Event: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Run: 1-5 May 2012
Venue: The Esplanade Theatre
The Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, or more affectionately known as ‘The Trocks’, is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of ballet and modern dance repertoires, established since 1974 in Manhattan. They are known for their parodical takes on these ballets, and one would definitely be in for a good time, in their light-hearted struts and pirouettes.
The show was in 3 acts, each an excerpt from 3 different ballets – 1) Le Lac des Cygnes (Swan Lake, Act II), 2) Le Grand Pas de Quatre, 3) Raymonda’s Wedding.
It was a very condensed Swan Lake and my fave out of the 3 acts as I personally felt it was the funniest of them. It could be it was something I was most familiar with out of the three. But i think there were more “hiccups” made and the exaggerations (of course on purpose), with the animated facial expressions and gestures that the dancers made. Hilarious. Robert Carter as Odette was a gem and did one of the best fouettés for the night. After watching this, it made me want to watch Swan Lake again just to make comparisons, especially since I last watched it some years ago.
In Le Grand Pas de Quatre, it was a medley with a pas de deux (duet), a pas de quarte and a solo. The funniest to me was the parody of the 4 greatest ballerinas of the romantic age in the pas de quarte portion of which the work was originally choreographed for. The silent tussle between the four was comical, if not a reflection of real life maybe. Never put more than one prima ballerina together! Another highlight from this act would be the solo by Paul Ghiselin, which was from Swan Lake(?), of which Paul played the swan princess. The fascinating thing was, how did he manage to stuff so many feathers in the tutu? They just kept shedding as Paul moved from end to end, to end, on toes.
What was funny for Raymonda’s Wedding was something from the synopsis: “…The Trockadero ignores all of these plot intrigues and presents the happy ending”. So indeed, we were at the last bit of the original dance. The most outstanding character was the noble “lady” dressed in all white with a hennin, who only walked en pointe in and out. The dances were lively and as before, amusing. The finale for the whole programme was a swing dance complete with somersaults and a mirror ball.
I believe what made it funny was how some of the “shortcuts” to the footwork made the classical proper way seem a bit excessive and affected. Not to mention the exaggerated fumblings and acting. Not that I don’t appreciate the gracefulness of the proper steps (on the contrary, I love it), but this was a lighter take on that. And although we might be distracted by their hilarious antics, the dancers had really nifty footwork when you watched them carefully. They may look chunky and heavy, but light-footed they were as these men balanced themselves on their toes delicately and skillfully.
Another point, even though these were parodies, I felt it wasn’t to poke fun at classical dance as an art. But rather, with the display of possible accidents, the casting issues, the technicalities, etc., it just shows the amount of work that goes behind putting up a dance, from choreography to the team work involved.
Keep on trockin’ Trockadero.