Updated: Jul 13, 2019
World Champion Tyler Schwartz started Irish dancing at eight years old, following in his older sister’s footsteps. Eighteen years later, after countless competitions and performances, the 25-year-old continues to travel the world as a professional performing artist, choreographer and instructor.
Tyler has led Irish dancers as a performance director, principal soloist and teacher since high school and recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in education.
Tyler’s popularity continues to grow. You may have just seen his “Now This” video on Facebook with over 2 million views (if you haven't yet seen it, watch it HERE) or that he is now represents Capezio as a member of #TeamCapezio. You can also catch him dancing this Spring and Summer with Celtic Fyre at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
We caught up with Tyler to talk about major transitions in Irish dance and his advice for those looking to dance professionally.
Why did you become a professional dancer?
“Even when I was a competitive Irish dancer I loved to perform. Dancing for judges all the time can get boring, and I would always try to get myself involved in all the St. Patrick’s Day shows and other performances my dance school would put together throughout the year. Over the years, I have enjoyed all facets of Irish dancing, from competing to performing, even doing choreography and teaching, so transitioning from competitive dance to performance dance seemed like the most natural progression for me.”
How did you know you were done competing?
“While I did not know that I would be finished competing, I definitely could feel the transition toward being more motivated to perform. While putting together my dance material for my final World Championships in 2014, I felt more motivated to put in tricks and combinations that were more modern, different, and controversial than the normal competitive moves. I felt like I had performed my set piece more than executed it that year and thought to myself that maybe that was the sign I was looking for to transition into the next phase of my dancing career.”
Was it an easy transition?
“After being in the competitive scene for so long, diving into the performance world was quite daunting at first. The road has been anything but easy, but that is what has made this new adventure so fulfilling.”
What would you recommend to young dancers who want to become professional dancers?
“You owe it to yourselves to give nothing but 110% toward making it happen. Even something as small as daily practice, to performing in local recitals, the only way to make it happen is by giving it all you got. And of course always listen closely to your dance teachers and family. They will always give you the best advice.”
Stay in touch with Tyler online at: