A very manly ballet: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dances into the Vilar
Ryan Summerlin March 16, 2014
BEAVER CREEK — On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (which is from New York City, actually, not Monte Carlo) will bring a completely unique — and unforgettable — approach to ballet to Beaver Creek. Les Ballets Trockadero is a male comedy ballet troupe that has delighted audiences around the world for nearly forty years with its playful performances of classical ballet in parody form.
It’s men in tights. Only men. En pointe.
Founded in 1974, the Trocks, as they are familiarly known, started as a group of dancers in New York that wanted to have fun with ballet and comedy, putting on a show in the American tradition. They first performed in the late late shows in off-off Broadway lofts, but a combination of their authentic love of ballet, comic approach and the sheer talent led to national and international recognition and renown. They have performed in more than 500 cities in 33 countries worldwide and recently had their debut performance in Sweden.
“It’s an all male comedy ballet company,” said Tory Dobrin, artistic director of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo. “Each of those words is as strong as the next. It’s nothing but guys, ballet and comedy put together.”
DANCERS WITH INTEGRITY
To be perfectly clear, this is not just a bunch of men donning wigs and tutus and hamming it up on the stage. The Trocks are talented dancers who perform with integrity infused with moments of humor, both physical and situational.
In fact, there are moments when it’s possible to forget that it’s a man performing the pirouettes due to the grace and elegance of the presentation. Then, the dancer pulls a comical face or a bit of chest hair is revealed and the realization hits.
The amusement of seeing male dancers en travesti (a term that refers to the portrayal of a character by a performer of the opposite sex, as with early productions of Shakespeare) is only a small part of the enjoyment. The Trocks parody the cliches and conventions of classical and romantic ballet, incorporating and embellishing the accidents, idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies of serious dance. The fact that men are dancing the parts of swans, love-besotted princesses and heart-broken ladies, their bulk balanced on their size-13 toe shoes, celebrates dance as an art form rather than mocking it.
“It’s a fun evening in the theater,” Dobrin said. “When the audience leaves, they’re going to be impressed with high level of dancing. Since the Vail International Dance Festival happens every summer, we know that the audience is relatively comfortable with dance and ballet. This is another opportunity to see another type of dance.”
This is not the Trocks first appearance in Beaver Creek and Dobrin is looking forward to returning.
“We’ve been to Beaver Creek many, many times. It’s a beautiful place,” Dobrin said. “It’s nice to return to the same place — we feel comfortable there. We get to see the same mountain landscapes, get to see old friends a few hours before the show. We can’t ski, of course, but it’s always fun to come back.”