Street Dance legend Anthony Thomas, discovered in his early 20’s by Janet Jackson, went on to make history with groundbreaking, multi-award winning choreography for her Rhythm Nation 1814 album. Combining popping and locking for the first time, Thomas’ signature style changed the direction of hip hop and took the dance world by storm. With a long list of achievements, Thomas remains at the top of his game, teaching popping and locking across the US and abroad as students flock to his classes to grab a piece of hip hop history.
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing when I was eight years old watching The Lockers on Soul Train…it was over!
What dancers or teachers inspired you to dance?
Dancers inspired me from all areas of the medium: The Electric Boogaloos, The Lockers, Chain Reaction, The Jacksons, Gene Kelly, Paula Abdul, Barry Lather, Michael Jackson, Prince – there are so many!
Do you see any shifts or trends in dance that are detrimental to the art form?
I’ve been spoiled. I’m not sure if some of ‘who’s’ leading today know where they come from, or the rich heritage of dance they stand on. When I hold Rhythm Nation classes or workshops, dancers aren’t coming out because they don’t know of its relevance or how it relates to hip-hop today. Janet allowed me a platform in which to speak a language that hadn’t been spoken before. You’d be surprised at how many of today’s hottest dancers fall apart at one of my Rhythm Nation classes, because they haven’t been taught or understand the foundation on which they stand. Knowledge and education – that’s what’s missing in my opinion.
What trends are you seeing that are beneficial to the art form?
I love that street dancing, popping and locking (the roots of hip-hop) are being illuminated as viable within the industry.
What are you working on in 2011?
I’m collaborating with choreographers Charles Klapow, Alif Sankey and Sandrine Orabona from Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” production, on a project that’s been very close to my heart for many years. It’s very exciting and I’m very certain I’ll be able to share the news with the rest of the world before the end of 2011…to be continued…
Anthony Thomas is represented by The Movement – A dance management company.
Watch Anthony Thomas perform!
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