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Dancer VIP: Judith Jamison – Alvin Ailey former Artistic Director

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Home » 7 - Summer 08, Ballet, Column, DANCE

Confessions of a Bad Boy by Rasta Thomas

Submitted by on 10 Dec 2008 – 3:23 AM Comments


We live in our heads. Our hopes, our dreams, our weaknesses, our delusions…essentially our reality, is created by what we let ourselves see. I believe the fundamental reason one has an attraction to an image is because of the inspiration we get from it. This inspiration is so important because it motivates us to be our best self and builds our ego—yet another sector of our self-created existence. Whether that inspiration is a person, a book, a ballet, a movie, or a picture… it doesn’t matter; it is simply this quest to satisfy our ego that pushes us to do the things we all hope to be remembered by. After all, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth remembering.

When I was a kid I used to watch Bruce Lee films and talk to my Michael Jackson poster in my bedroom. These two, above all, were my heroes and I wanted to grow up to be just like them. Via the acute attention, support, and love of my parents, they sought out the best teachers in the world to help pave the way for the career and life I so desired as a seven year old.

After two decades, the struggle to become a great artist still burns inside of me. The only thing that has changed is my coming to terms with the fact that I am not a film or pop star. My goals have changed as I have allowed different inspirations to inhabit my brain. People like Nureyev, and Baryshnikov now fuel me to become a better dancer.

Am I delusional to think I can fill their shoes? Maybe. But without striving to create a better reality, what is there? I believe greatness lives inside all of us, most are just too lazy to fight for it. One compliment and we become complacent; it’s an illness that I started buying into after my first good review. Perhaps what a critic or a fan says about me is all that I am. But I can’t sleep at night knowing that my contribution to society has already been printed in the New York Times. I have to believe that there is more.

Trying to define myself as the dance artist I want to be remembered as is the battle I now fight for everyday. It is a challenge that goes hand in hand with defining myself as a person. Ironically the goal is always the same: to be a better one, a great one. Who and what is a great one? To me: one that inspires someone else’s reality.

Rasta Thomas


  1. hdubois says:

    Very Inspirational Indeed:)