My name is Robert Chartier, and I am a company dancer with Propeller Dance. I am in a piece in our upcoming production ROAR that was created a few years ago by Liz Winkelaar as part of the New Choreographer’s Program. I get to play Ian Dury, a 70’s punk musician from England. I get to grow my beard out like a 70’s rock star, and I get to be cheeky and full of attitude. Liz named her piece Spasticus, after a 1981 song ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ by Dury, a word play on the Roman gladiator Spartacus, Dury’s own epilepsy spasms, and the uniting theme of just wanting to be free. The Propeller piece adds another layer to that; the freedom, whoever we are, to dance, and move, and express ourselves.
One of the things I love about Propeller is being able to share it with others. Just yesterday, me and a co-dancer, Steve Wint, performed a five-minute hip hop piece for my classmates at the Adaptive Learning Program on Albert Street, answered students questions about what we do, and told them how Propeller has grown over the years.
I’ve been dancing since I was 14. The company actually works at least 4 to 5 days a week. That’s why I only go to school 2 days a week. A few years ago I decided I wanted to be a career dancer, and as part of that commitment, I commissioned a Propeller Dance tattoo, which I display proudly. Which is what ROAR is about: be loud, be proud, be free.