An evening with the Trocks is a delectable treat – from their opening rendition of Swan Lake to their NYC chorus line curtain call. The all-male cast is famous for rejigging traditional ballet scenes, recomposing them to highlight the high drama and silliness that we have become accustomed to in the ballet world. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo playfully re-inspects what it means to dance and to dance (mostly narrative) ballets.
Their diva qualities emerge when they dress in pointe shoes, tutus and tiaras; and admittedly, the element of drag makes watching the ‘ballerinas’ more exciting than their male counterparts. However, the clever parodies of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo keep balletomanes chuckling through the programme, and their physical humour easily translates to all audience members.
Like Swan Lake is a ballet masterwork, the piece stands strong as the company’s magnum opus. The show opens as Baron Von Rothbart slinks onto stage on an outrageous shock of hair maroon hair, his cape sweeping behind. He dramatically runs in circles around the stage, only to stop, hunch over and pant as he catches his breath.
The main characters infuse personality into their performances with stirring music catapulting their overly emotive performances to the top. The performance is perfectly overdone; and the corps de ballet entertains, too – generally as one flustered dancer moves out of sync or style. Spotting the faux pas becomes a fun game throughout.
The BalletBoyz are another, very different, all-male dance company.
Les Ballets Trockadero showcase spectacular dancing with beautiful arabesques, grand grand battements and even grander grand jetés. The audience naturally gets spoiled and quickly comes to take their talent for granted. However, their extraordinary performance quality separates the Trocks from other touring ballet companies. Their varied programmes mix narrative stories (such as the Dying Swan) with other acts that allow the audience to admire the cast’s athleticism and technical acuity (like the Harlequinade Pas de Deux).
The comic Les Ballets Trockadero troupe is allowed to show the difficulty of executing the dance steps and of intricate partner-work. After a complicated sequence or tricky step, the dancers occasionally celebrate a ‘nailed it!’ moment. Conversely, they briefly harrumphed at stunts gone wrong: a spilled lift, a series of nauseatingly dizzy turns and an impressive kick … to a fellow dancer. The resulting spills and stage dynamics are hilarious.
Read this year’s Genée International Ballet Competition medallists’ interviews.
The ultra-talented male ballet dancers of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo will surely show you a good time. Programme A (with Swan Lake Act II; Harlequinade Pas de Deux; La Trovatiara; Dying Swan; The Lttle Humpback Horse) shows at London’s Peacock Theatre until Sunday 16 September. Programme B runs from 18 – 22 September and includes Les Sylphides; Napoli and the wedding scene from Raymonda.
Ready for a hearty laugh at the dance theatre?
Disclosure: Up&AtEm Travel was provided admission to Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo ‘Programme A’ at the Peacock Theatre in exchange for an honest performance review.
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