Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance will be kicking the US leg of their tour at the Annenberg Center. This troupe hits those pirouettes and jetes with street dance explosiveness, mixing it up with hybrids of hip-hop and capoeira acrobatics.
Thomas, an International Ballet Medalist and former star of Movin’ Out, still dances with his troupe. In Philly he is joined by Adrienne Canterna-Thomas, his wife and the only woman in the cast.
Speaking by phone in a garage where he was getting a tune up talked about his dance men and their show made up of pop/rock from Beautiful Day and Rock You.
“We just wanted great dancing with great music and fun. We wanted to keep ballet aficionados happy, but we want to attract a younger audience, the iPad generation. They are young versatile dancers that have had successful solo careers before joining my company and some are fresh out of dance school and competitions. The success of So You Think You Can Dance has a lot of people now watch dance on the couch, so we’re hoping to get them to the theater.” he said.
“We just got back from a 23 city, 50 day tour in Europe and Philly is our first engagement back in the states.”
Thomas said even ballet companies mixing it up with different styles. “20 years ago if I wanted to learn a step, I’d have to go to Moscow and work with an old master. Information about dance is so instant now with the Internet and between colleagues, it’s a different game. Today I can just watch video and apply it the next day in the studio.”
He also acknowledged the new methods of cross-training in dance that are helping to build a new generation of stronger dancers.
Thomas wants to change the attitude by some that going to dance performances is akin to going to a museum. “It’s very distant sometimes, you appreciate it, but there is an unnecessary seriousness.”
Thomas, who runs his company solely on ticket sales and not funding, has visions of creating full-length ballets. “Bad Boys of Dance is a step in that direction,” he assured.
Meanwhile, at the performance Fri night Adreinne more than held her own with all of her men. Her line was so good you kept forgetting she wasn’t in pointe shoes. Rasta is one of the best jumpers in the world right now, with iced hang time and finished landings. On turns he can hit machspeed, rivaling Nureyev’s velocity. Rasta and Adrienne smoldering in several duet sequences proving and sharing the love.