When work dried up thanks to the pandemic, one Broadway dancer decided nothing was going to stop him from strutting his stuff.
Instead of treading the boards, Robbie Fairchild took to dancing on rooftops in Manhattan and began sharing the videos on his Instagram account. Sometimes he’d choreograph numbers with his flatmate and fellow dancer Chris Jarosz. Chris is a freelance dancer and choreographer who has worked with JLo and Taylor Swift.
Dancing on rooftops helped keep Robbie in shape at the beginning of the lockdown and gave joy to his neighbours and social media followers.
Ordinarily, you’d only get to see this Tony-award winning dancer in top productions on Broadway in New York or the West End in London. Robbie, who grew up in Salt Lake City and dreamt of following in the footsteps of his dance hero Gene Kelly as a young boy, spent more than a decade as the principle dancer for the New York City Ballet before starring in An American in Paris (below) and Cats.
But Robbie realised that dancing on rooftops wasn’t going to pay his rent.
Inspired by a gift of flowers from a fan, Robbie took up floristry.
“Flowers were a lifeline for me over the past year and a half – I had no stage so I crafted a new performance space,” he told the BBC.
Robbie compares flowers such as peonies as just as dramatic as some of the most powerful stage productions. “These flowers are storytellers,” he says. “I love the way they start off all balled up and you don’t know what they are going to turn into. It’s like a live performance and each flower is so different – it’s incredible.”
You can watch Robbie’s performances below. And if you want to surprise someone with a special gift of flowers head to Robbie’s website Boo.Kay where you can buy an arrangement such as the Showstopper, the Grand Dame or even the Broadway Veteran. The business now employs six part-time workers.
As for Robbie, he’s now back on stage and rehearsals have begun for a special performance for the 80th birthday of America’s leading contemporary dance choreographer, Twyla Tharp.
Because pandemic or not, Robbie believes more than anyone that the show must go on.