Interview: Adrienne Canterna

Thursday 5 June 2014 by Carmel Smith

Adrienne Canterna

Adrienne Canterna is the choreographer and only female artist dancing in Rock the Ballet, the show she has developed with Director (and husband) Rasta Thomas for their New York based company, The Bad Boys of Dance. The winning fusion of classic ballet technique, musical theatre, hip hop, tap and acrobatics arrives in London for a three week run at the Peacock Theatre next week…

Tell us about Rock the Ballet – how did the idea for the show come about?
I was inspired to create Rock the Ballet because I wanted to fuse my classical ballet training with other styles of dance to create a movement that felt good and was also exciting and fun to watch. I like to call it POP-Ballet! It’s a high-octane intersection of classical and contemporary, set to a soundtrack of popular music. My choreography is inspired by my athletic & passionate dancers and moved by their artistry and love for music and dance.

You’ve developed the concept with your husband Rasta Thomas – did dance bring you together?
We’ve known each other since we were children and yes, dance brought us together. We met in dance class, we’ve always wanted to change the world through dance and that’s what is so exciting about Bad Boys of Dance. We make a good team… Myself as the choreographer and him as the director.

Do you miss dancing conventional classical roles?
Well I still dance certain classical roles like the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker as a guest artist and dancing Juliet in my new Romeo and Juliet feels as epic as any conventional role I’ve ever danced before such as Kitri or Gamzatti. I don’t miss the past though, I as live in the now and dream for the future.

What do you look for in your dancers – the Bad Boys of Dance. Do they all have ballet training?
I look for a variety of things in casting the dancers. They must have solid ballet technique, (as that’s the foundation of my movement) they must be attractive, athletic, entertaining, hard workers and more… I want a lot! Over the years, we’ve found dancers from auditions, youtube, recommendations, talent competitions and more. My eyes are always open to finding new talent.

You are the only female dancer in Rock The Ballet – how does that feel?
It feels pretty good!

You use a lot of rock and pop tracks in the show – is there one which is your favourite/you think really works the best?
No. I enjoy our entire soundtrack. Although I love dancing to Coldplay so so much.

Did you ever consider having more women in the show?
More girls are coming! It has to be the right project. There are more girls in my Romeo and Juliet and hopefully in my new shows in the coming years. But for now, Rock the Ballet works beautifully with six boys and one girl.

What are you most looking forward to about being in London?
Everything! Performing, seeing other shows, shopping, eating and being a traditional tourist.

Catch Rock the Ballet at the Peacock Theatre
10 – 28 Jun 2014

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