rasta_thomas_lgeRasta Thomas, the founder of Bad Boys of Dance, now 28, was a teenage prodigy in the ballet world. Thomas’s CV doesn’t only list impressive ballet credits, though, his achievements to date include receiving a black belt in Taekwondo, winning gold medals in dance, performing on the Academy Awards, dancing the great male ballet roles, including Othello, guesting with top dance companies, and working with dance giants like Mikhail Baryshnikov.

With Rock the Ballet Thomas’s aim is to ‘push the boundaries of male dance.' The show is choreographed by his wife and dance partner Adrienne Canterna-Thomas but it is Thomas’s vision fuelling the show – one he hopes is ‘athletic, sexy, entertaining and fun.’ This is the first show he has directed. 'It has been a dream of mine for a while,' he says, 'and to see it becoming a reality is quite remarkable'.

Thomas and his wife have known each other since childhood when they met in dance class. 'She sees steps and I see pictures and lights, so together we make a great team.' Bad Boys of Ballet ('bad’ in the Michael Jackson sense of the word) is designed to be a crowd pleaser, to be accessible and to show that dance can be technically superb and also a hell of a lot of fun. He has a mission – to encourage young men to appreciate how dance, all types of dance, can be masculine, energetic and, let’s say it out loud, one hundred percent heterosexual.  

'I think young men see what we do and see how athletic and masculine it is and are interested in learning more about dance because of that,' he says. 'They see that we are dancing to cool music, travelling the world with our friends and making people happy while spreading the love of dance!' Thomas describes the Bad Boys of Dance as trend-setters and leaders, breaking the mould and redefining dance, ballet in particular, probably in much the same way as Tap Dogs did here.

Rock the Ballet is choreographed to well-known popular music and has attracted criticism from some corners for its commercial nature. Thomas has no problem with the show’s appealing to the mainstream.
{xtypo_quote_right}The audience gets to know each one of us and I think that is what's so special about Rock the Ballet.{/xtypo_quote_right}
'I am totally confident in my choices,' he explains. 'I think that making audiences happy is an amazing thing! I believe it is our responsibility as entertainers to give ourselves freely as artists and to not care what critics think. People spend their hard earned money to spend the evening with us and I think we should show them a good time. I like the way our music gives our audiences a sense of comfortability', Thomas continues. 'It makes them sit back and relax and enjoy themselves more. We're just out there to showcase amazing technique and dance all while listening to awesome pop/rock music I think the challenge we always face is our constant need to make the audience happy. They are always in our thoughts during our creative process.'

Does he think the enormous popularity of reality dance shows influences his work or is what he doing contributing to the phenomena? 'Probably a little bit of both,' he says.

Australia will get to see him dance, but only every second night; with eight shows a week, Thomas shares his role with another dancer. Although Rock the Ballet is a big production, Thomas reckons there is some intimacy for audiences. 'Me and the entire cast showcase our own personalities throughout the show. It is a show about us. The audience gets to know each one of us and I think that is what's so special about Rock the Ballet. I still feel like Rock the Ballet is small and intimate because it's just me, my wife and my friends having a great time onstage every night!'

Rock The BalletThomas doesn’t have specific plans at present for life after Rock the Ballet but it sounds as though he is keen to share the love. 'As for future shows, who knows! The sky is the limit and Adrienne and I are always ready to tackle the next challenge! I'm always thinking ahead but am also trying to live in the moment. Collaborations are definitely in my future but I'm not there yet. One day I hope to be able to employ a lot of my friends who are singers/musicians.'

Thomas once harboured ambitions to star in a film. Does he still? 'Fingers crossed' is his answer. With his energy, enthusiasm and his track record, the sky really is the limit.

Rock the Ballet begins it's Australian Tour at the Arts Centre, Melbourne - June 1, 2010. Further details»

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