Men in tights head for Beaver Creek
Vail CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Barrel chested, hairy men in tights and tutus dancing en pointe. Of course I could only be talking about Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, making their long-awaited return to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
The “Trocks” are to ballet what the Reduced Shakespeare Company is to the Bard. This all-male troupe performs both the male and female roles in some of history’s best-known classical ballets and modern dances with polished training that any ballerina would envy. If you’ve never seen a Trocks’ performance, this is a rare opportunity to get your fill of hilarity, parody and amazing dance ” all in one show.
The original concept of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was to have a company of professional male dancers performing a full range of dance repertoire, including classical and original works, in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of specific dance styles. The Trocks’ comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of what most people call “serious” dance. The fact that men dance all the parts ” heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses and angst-ridden Victorian ladies ” enhances, rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novice members of the audience.
The Trocks have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon throughout the world. They have toured in over 500 cities in 48 states and 33 countries. Performing more than 40 weeks a year, the company provides some of the most sought-after jobs for male dancers in America.
“Forty weeks’ touring is 40 pay checks. Companies of this size in the U.S. are lucky to get 15 weeks,” says Tory Dobrin, associate director of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
While these dancers love to camp it up, they also have true devotion to the art form, and are all exceptionally skilled dancers. The first time I saw them perform I was captivated; not sure whether to laugh out loud at the hilarity of it all, or drop my jaw in awe at the quality of the movement and choreography. In the end you should do both.