Every generation gets the art it deserves. Rasta Thomas’ “Rock the Ballet” speaks directly to the young. The 28-year-old phenom, who has won many prizes and starred in Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out,” is certainly a virtuoso. Surrounding him are five male dancers, all skilled, and Adrienne Canterna-Thomas, Thomas’ wife and the choreographer of the show closing out the year at the Joyce.

If you were old enough to swoon for Justin Timberlake, you might be amused by what feels like a frat-boy’s dream. In the lame first act, performed to recorded music by U2, Lenny Kravitz, and Coldplay, guys in V-neck shirts and jeans frolic. Their efforts to rouse the audience to clap along generally fail. Canterna strings together gymnastics and bursts of extreme ballet.

The second half, to tunes by Queen, Prince and the late King of Pop played loudly, is livelier, fielding a “brat pack” of boys in black pants who constantly take off their tops. It’s derivative of early MTV videos.


Best of all is designer William Cusick’s video scenery, projections ranging from nature scenes to splashy graphics and karaoke-style lyrics. The complex video action almost makes up for the utter lack of choreographic sophistication.

If you want to see “bad boys” dancing, save your pennies for “West Side Story” on Broadway, where the Jets and the Sharks ace Jerome Robbins’ award-winning steps.

Rock the Ballet
Through Jan. 3
Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Ave.
$10-$59, 212-242-0800

Latest From ...