Rock the Ballet Rocks MC

Rock the Ballet Rocks MC

Sam Silverman. Staff Writer






“Warning, this is not your ordinary dance performance!” boomed a voice from several speakers surrounding the stage. Immediately the Black Eyed Peas song, “I Gotta Feeling” started to play and five male dancers walked slowly out on stage. After the song was over the audience cheered and hooted with excitement.

    The audience’s excitement filled the room at the performance of the Bad Boys of Dance: Rock the Ballet at Montgomery College’s Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, Friday night, February 3. This was the first time the Bad Boys performed at MC, but they have performed over 500 shows in 10 different countries worldwide since their first performance in 2007. These have included a performance with Lady Gaga at a charity benefit, as well as many televised performances.

The Artistic Director of the Bad Boys of Dance, Rasta Thomas, started BBD in the early 2000s. Thomas started this group wanting to give dance, especially ballet, a younger, fresher and sexier look for younger audiences. He was inspired by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and sports. He realized that there was no “boy band of the dance world.” Thomas’s dancing career developed as a result of having to go to dance lessons as a form of punishment from his father for being disrespectful and rude. When he first started taking dance lessons he thought that dancing was for sissies. His teacher saw his potential and told Thomas’s father to have him continue dancing lessons. Over time Thomas learned to enjoy dance and also stuck with it because he enjoyed the praise for doing something good. “Dance is my life and life’s work,” said Thomas.

The Bad Boys of Dance rehearse at Thomas’s studio, Design in Motion, located in Grambills, MD. The members of the dancing troop age about 18-28 At this age, dancers, like sports athletes, are at their prime age. It takes four to five weeks to teach a new dancer the show’s whole routine. Thomas picks dancers for his group based on their versatility, looks, technical efficiency and how well they do on stage. Advice to aspiring dancers is to train in as many styles as possible, listen to their teachers and keep stretching. The group will modify the music depending on how inspired the choreographer is. Thomas tries to focus the show toward the Facebook-aged group but does not want to discriminate against any audience age group. This is because Thomas feels that ballet has become something for older generations and wants to be able to perform in front of an opera patron but also in front of a movie goer and video gamer.

The show is divided into two parts, both accompanied by a medley of pop music of the Black Eyed Peas, Michael Jackson, U2, Queen and many more. The first part of the show tells a story of ‘Boy meets girl, Boy loses girl, Boy gets girl.’ The first part included a dance set to the music from Carmen, in which the Bad Boys danced on stage with life-size inflatable rubber girl dolls. This dance had the audience practically rolling on the floor laughing.

The second part of the show was a mix of dance that shows the athleticism of the dancers. This part was composed of little vignettes which included some comical moments. At the end of the second-to-last song, Bohemian Rhapsody, the troop made what was to be the first of three curtains calls. The audience was so pumped up by the end of the second curtain call that Thomas decided to do another encore. He raised his index finger to the audience motioning and mouthed the words, “one more song.” This caused the audience to cheer even louder. To say the audience enjoyed themselves was an understatement. The concert was sold out. “It was phenomenal. It was amazing how they could move their bodies to every nuance of the music,” said Marilyn Broderick, a resident of Rockville. Rock the Ballet rocked the house.

More information on performances at MC can be found at