Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dancing Stormtrooper - the Interview

I tracked down our favorite boogeying Imperial Officer and he was gracious enough to give us an interview.  This may very well be an exclusive to Poparitaville.  Let's say it is.

Jason Cartwright, aka Hawk, is a married father of 3 (with one on the way) living in Florida.  As soon as he found out that the next Celerbration was going to occur just down the road from him, he cleared his calendar.  In addition to being an avid Star Wars fans, he and his wife are also into Stargate, Farscape, Dr. Who and Lord of the Rings.  He's a member of the 501st (TK9401) and he and his wife are applying for membership in the Rebel Legion.

ReevesReel: How long have you been trooping?

Jason: I joined the 501st back in August of '08 actually.  So around 2 years now.  Wow!  What an incredible 2 years of trooping.  I started out in a small town with no one to really troop with and never getting to go trooping much to Star Wars in Concert, Star Wars Weekends and Disney, and Celebration 5.  Not to mention all the 501st & Rebel Legion people right here in the area!  More events going on than I can keep up with!

How did you put together your costume?

Well, a little secret.  I actually wanted to be a Clone Trooper.  I remember when Episode 3 came out I was online and saw a guy with a VERY COOL Arc Trooper costume.  Being in a small town at the time though (Wellsville, NY) I realized people would not generally recognize a Clone Trooper.  So I went with the bad boys of Star Wars – STORMTROOPERS!!!   I just did a lot of research, bought the parts, and had someone help me put it together. 

Was Celebration V your first convention?

Actually, no. Though it was hands down the largest I've been to.  I also loved that it was very much a family friendly convention as well.  My wife and children all had such a wonderful time.  My younglings got to take on Darth Vader!  It brought tears of joy to my eyes!  Seriously!  Yeah, yeah.  I'm a sensitive Stormtrooper.

Where did you learn to dance?

I can dance? Ha ha, well, I think someone was just manipulating me with the Force.  Seriously, I just have always loved dancing.  I got if from my Mom.  I don't consider myself a good dancer by any means.  I just know to move to the beat is all.  Funny story: the second time I danced at Celebration V, this pretty woman came up to me (after I had taken my 'bucket' off) . . . complimented me on my dancing and told me she was surprised . . . to see that I was a white guy.

Did you get an opportunity to dance at any other event at the convention?

Ha ha, oh boy, yes.  I was back in the (Chapin) theater on Friday to see Mark Hamil.  DJ Elliot saw me come into the theater and asked me if I was going to dance again.  I got into position and danced to the music as the crowds came pouring in.  That was fun because I was actually helping get the audience pumped up for the show.  Once again it was very well received. You couldn't tell, but I had a huge smile from ear to ear under my lid.

So, Sunday came and I wanted to get a chance to do it one last time.  Especially since my family was there.  Sadly my wife didn't end up getting to see it because she was back stage with the children for the costume contest.   I walked in in my armor and was approached by some of the camera men.   They said they had missed me at the other shows.  Apparently they had even been looking for me.  "Find the dancing stormtrooper" the one guy said he was told.  Then I see DJ Elliot come down from the stage.  I had no idea what was coming.  He asked me if I'd be willing to come dance with him on stage during the intermission!  I couldn't refuse.  So, I actually was given the wonderful opportunity of dancing on the Star Wars Celebration Stage during the very last show of the convention!  Which also allowed me to meet actor and Celebration MC Jay Laga'aia as well!  What a fantastic opportunity.  And what a FANTASTIC way to end one of the best weekends ever. 

The whole experience of SW Celebration, dancing, costuming, meeting fans and seeing the exhibits, all of it, what a great way to end our first year in Florida.

And yes, I would be more than happy to do it all again!

What do you think about all this attention?

Well, I'd be lying if I said anything but, I LOVE IT!  But I suppose the attention is a big part of why many, perhaps most of us get into costume in the first place (other than it's just plain fun to do).  This is fandom!  We love this stuff.  We get to totally "geek out" over all of this.  I had so many people say to me, "Hey, you were the dancing stormtrooper right?  Can I get my picture with you?" (or variations on that)  Even after I was out of costume there were people asking me for pictures.  With a little imagination, you get to pretend you are a celeb...if only for a short time.  I've heard other fellow costumers say, "Its like being a rock star!"  Seriously, I just love entertaining people. Making people smile, laugh, and enjoy the moment with me.  It's one of the best feelings in the world!

Now if I could only find a way to make a career out of it.  Does Disney need a dancing Stormtrooper?

Any advice for other dancing troopers or dancing trooper wannabes out there?

Ha ha.  Yeah, actually I do.  I'm going to borrow what Jay Laga'aia said in his autograph: "Dance baby dance!"

– POPped and locked by ReevesReel –

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