Arielle Tyler’s life as a dancer

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Dressed as a flower, Arielle Taylor (right) poses with a friend after a performance of the Nutcracker. In addition to dancing as an opening and closing flower, she played the part of a mouse in the show. Photo curtesy of Arielle Taylor.

Dressed as a flower, Arielle Tyler (right) poses with a friend after a performance of the Nutcracker. In addition to dancing as an opening and closing flower, she played the part of a mouse in the show. Photo curtesy of Arielle Taylor.

Imagine yourself on a stage. Your head bent low, your body frozen in a pose. Gentle music cascades around you. Suddenly you hear your cue and fly into action, dancing and twirling in sync with dozens of other dancers around you.

This may not be how you spend your typical Saturday afternoon, but for senior Arielle Tyler, this sort of experience is commonplace. She’s a dancer, and has been since she was a little girl, when her mother first introduced her to the art. “We started in my garage,” Tyler said. “She was a tap teacher, so I learned tap first.”

Tyler took right to dancing. After a few years of tapping the minutes away, she traded in her tap shoes for ballet slippers. Now she spends nearly every day dancing with the California Ballet Company, a place full of meaning and memories for her family. “[My mom] was a ballet dancer at the company I’m at right now,” Tyler said. “She was there when she was a little girl, so now I’m there.”

Having been with the company five years, Tyler has danced in over twenty productions. Her most recent one was the Nutcracker. In spite of having the flu during the show, it turned out to be one of her all-time favorite performances. “It was really good. When you’re on stage, you kind of don’t really pay attention to being sick,“ Tyler explained. In a sense, the stage offers dancers a type of release; while they are on it, the world seems to melt away. It is only when they go offstage that, as Taylor said, “all of a sudden, it all hits you.”

Tyler has high hopes of continuing her passion for years to come. “I’m up in line to be up at the company,” she said. “There’s a couple of us graduating and we have our meeting with the director at the end … they [will] let us know if we get a contract or not.”

Apart from her dance career, Tyler dreams of studying to be a physical therapist and opening her own practice. She recently got a job as an intern at an osteopathic—or physical therapy—office. Helping injured dancers is only one of her ideas for her career. “I’m actually really into sports too,” Tyler said. “I’m … considering pursuing sports physical therapy, or pediatric physical therapy, [as well].”