Gifted with movie star good looks, prodigious talent and a youthful ambition, dancer and actor Rasta Thomas could be thought of as the epitome of the dance world’s perfect star — a mercurial action hero as at home in the ballet classics as he is in Broadway musicals.
Born in San Francisco in 1981, Thomas displayed a phenomenal natural affinity for movement early on, studying martial arts, swimming and gymnastics from the age of three on. He won his first dance competitions at 9, and made a splash in the ballet world at Varna, Bulgaria in 1996 when he won the gold medal in the Junior Division, and then again in 1998 when he won the gold medal in the Senior Division at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS — the first 16-year old to do so.
His remarkable talent has given Thomas the ability to forge a unique path to a career in the dance world. Instead of joining a single company to secure his future, Thomas has the luxury of an array of choices. It’s an advantage that has resulted in a diverse resume that includes every thing from ballet companies (Dance Theatre of Harlem and LINES Contemporary Ballet) to film (Patrick Swayze’s “One Last Dance”) to the musical stage, starring as Eddie in the tour of the Broadway hit “Movin’ Out.”
In “Fame,” Spark follows Thomas to Los Angeles, from ballet class with Adrian Dellas — one of his first dance teachers — to rehearsal with Debbie Allen on her show, “Pearl.” It’s a typically hectic day in the life for the mercurial Thomas, who sees himself as the artist of the future, a dancer for whom any kind of movement is both an open challenge and an opportunity.
Some artists want fame so badly they can taste it. Some barely think about it.