Ferst Center for the Arts, Atlanta GA.
By Deborah Searle.
Rock the Ballet starts with a disclaimer – “this is not a usual dance performance, you may experience involuntary acts of head bopping and toe tapping”. The audience laughs, relaxes and gets ready for a fun night of dance and entertainment. They are not disappointed.
Rasta Thomas’ Rock The Ballet is energetic and engaging. It is quite simply just about the dance, with no apologies. There is no elaborate storyline, no set, and simple costumes, but there is extreme and exciting dance! With a cast of six strong male dancers, and one beautiful female, there is a small cast, but a talented one.
With Rasta Thomas in the lead, his Bad Boys are all at the top of their game, with incredible technique and control, and ample stage presence and performance. A stand out, Anthony Colantone, is entertaining and oozing personality and talent. His flexibility and acrobatic skills are outrageous. Michael Keefe, with his strong stage presence, is also amazing and versatile, showing off his tap dance skills in Act 2.
The strongest dancers, however, are Rasta Thomas and his adorable wife, the only female dancer, Adrienne Canterna-Thomas. Rasta’s elevation, strength and charisma explode onto the stage. It is no wonder he has won so many dance competitions in his long successful career. He performs incredibly difficult and exciting tricks, amongst advanced and technically challenging choreography, at every turn. Rasta Thomas is an inspiration. Adrienne complements Rasta well, as they dance many vibrant pas de deux. Their chemistry is engaging and they make a beautiful couple on the stage. Adrienne is sassy and cheeky, oozing character as she performs quick and precise chainés, pirouettes and leaps. Her extension to second is stunning and she reminds us of it, again and again.
To popular music by U2, Cold Play, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jackson and even Queen, the dancers perform technically challenging choreography with moments of humour, passion and precision, displaying acrobatics, pas de deux work, and jumps with outstanding elevation. There is even a very comical dance featuring blow up dolls and a hysterical, theatrical rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody to the audiences’ amusement.
The ‘feel good’ music invites the audience to join in. Many in the crowd bop in their seats and clap to the beat, as they coo over the dancers’ great feats and even call out for more, prompting two encores. The choreography uses strong ballet technique, but has more of a contemporary and jazz feel to it. At times we even see popping, locking and hip hop. Usually such blends of styles can be awkward, but the Bad Boys of Dance pull it off with ease. They strut, spin, and even hip thrust as they rip their shirts off in a moment of cheeky fun, but then they remind us of their training and talent as they present flawless sequences of classical ballet and contemporary dance. The Bad Boys present an exciting and vibrant expression of dance and remind us of why we love it.
Rock The Ballet is not a conventional ballet performance, but is more of a casual, yet brilliant, dance display. It is fun, feisty, cheeky, and at times, even sexy. Each dancer is such a delight to watch, each dance is so challenging and/or entertaining, and each piece of music is so infectious, that Rock The Ballet will get you rocking in your seat!
Bad Boys of Dance will be touring Australia from June 1st. For more information visit www.badboysofdance.com