In conversation with Lisa Tyrrell

In between classes, we caught up with Lisa Tyrrell who teaches evening classes in DanceHouse to find out more about her and her work.

What was your first dance moment?

My first dance movement was Ballet. I was six years old and l got hooked immediately.
What was the first dance class you ever taught?

I remember it well, it was a Jazz class that was held in the YMCA. I was participating in the class and when the class finished the teacher announced that she would be away for the next 3 weeks but could not find cover for the class. Without hesitation l put my hand up and offered to teach. I had been out of the business for 6 years so l was terrified. However l taught for the 3 weeks and the teacher decided not to return as her plans had changed so l took over the slot starting with 3 students and 15 years later the rest is history. At the time I was also living in London so until l moved home l used to fly home once a week to teach my Jazz class. This was the start of
"Lisa Tyrrell Dance" which eventually became "Whynot Dance Company "

What have you learned over the years from teaching?

I have learned that l love to educate my students. Whether l am teaching amature or professional dancer l treat them with the same respect and share my knowledge of Dance to the best of my ability. I have also learned that you need a lot of patience, kindness and understanding because each student has individual needs. My teaching is very rewarding. It's a vocation not work.

What do you say to someone when they say they are too old to dance?

This is a statement l come across regularly which l find soul destroying. You are never too old to Dance. Dance is so important for any age group. Along with the usual factors that dance is good for improving your technical ability, sense of performance and use of artistry, It also helps with posture, confidence, discipline and mental health which are qualities we use in our every day living.
Teaching as much as you do takes a toll on your body and energy levels. How do you pace yourself?

I make sure to maintain a well balanced diet and if possible l like to get 8 hours sleep at night but sometimes l have to make do with 7. I find that when l do my own training in the morning whether it's a dance class or yoga class or even a walk it sets me up for the day and my physical body is warm and ready to train my students. For me routine is key. Sometimes my routine gets knocked off kilter due to having a very busy schedule, on top of teaching, performing and choreographing so it's during these times l make sure to have some down time to avoid burning out. I also make sure to treat myself to a full body massage once a month. I have a very good physical therapist who works on me too, which is very important to help maintain my body and to keep on top of any injuries. Plenty of vitamins are important too.

Tell us about some incredible dance moments you have experienced?

One of my most memorable was when l delivered a Jazz dance workshop for a Hen party. One of the Hens was visually impaired so l had to make sure that l catered for her needs which was challenging but l felt l did because her reaction at the end of the workshop was one of the most humbling experiences l have ever encountered. It was so rewarding.

Favourite performance you’ve ever seen?

Knots by Coisceim Dance Theatre
David Bolger
He is a very talented Irish choreographer who has produced outstanding work but this particular piece was very powerful that l had to go see it twice.
How would you love to see dance live on stage?

I love all genres of Dance but l especially love to see dance on stage accompanied by a live orchestra/musicians because for me it takes it to another level.
Dancer or choreographer you’d love to go to dinner with?

Dancer no choreographer oh that's a tough one, l will leave you guessing.
Dancer, Mikhail Barishnikov he is my all time favourite dancer and l would love to pick his brain about his career.

What class are you off to teach now?

I am just about to teach my Intermediate Jazz class here at Dance House at 7 pm.


Lisa also teaches beginner jazz on Mondays at 8.30pm, beginner ballet on Tusdays at 6pm and intermediate ballet on Tuesdays at 7pm