyler says.
Spinning ladders, human-sized hamster wheels, and catapult launchers are just a few examples.
Streb’s unique style of artistic expression serves as a way for Tyler to challenge himself and his students as dancers.
“The way that we teach at Streb is different,” Tyler says. “It’s a lot more uninhibited because it’s about falling…doing something that you can’t control.”
“Flying is the easy part, landing is the hard part,” he says.
Tyler has traveled to several different countries, performing in different shows, festivals, and art installations as a company member.
His interest in dance started at an early age.
Growing up in New Haven County, Tyler says he “[took] all kinds of regular, everyday dance classes that anyone could take.”
Prior to attending college, he became certified to teach aerial yoga.
“I started getting a curiosity and hunger for different ways that you can bring art to the stage,” he says.
He attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in 2016 with a bachelor of fine arts degree.
Although aerial work was not a part of the curricula, he continued to train in this area while earning his degree.
“My curiosity was my driving force,” Tyler says. “Every time I was exposed to something new, I always said, ‘What else?’.”
“When I took my training off the ground and into the air…that was my biggest eye-opening moment,” he says.
Tyler’s motivation fuels his success.
“You have to get down and dirty with it,” said Tyler. “You have to have a hunger and desire to do the work…A lot of teenage dancers get put off by ballet because it is hard, people don’t always want to put in the work.”
Strength training balanced with the right stretching to increase flexibility and coordination is key.
“If you’re really strong, that will only get you so far if your range of motion is small,” Tyler says.
Overcoming obstacles is a part of the process.
Obstacles can include fear, frustration, and certain kinds of thinking, such as “I’m not strong enough...not flexible enough,” he says. “Instead of being frustrated or put down, [the process and training] gives you motivation to overcome them.”
The benefits of dance that Tyler has experienced inspires his determination to share the arts with the North Haven community through a North Haven Arts Alliance.
“That is what the arts [do]. It finds the magic in yourself,” he says.
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