Swan Lake, Act II. Video courtesy: LBT
Calling all ballet fans: The TROCKS. ARE. HERE!
If you’re not familiar, the Trocks— or Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo— is an all-male professional dance company that performs all-genders and all-roles in a whole range both classical ballets and original works. Through their hilarious and skillful interpretations, they portray “faithful renditions of the manners and conceits” of the styles and pieces they choose. They are, in a word: amazing.
The Trocks, who open a three-week sit-down run at New York City’s Joyce Theatre Tuesday night, are, however, much more than just a drag or comedy show. The company, made up of incredible, classically trained, and remarkably skilled dancers use their technical prowess and the art of parody to find the funny.
“The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents, and underlying incongruities of serious dance,” the Trocks say. “The fact that men dance all the parts— heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, 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 novices, in the audiences.”
Stemming from a root in New York City’s 1970’s post-Stonewall off-off-Broadway scene, the Trocks began as a group of all-male “ballet enthusiasts” who aimed to perform and parody classic ballet. After garnering an enthusiastic and “major critical essay” by Arlene Croce in The New Yorker in 1974, the company began to find a wider audience. Commentaries and features by The New York Times and The Village Voice grew the group’s popularity in the States, but it was the write-ups in publications like Variety, Oui, The London Daily Telegraph, and a photo essay in Vogue by Richard Alvedon that launched the company to international recognition.
"Swan Lake". Photo credit: Zoran Jelenic
Les Trockadero, which has now performed in over 600 cities in 40 countries, casts dancers who are more than just highly trained and exceptionally talented— they must also create and portray multi-level characters throughout their performances.
"You'll see that everyone has a ballerina name and a male dancer name,” Artistic Director Tory Dobrin said in an interview last year. “There are really only 16 dancers in the company. You'll also see that we have dancers from all over the world and with various lengths in the company.”
Each night of the company’s nearly month-long run at The Joyce in Chelsea will present audiences with an option of one of two programs, and, depending on the night of their attendance, the two offer distinct differences.
Program A, consists of the wonderful interpretation of Swan Lake’s Act II, and Petipa’s The Little Humpbacked Horse.
Program B is a Robert LaFosse interpretation of the Balanchine’s Stars And Stripes Forever, featuring the brimming and distinguished marches of John Phillip Sousa.
"Stars And Stripes Forever". Photo credit: Zoran Jelenic
After the New York City run concludes, the Trocks are off on a 21-city US tour, followed by international stops in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Japan, and Finland.
The Trocks were the subject of the 2017 documentary Rebels On Pointe which celebrated the company and provided viewers, “behind-the-scenes access” to the “intimate, character-driven stories of its dancers.”
The company has and continues to perform for many worldwide AIDS organizations, including Dancers Responding To AIDS. Offering special benefit concerts around the world for a wide list of causes, the Trocks seem to stand firmly in their laurels to support those in need. They’ve also performed in an Emmy® Award-winning television special, amassed a multitude of international awards and recognition, and have even performed for the British Royal family.
Michael Mahany serves as the New York City Correspondent for Dance Network. He is also a professional actor, musician, dancer, and writer. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, or click here to find out more.
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