Gender-bending ballet in Beaver Creek
Vail CO, Colorado
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Men in tutus and pointe shoes will take the stage in Beaver Creek this week to perform ballet classics like Swan Lake.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male ballet troupe, tackles both male and female roles in their diverse repertoire.
The ballet returns to the Vilar Performing Arts Center Tuesday, marking their second performance here in the valley. The program includes “Majisima” a Spanish-inspired piece featuring classical ballet and music by French composer Jules Massenet.
Over the past 35 years, the “Trocks” have performed all over the United States and in 33 countries.
Tory Dobrin, artistic director and veteran dancer, shares the inside glimpse of what it takes to put on this comedy.
Vail Daily: What audience are you courting and who tends to turn out for your performances?
Tory Dobrin: We don’t court anybody actually. We’re an all-male comedy ballet company, and so anybody who’s interested in that turns out, so generally speaking we have a very good response from the audience. We have a very wide spectrum of society. That’s why we’ve been touring now since 1974 pretty successfully and do about 125 performances a year all over the world.
VD: Do you ever have trouble finding pointe shoes that are large enough to fit men’s feet?
TD: No, all the pointe shoes are special ordered.
VD: What are some of the interesting aspects of and challenges of dressing like a female ballerina?
TD: We don’t think of them as female-male, even though those characters are usually portrayed by females. We think of them as being in a costume and the costume is a little complicated because you feel like you’re in cocoon.
VD: How long does it take to get dressed and ready every time?
TD: It takes about an hour to prepare for the show.
VD: What all is involved?
TD: Putting on the makeup, putting on the wig, putting on the makeup and putting on the tutu.
VD: Where did the inspiration for the troupe come from?
TD: It’s 35 years old now, so I think it was a bunch of guys who were ballet dancers and also comedians and wanted to put on a show and they did, in Manhattan. It was sort of an off-Broadway production.
VD: Where do you rehearse and how much time do you spend rehearsing?
TD: We’re based in New York and we rehearse about eight hours a day.
VD: What kind of response do you get from audiences?
TD: We have a great reception everywhere, all over the world.
VD: So I guess the world is ready for an all-male troupe.
TD: Thirty five years into the history of the company, it’s not something that’s considered to be new. I think that Hulk Hogan appeared in a tutu at restaurants all over New York; “Mrs. Doubtfire” with Robin Williams; “Tootsie” with Dustin Hoffman; Madonna; Ru Paul. It’s not something that is fringe anymore.”
VD: In traditional ballet, the men aren’t usually trained en pointe. What training background do most of the men come from and how do you get them up to speed with the pointe aspect?
TD: It’s not unusual for a man to train en pointe nowadays, mostly thanks to the influence of Ballets Trockadero, so if a guy is thinking that this is a company he wants to join, he usually works at it and becomes comfortable en pointe. It’s like a tennis racquet. Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi play the same tennis game. They practice the same serves. The only difference is: Andre Agassi hits the ball harder. Much harder. And that’s about the same with us.
High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.