Rasta Thomas and choreographer wife Adrienne Canterna-Thomas have rejigged the traditional ballet form, replacing tights with jeans, and operatic stylings with pop anthems from bands such as Coldplay, U2, Queen and Michael Jackson.
And it works. It's not hard to see why the show has been such a massive hit, nor why there has been much anticipation following the group's last Australian tour in 2010: the fusion of gymnastics, hip hop and classical ballet – (to name a few) – makes for a vibrant and addictively entertaining experience.
Set to the backdrop of some of the most catchy and well known songs of all time, the dancers dazzle their way across the stage, performing gutsy solos and energetic group numbers. The sole female in the show is a welcome antidote to the occasional testosterone overload, flitting and flirting her way throughout various pieces, as well as performing a moving solo to Dave Matthew's 'Crash Into Me' – a lovely reminder of the rich tradition of classical ballet in which all this is rooted.
While the show does, at times, feel a little cheesy due to some lacklustre choreography and stock backdrops, it is held together by Rasta's unquestionably brilliant "Bad Boys of Dance" who have the kind of skills that can only be acquired by a lifetime of commitment and a whole heap of talent: they could have danced to no music in front of a whiteboard and still kept the crowd happy.
There's no denying the raunch factor – there's more abs than arabesque in certain parts, not to mention the occasional crotch grab (I'm pretty sure I don't remember seeing that in Swan Lake) but nothing too offensive; a number with some blow up dolls was more comedic than crass.
Ending with 'I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt,' (the lyrics of which they took quite literally, to the delight of the audience) Rock the Ballet is a fresh and engaging take on your traditional ballet formula. Sure, it's more style than substance, but if you can handle that, you're in for a great night out.
Rock the Ballet
Venue: Regal Theatre
Dates: 10 – 22 July 2012
Tickets: $79.90 – $98.90