Think dance isn't manly? Most male dancers have ripped, highly muscular bodies, the strength and power of a top athlete, and the stage presence of an actor. Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of Dance (Saturday evening) drove home those points by skipping the tights, ballet slippers and classical music. The troupe of six guys, including artistic director Thomas, danced in T-shirts or bare-chested, in tight jeans or black pants. They wore jazz shoes or no shoes. They danced primarily to rock music.
And they showed off--big time. They pumped up the volume and sailed through the air in grand jetes. They lifted a leg high above their heads, and turned and turned in pirouettes until the rotations slowed down naturally, then ended in a split jump.
They mixed a little tap, some hip-hop, touches of jazz, and quite a lot of acrobatics--aerials and amazing handsprings. But mostly the dance was strong and confident.
Thomas' wife, Adrienne Canterna-Thomas, was a guest artist, and the pieces during which she joined the boys were some of the more interesting of the evening.
During some of the group pieces, the dancers got so involved with trying to pump up the audience that the performance devolved from concert dance into something more like an aerobics class. The strongest sections were solos and the more carefully choreographed group numbers.
In the end, the Bad Boys of Dance offered more tricks than artistry. But they were also a heck of a lot of fun!