Rasta Thomas was born in San Francisco, California, and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was a black belt in Martial arts by the age of 5 and from there he became classically trained in Ballet at the prestigious Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. under the direction of Oleg Vinagrodov and also studied at Washington School of Ballet. As a teenager he made dance competition history. At the age of 13 he become the youngest person ever to receive the Jury Prize at the 1994 Paris International Dance Competition. At 15 he was awarded the Junior Gold Medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition, becoming the youngest ever to win.
In 1995, Thomas became a member of Le Jeune Ballet de France, and in 1997 was invited by the Hartford Ballet to be a principal artist.
In 1998 he was given a special dispensation, and was permitted to perform in the senior division of the USA International Ballet Competition (USAIBC). He won the gold medal, and at 16 years old became the youngest to win in the senior division, beating Mikhail Baryshnikov’s previous record age of 18.
In 2003, he joined Dance Theatre of Harlem as its youngest principal dancer. Introduced by choreographer Vladimir Angelov in 2001, he was the first American to become a member of the Kirov Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia while they granted him freedom accepting independent work. While there, he most notably danced as Swan Lake’s Jester, Carmen’s bullfighter or Le jeune homme et la mort’s Young Man.
Rasta Thomas has danced with such companies as the the Russian Imperial Ballet, National Ballet of China, Victor Ullate Ballet of Spain, Inoue Ballet of Japan, Ochi Ballet, Universal Ballet of Korea, Joffrey Ballet, Washington Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Complexions, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Company, Orlando Ballet, K Ballet, CityDance, Philadanco, the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) at the Metropolitan Opera House and as an “étoile” (leading dancer) in the Paris Opera House.
He has been a featured soloist at many galas, including Le Gala Des Etoiles and has danced diverse roles including “Albrecht” in “Giselle”, “Basilio” in “Don Quixote”, “Ali” in “Le Corsaire” and “Death” in “Debbie Allen’s Soul Possessed”.
In addition to his career as a ballet dancer, he appeared as “Timmy Chambers” in the film One Last Dance (2003), starring Patrick Swayze and also performed a solo in Lar Lubovitch’s US debut of Elemental Brubeck. That same year, he debuted on Broadway as the lead character Eddie in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway hit “Movin’ Out”and went on to work with the “Movin’ Out” touring company. He opened at the Special Olympics World Games and also choreographed and performed a well-received “stand-alone acrobatic ballet solo” for “Poetry in New York,” a flamenco musical by Rafael Amargo. 2008, Rasta Thomas and 11 other gold-medal winners of previous USAIBC competitions were included in a one-night-only IBC Reunion Gala in Jackson, Mississippi.
Further television credits include a Bravo documentary in 1997, CBS’ Breakfast with the Arts (1991), Sesame Street (1969), a featured solo during the 1999 Academy Awards/Oscars and the Spring 2000 international ad campaign for The GAP.
In 2007, Rasta Thomas founded his own company, the Bad Boys of Dance (BBD), based in Takoma Park, Maryland . He chooses the best versatile dancers for this company from competition, Broadway, and ballet backgrounds. One of the most successful and worldwide touring shows of the Bad Boys of Dance, “Rock the Ballet!” incorporates contemporary dance, acrobatics, martial arts, pop, breakdance, jazz, hip hop and other street dance genre into its ballet elements. Among others, BBD opened the two-week USAIBC on June 2010.
Following up the international hit “Rock the Ballet!”, Rasta launched dance shows such as “Tap Stars” and “Romeo and Juliet”.
Most recently he danced in “Carmen” at Houston Grand Opera, performed with award-winning world’s top male dancers in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Osaka and danced in “Carmina Burana” in Cuba and Mexico as a guest star with the Cuban Contemporary Dance.
Rasta Thomas has also held the position of Resident Director at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, California and is the Artistic Director & CEO of Showbiz and Primetime Talent Competition/USA.
Copyright 2017 Skyra Studios, LLC • 249 W SR 436, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714 • 323-379-4674