Story + Dance

2016 - 2020

While walking on a bridge somewhere in countryside, England, I had a thought. Why aren’t dancers ever interviewed about their lives? I would watch the behind the scenes of company shows and the dancers would be asked about how long they’ve been doing it and how hard rehearsals were. Great and all, but what a good way to withhold what actually made them the dancer they were. There must be a way to mix interviews with dance, was the next thought. I can still remember looking to my right and seeing the shiny river slowly flowing. That would be that, when I got back to the states, I’d use my dance connections all over the country and have two dancers pair up. Each would tell a short story from their life and the other would improv dance to it. The prompt was simply, “it can be anything at all – sad, happy, doesn’t matter. As long as it is something you still carry with you to this day.”

As always, life happened, and over the years I tried my best to grab dancers as I worked and traveled around the states. The four dancers below were the ones that came together in full. Although, Justin and Sylvia were on the same day, Shion and Kim were a year apart! Just the way these things go. I’m happy to have completed a few and brought the concept to life.

The initial intention was to show it live at a local screening room in Tucson, AZ, but the very weekend it was scheduled was the first weekend of COVID lock down. Just the way these things go? After months of waiting to see if the virus would disappear, I decided to scratch the live screening/performance with violinist John Lee and record him instead. This way, I could at least wrap it up and present it online.

I visited John in Pilsen, Chicago, where he helped me complete a five year endeavor.

Kim & Shion

San Francisco 2019 | Tulsa 2018

Justin & Sylvia

Detroit 2018

Improv Violin by John Lee

Behind the Scenes Video

Unfinished Dancers

Hilary, NYC, 2016

Sanj, Louisville, 2018

Gina, Phoenix, 2017

If you’d like to help Ty continue this self-funded project, please send PayPal donation to or contact him at the same address.

Jolly Trixsters | Truck Topper

Collaboration at Convergence Festival

I acquired another lovely Ford Ranger, but in order to get a topper for it, I had to find a rare-fitting 7-foot version. This meant the only thing I could find in Arizona (yes, the entire state) was an old utility work topper. This was all after a day of driving and waiting only to find out the dealer didn’t have the right one for my very special truck. Then, they found this aluminum one in their junk yard. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping for one like I had last – with windows on the side and back (for camping). After taking a nice long look though, I realized this thing was pretty much a giant art canvas.

At this time, I was preparing to shoot Convergence Festival at Arcosanti. It took a little convincing, but I got Jacob (the head of The Jolly Trixsters) on board. At first, I asked him to reflect on the life changes he was currently going through. This would have been pretty dark though, although I liked the first design he came up with. We ended up partnering with Rain, as she loved to do paintings with layered tape-lines. I was so busy shooting the festival I only caught them pulling the tape off!

It turned out to be an immersive installation where they let festival-goers join in on the spray painting and the tape-peeling. I’m very impressed with how the design came out and will add my favorite poem along one side of it quite soon.

GVG | Kaleidoscope

Music Festival Installation

Back in 2018, I was rolling through Tucson before heading out to Louisville for Top Chef. Just so happened that the same week was GoodVibeGetdown, a festival a few friends would run together. I didn’t want to do another recap video because I made one of those the year prior, on steroids, that would pretty much cover GVG for lyfe. So I thought I’d do a little art install – something simple and interactive that could be up for a night and gone by morning. Kaleidoscope video came to mind (this was before the lens was released). The setup would be my camera, diy kaleidoscope in front of the lens, people looking into it, and then a screen behind them. This way, I could get cool footage but also project it live for everyone around to see.

I got with the guys at Hartman Glass. They were psyched about the idea and cut 3 slabs to size for me. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to make of the footage, so it took some time to find the right animator. I got lucky with Sawyer, who took months to think creatively about it and construct something out of admittedly simple video clips.

Below is raw footage examples of the faces and textures my camera saw that night. Lastly, the final cut Sawyer came up with. I seem to find more footage hiding each time I watch it. Worth the wait.

"Flow" | Monsoon Collective

Collaboration w/ Isabelle Diamond

Video projected in room (no sound)

photos | Isabelle Diamond