Trained in classical ballet, Thomas saw that both traditional and contemporary repertoires, although challenging to the dancer, often did not connect with audiences, especially younger members who perhaps did not understand the language of dance. ‘Contemporary dance can be hard to define for people. Rock The Ballet is all about just having a good time’ says Thomas in Sydney as part of his show’s latest national tour.
His vision was to sustain the challenge but to fuse it with 21st century sensibilities, focusing on fun and enjoyment, athleticism and versatility.
‘My passion is to provide a more accessible and popular version of an art form’ muses Thomas. ‘It is the music that is the glue to the kind of people we seek to come along. People of all ages will follow the music.’
That music includes everything from Michael Jackson to Coldplay and Lenny Kravitz to U2. The dancers include three female principals and then thirteen ‘Bad Boys of Dance’ including Thomas himself. The choreography, says Thomas, reflects the freedom of movement that this music allows, so much different to the demands of the classics.
The career of a dancer is like that of many sportspeople, relatively brief and subject to potential catastrophe with any turn or landing. But unlike elite sports stars, the opportunities to enjoy success in this passion are relatively few. Thomas recommends young dancers, fresh out of high school and in the colleges, train in as many styles as possible, ‘aim to be a student of movement’ he implores, ‘but ensure there is a strong classical foundation to it all.’
‘Challenge yourself always, live your dream and prepare yourself for a remarkable career.’
There can be few better ambassadors of the self belief school that Rasta Thomas (soon to be 31) and his show, Rock The Ballet, is living proof of what self challenge can produce. Adelaide has been blessed in the past couple of months with much and varied exhilarating dance and the injection of popular music to the moves should make for great entertainment when the ‘ballet with attitude’ season kicks off on 3rd July at Her Majesty’s.
WIN TICKETS – Kryztoff has five double passes to give away to the opening night of Rock The Ballet in Adelaide next Tuesday evening (3rd July) at Her Majesty’s. To go into the draw to win just tell us how old Rasta Thomas is and send the answer to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm this Thursday 28th June. Winners will be advised by email.