Culture

Review | Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

By: Andrea Drobna

★★★★

Founded in 1974, Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo (Trocks, for short) have toured all over the world, showing people a very different side of ballet than most are used to. The all-male ballet troupe has broken the stereotype that only women can dance on pointe, challenging these assumptions by using elements of humor and intentional mistakes to lighten the otherwise serious mood of classical ballet. Having toured in over 35 countries and 600 cities, I knew that this wasn’t a show to miss, and I was eager to see some of my favorite ballets performed by the iconic Trocks.

The show started off with a closed curtain, as the host proceeded to announce the dancers and numbers that would be performed with a thick, overexaggerated Russian accent. The dancers were sporting unique names such as Maya Thickenthighya or Eugenia Repelskii, and overall the entire start of the show caught me completely off guard. It was hilarious right from the get-go, and the audience was already fully enjoying themselves before the show even started.

The first dance that was performed was Les Syphides, an abstract classical ballet without a defined narrative or characters, although Chopin’s music hinted at themes of dreams, desire, and melancholy. The way in which the Trocks interpreted it was quite amusing, showcasing the ‘ballerinas’ all struggling to do the correct poses or use the right technique to this angelic music where all of the movements were supposed to be soft and flowy. The dance also featured a dancer dressed up as a man, who wasn’t quite sure how to support the ballerinas or what to do. Although it was funny, I found the pace of the first dance to be quite slow, and lacked the energy that I would have liked to see for the first ballet. I was hoping that the Trocks would pick it up after the first intermission.

After the first intermission the quick, energetic dances that I had been hoping to see emerged, with the highlight being La Trovatiara Pas De Cinq, a number focused on a fight between pirate girls and their capturers featured in Verdi’s famous opera La Trovatiara. Some of the moves exhibited during the number such as a triple pirouettes into a forward lunges, and grand jetes across the floor were extraordinary, especially when they were being done in pointe shoes. The playful fighting in this number was one element that the Trocks performed really well, again drawing on those elements of humor to create a less serious mood to the dancing.

The show slowly concluded with a number of solos from many of the dancers as well, closing the show off on a bit more of a serious note and showcasing the dancers’ true dancing ability. I felt that this was a lovely touch at the end of a performance, especially when much of the show was based on purposeful errors and intentional fumbles. All in all, the show was fantastic, and the audience loved it, giving the cast a proper standing ovation at the end. The atmosphere of the Millennium Centre was perfect for the show and I would highly recommend that anyone go and see it.

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