… or even badder? …
Rock the Ballet brings together rock music and ballet in a completely natural and satisfying combination — as in, “so glad you did this!” The ballet technique is superb, and incorporates movements from hip hop and other contemporary dance, and the music is the best of rock.
Interpreting both, and holding it all together are the outstanding lit backdrops by William Cusick, amalgams of computer design, video and photography that are stunningly beautiful works of art in themselves. Since these evolve continuously, it’s hard to pin them down in memory but the episode with large patches of oranges and yellow with thinning edges, like frayed linen — sort of Mark Rothko sideways — lingers.
Rasta Thomas is a masterful ballet dancer and the most charismatic performer but all the dancers have wonderful — even irresistible — moments. This is a great event to take young people to since the youngest in the audience know the music and love the athleticism of the dance — along with the older ones!
In Act I: Beautiful Day, the accent is on joy. It features dances composed to the music of the Black Eyed Peas, U2, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Mathews Band, Coldplay, Journey, as well as Bizet’s Carmen sung by Maria Callas and Ne Me Quitte Pas by Jacques Brel. The partnering of Rasta Thomas and Adrienne Canterna-Thomas was particularly effective in Ne Me Quitte Pas — the only music of the entire program the young people in my neighborhood didn’t know but that didn’t spoil their enjoyment of the dance.
Act II: Rock You, lets out the stops on vibrant rhythms and big exciting noise — with big exciting dance — and the music of Clint Mansell, Queen, Prince, and Michael Jackson.
Two small thoughts: the choreography by Adrienne Canterna-Thomas is able but she could loosen up on her imagination. More surprising, for a group that calls themselves The Bad Boys of Dance, they are on the well-behaved side. Personally, I’d like to seem them even badder. The fact is, though, Rock The Ballet left everyone with huge smiles, warm faces and heartbeats raised a pleasant notch.
Rock the Ballet plays at the Joyce Theater in NYC’s Chelsea through Jan 3.