Reviews of the Bad Boys of Dance.
Director Rasta Thomas, whose own career as a classical dancer included stints with the Kirov and Dance Theatre of Harlem, says he created this show in order to take ballet into the 21st century, and inject it with the raw energy of street dance and jazz. Twyla Tharp, in fact, was successfully rocking the art form decades ago in works like Deuce Coup. Yet if Thomas's show turns out to be much lamer than its title, it's not because it's been pre-empted by history, but because it has so little style.
Performed by the Bad Boys of Dance, Rock the Ballet is the wrong kind of bad. The posters promise high kicks and big jumps; on stage, the Bad Boys don’t know what to do with themselves between the tricks.
A cast of male dancers, led by the notably agile Thomas, leap, offer the flashier ballet steps in brief bursts, and suffer the irruptions of the only woman in the cast, whose regrettable forte is barefoot scampering, emotion by numbers, and an over-generous desire to dispose herself in attitudes expressive of angst or come-hither eagerness.
And why not. This is not a show to be snotty about. The time whizzes by and the second half picks up when the disco beats kick in and they start to look like they’re really enjoying themselves. By the time their tops come off and it all goes a bit Chippendales there is much whooping from the (mostly female) audience. This is a suspend-all-judgment and drink-a-bottle-of-Lambrini-before-you-go show.