SMU graduate takes on international stages
Published: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Recent SMU graduate Jamal White is taking his dancing to the next level: a renowned international dance tour.
White has joined director Rasta Thomas' company, the Bad Boys of Dance, for their 2012 tour of "Rock the Ballet."
As one of seven dancers, White will travel to countries like India, Portugal, Russia and Japan between Feb. 25 and Aug. 1.
According to Rock the Ballet's website, the show is a "fusion of classic ballet technique blended with the excitement of musical theatre, hip hop, ballet, tap, contemporary, gymnastics and more."
For White, Rock the Ballet "is just complete fun. It's just about being a hot boy. SMU was serious but now I get to go back to when dance was just pure joy."
Working with Director Rasta Thomas is a dream come true for White, who received a call in his sophomore year from Thomas.
After watching a YouTube video of White dancing in the Brown Bag Dance Series, Thomas became interested in the young dancer.
White felt he needed more time to finish his degree, but when he received another call in December inviting him to join the cast of Rock the Ballet, he knew it was the right choice.
White said, "I had one week to decide whether or not to join the company. After hearing the tour locations, I said, ‘say no more.'"
SMU Meadow's Assistant Dance Professor Millicent Johnnie said, "the tour is going to give Jamal a platform to grow. We've given him the tools but now he can test those tools on his own."
White feels that the tools that professors like Johnnie passed on have truly prepared him for this opportunity.
"When it comes to rehearsal, SMU focuses on detail. One thing I learned was to hone in on my part of the work,"
he said. "If everyone takes care of their own part, it all comes together perfectly."
"I had only a month to learn the entire show and have it clean," he continued, so being able to focus on getting the complicated steps down as efficiently as possible was a definite advantage.
"I'm excited to throw myself into this new environment, but I'm still a little nervous," White said.
To this, Johnnie said, "You've got to get out. You've got to travel. You have to dance with other dancers. You have to be a good temperature taker. I think all of those things will help Jamal."
She continued, "He was very open to experiencing new material and I think that kind of openness will create avenues for him so that he can have a long, sustaining career."