Rasta Thomas and the Bad Boys of Dance ROCK the Ballet

We've been fans of ballet dancer Rasta Thomas for a long time--he first graced the cover of DS in 2000 and then again in 2007. Now artistic director of the all-male company, Bad Boys of Dance, Rasta continues to impress us with his talent and ambition (he also dances with the company!). We talked to him about his new role and the Bad Boys' show ROCK the Ballet--Rasta's wife, Adrienne Canterna, is the only lucky lady in the cast--which runs through January 3rd at the Joyce Theater in NYC. 

Dance Spirit: How is being artistic director different than being a dancer?

Rasta Thomas: It's empowering to be in charge and to have the privilege of guiding my dancers. When I was only dancing, I concentrated mostly on myself. Now, my focus is constantly on my family at home and in the studio.  
DS: What inspired ROCK the Ballet?

RT: The idea was to wake up the dance world with a show that's exciting, fun and makes you feel good. Our goal is to appeal to first-time theater-goers as well as dance lovers.
DS: The show features abstract video projections by the artist William Cusick. Why did you want to incorporate video?

RT: One of my producers, Mel Howard, saw William's work and suggested we work together. William's fantastic and we thought his videos would make RTB more accessible to a non-dance audience.
DS: How did working with video change the way you choreographed the show?

RT: Adrienne choreographed the show and then I gave William some video of our work in the studio and he just took it from there. He has such a visual mind so he didn't need much assistance from us.
DS: What defines a "Bad Boy" of dance?

RT: A Bad Boy is a sexy, athletic, masculine artist who can do anything from ballet to martial arts. He's a dancer who makes you wanna jump up on stage with him because his love of entertaining is so infectious. A "Bad Boy" is a dancer for this generation.

Photo by Herbert Shulze

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