The Power of Possibility

Propeller Dance has been an innovator in the field of contemporary integrated dance and diverse performance practices in Canada since 2007. Propeller Dance is committed to excellence — creating, teaching, performing, presenting integrated dance and more recently, inter-arts performance. At the core of our work is the belief that dance is for all people, and as wide a breadth of expression as possible is of value. We are recognized as a leader in Canada for our innovative, inclusive creations and teaching practices.

Directed by Renata Soutter and Shara Weaver, Propeller Dance reaches thousands annually through:

Contemporary integrated dance is a dance specialization where dance artists of diverse minds and bodies create new dance and performance, drawing on various established techniques within the improvisation, theatre and contemporary dance genres. The goals are to discover, uncover, showcase, and highlight the beauty and power of dancers of all abilities working together. We define virtuosity as the ability to move an audience, through presence, connection, human spirit, as well as physicality. Disability is understood as a difference in human experience rather than a limitation or something to overcome. Our goal is to create meaningful art that broadens acceptance of diversity in its many forms.

If you can breathe, you can dance.

Highlights & Milestones

Propeller Dance was founded in 2007 by three people: Alan Shain, a professional comedian and theatre artist, dancer and disability activist; Renata Soutter, a contemporary dance artist, choreographer, dance educator, and community developer; and Shara Weaver, a dance artist-educator specializing in improvisation and West African dance. Prior to founding Propeller Dance, the three co-founders led accessible recreational dance classes for the City of Ottawa and at The School of Dance from 2001-2006. Although Alan stepped down from a leadership role in Propeller Dance in 2009, his philosophy and ethos have been a strong influence in how the company continues to operate.

From its community roots, Propeller Dance has grown into a professional dance company and training program that operates year round. Reaching more than 5,000 people annually, Propeller Dance has been presented by the Great Canadian Theatre Company in association with Ontario Scene produced by the National Arts Centre, as part of Tangled Arts Festival at the Daniels Spectrum Theatre (Toronto), by Studio 303 (Montreal), by Momo Dance Theatre at the Vertigo Theatre (Calgary), commissioned by Dusk Dances Ottawa, and commissioned by the NAC Music Department to perform with the NAC Orchestra on the Southam Hall stage as part of The Hockey Sweater production, as well as presented by numerous other theatres and venues.

Currently artists-in-residence at GCTC, we recently also benefited from a residency at the Ottawa Dance Directive, where we showcased the results of our first Emerging Choreographers with Disability Program in 2014. We run programs for young audiences in schools and provide community outreach programs. In a given year, we deliver approximately 30+ performances and 25+ dance workshops, plus run seven weekly dance classes for children, youth and adults, reaching thousands of audience members and participants annually.

Propeller Dance has been recognized for its work in many ways, including being awarded dozens of peer-assessed merit-based arts grants from all three levels of government – City of Ottawa, Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. The Co-Directors are both Diamond Jubilee Award recipients, and Propeller Dance has won the Artistic Excellence award from Celebration of People (2014), Telus Award for Innovation (2012) and was nominated for a Great Grants Award by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (2011).