MC has fun with some real ‘Bad Boys’

Back in 2008, the already world-famous Rasta Thomas founded his own dance company, The Bad Boys of Dance. Now the Bad Boys are known worldwide for their innovative approach to dance and performance. Unlike typical dance companies who usually focus on only one or two dance forms, BBD blends many different dance styles together including classical ballet, hip hop, tap, jazz, and modern. James Boyd, a BBD company member says Rasta “likes to use the word hybrid, like were the hybrid dancers, the next generation.” Thomas also does not use classical ballet music, but incorporates many different genres of music. “Rock the Ballet” that they performed at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, opened with “Beautiful Day” by U2. Other selections included “Bicycle” by Queen, “Bad” by Michael Jackson, and “Faithfully” by Journey.

Before the performance began the house announced that “there might be involuntary spontaneous participation.” This was definitely true; more often than not the audience was clapping along with the rock music while entranced by the charismatic dancers. Thomas danced in the second act, ratcheting up the energy another several notches. “Rock the Ballet is not like The Sleeping Beauty with set choreography, the same music and a definite beginning and end. It is more similar to a concert; from tour to tour, the music and dancers change, the choreography morphs to fit the dancers and new music, and the dancers came back for two encores just to please the audience.

Who exactly are the Bad Boys of Dance? They are a company of talented men who have studied at places like The Kirov Academy of Washington, D.C. and Steps on Broadway. They have a variety of start up stories, from being put into dance at the age of three because of hyperactivity to following girls to dance class. Despite the “hybrid” style of the company the dancers all have backgrounds in classical ballet, the basis for all other dance forms. “All [the dancers] have the technical ability to pull of the classical tricks and the classical lines and then also we’re very grounded to be able to pull off the urban feel of hip hop and break dancing,” says Boyd.

According to Timmy Olson, the dance captain, and Boyd, the whole company has come together from their diverse backgrounds and are “basically like a family.”

Even with that sense of camaraderie, “there’s a lot of competition in the company — but it’s friendly. The friendly competitiveness that thrives throughout the company that will make Timmy better, [and] make me better,” Boyd said.

In the week leading up to the performances at the college, a few of the Bad Boys taught master classes at MC. Boyd taught intermediate ballet, Brandon Russell BBD’s operations manager taught modern dance classes, and Olsen taught jazz. Olsen says one thing he really loves about the opportunities he’s gained from BBD is the community outreach through teaching. He says the different programs like the Boys and Girls club that they “go to kind of opens your eyes to a different aspect. Yes we’re still teaching, but it’s so much different than that, you can do the simplest step and it makes the world of difference to [the kids], in that aspect the teaching has helped my thought and different things in my life.”

Being a part of the Bad Boys has also influenced Boyd’s way of teaching, he “like[s] changing the cliché mind of the average dancer and putting it into other dancers’ heads that it’s possible to do other styles” rather than focusing on just one form of dance.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/50220008]

Bad Boys of Dance website.