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 Post subject: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:23 am 
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Mixed programme - Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham, UK; November 5, 2008.


Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has been with us for 34 years, and it says a great deal about them and, and probably about us too, that they still make us laugh and smile. That was certainly true in Birmingham, where the audience simply lapped up their jokes and not always so subtle mockery of classical ballet.

The starting point for their humour is, of course, men dancing en travesti. Of course, this was once the norm; dancing on stage was quite simply something no respectable woman would do. And it’s hardly uncommon in British ballet or theatre today either. Think of Ashton and pantomime for starters. Like these, the Trocks are far more than men in drag

In Birmingham the company presented a ‘classic’ programme, opening with their signature work, Act II from “Swan Lake”. The tone of the evening is set immediately. Enter Lariska Dumbchenko (Rafaelle Morra) as Odette, as perfectly white as a swan should be. Then you spot the hairy chest peeking out from under ‘her’ tutu, and she gives us a look that says this is not a good night and heaven help any man who gets in her way. That man turns out to be Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow (Joshua Grant). If ever a name summed up a character, this is it, as he turns out to be a complete parody of the Russian danseur and as full of self-importance as is possible.

The slapstick comedy and visual gags come thick and fast. Odette is all fluttering eyelashes one minute but then looks like she could kill her partner the next. And when the carrot-haired Rothbart gets in her way, a few well-aimed kicks soon sorts him out. Swans get things wrong and fall over. They stand in the wrong place only to be yanked unceremoniously back into line. The cygnets start perfectly, but soon let the occasion get the better of them as the dance descends into something resembling a Parisian can-can.

“Swan Lake” was, if anything, a little over the top. But it did get the audience in the mood for what was to follow. As with all the Trocks programmes, while the humour is never far away, this one a little more serious as the evening proceeds. Svetlana Lofatkina (Fernando Medina Gallego) and William Vanilla (Joseph Jefferies) in the “Don Quixote” pas de deux gave us a perfect mix of Latin attitude and Russian style. The humour returned in “Le Grand Pas de Quatre”, Eugenia Repelskii (Camilo Rodriquez) as Marie Taglioni making sure we, and the other dancers, didn’t forget who was the star here.

Joshua Grant returned as the “Dying Swan”, moulting at such speed it looked like he (should that be she?) would soon be ready for the oven. Even the audience played its part. A little wave just before he died brought the obligatory ‘aaahhhh’ right on cue.

It is all very funny, even when you can see the joke coming a mile off, but these guys can dance can dance too. The humour comes in partnership with some seriously good technique - in both male and female roles. This really showed in the finale, “Paquita”. The dancers may not have the same extension or flexibility, but they can jump and turn on pointe just as well as any woman. Long-time company member Robert Carter’s series of fouettés were notably outstanding.

To dance deliberately badly or with such humour, you have to be able to dance pretty well. While each of the Trocks brings their own speciality to the party, they can dance. That is why they remain so popular. It is not only about men dressing as women and dancing women’s roles, they poke just as much fun at the men, but it is equally about dancing.

They do expose the pretentiousness of classical ballet, with the starchiness of the classical Russian style a particular target. But as Kenny Everett would say, “it’s all done in the best possible taste.” It is hilarious but the humour is affectionate and there is clearly a respect and a reverence for classical dance. In a sense they show us what ballerinas really are. They are not soft and dainty, but tough characters. The Trocks probably show us what Odette or whoever is really feeling behind that ballet smile.

If you saw the company regularly, I suspect the jokes would wear a bit thin. But they are great to come back to from time to time. The Birmingham audience certainly loved every minute. There are in-jokes that only balletomanes will get. But the great thing about the Trocks is that you can enjoy them on so many levels. In many ways it is old fashioned humour, but it is all done so brilliantly you just have to surrender to it.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo return to the UK in February and March 2009, presenting this programme in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Newcastle, Milton Keynes, Salford, Woking and High Wycombe. See http://www.worldwidedanceuk.com for dates.


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 Post subject: Re: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:27 pm 
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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo will be in London at Sadler's Wells with two different programmes, September 14-25, 2010. A short preview in The Guardian.

The Guardian


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 Post subject: Re: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:50 pm 
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Ismene Brown has an extensive interview with dancer Fernando Medina-Gallego in The Arts Desk.

The Arts Desk


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 Post subject: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo: London 2010
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:29 am 
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ChopEniana, Patterns in Space, Grand Pas Classique, La Vivandière Pas de Six, Dying Swan, Raymonda’s Wedding
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Peacock Theatre, London; September 15, 2010


by David Mead

We are lucky, the announcer tells us, because this evening the ballerinas are all in “very, very good moods!” It’s perhaps just as well, as I’m not sure what might happen to their male partners or fellow corps members if they were anything else.

You know what you are going to get with the Trocks. Regular return visits have meant that their style of ballet parody, delivered with chest hair more frequently than not peeking from beneath their bodices, is familiar to all. It is wonderfully absurd, for the ballet aficionado and the first-timer. There is all the expected fun, all perfectly timed: the trips and falls, dancers out of time or out of line, the lifts that end in disaster. But the Trocks are far from men pretending to dance badly. The looks and glances are as important as the slapstick. The secret to their success though, and what stops it all from wearing thin, is the detail and the fact everything is delivered with great love and affection, and more often than not great subtlety. These guys have a great depth of knowledge and respect for the art form and its heritage, and it shows. And if anyone was wondering, many of the goings on have more than a grain of truth in them.

The Trocks’ take on “Les Sylphides”, “ChopEniana” got proceedings off on just the right note. The gormless Andrei Verikose (Brock Heyhoe) turned dreamy romanticism into hypnotised trance, forever gazing blankly into the distance as he drifted through his steps, losing his increasingly frustrated ballerina at every turn. The corps meanwhile confused themselves and everyone else as they tried to follow the dance’s patterns in between drifting off to sleep in the quieter passages.

The meat in the three-part programme turned out to contain all the tastiest bites. Described grandly in the programme as a “postmodern dance movement essay”, “Patterns in Space” is a wonderfully observed parody of Merce Cunningham’s work. Maria Paranova (Or Sagi), Alla Snizova (Aviad Herman) and Verikose, all serious and straight-faced, tilted and curved their way around the stage in scarily accurate Cunningham mode. It was overbearing musicians R.M. “Prince” Myshkin (Fernando Medina Gallego) and Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) who constantly took the eye though as they ‘played’ paper bags, bubble-wrap, pill bottles and an electric razor; mood, clucked and bleated; and gargled water, all with deadpan solemnity.

Some in the audience got something of a surprise with Gsovsky’s “Grand Pas Classique”. Yakaterina Verbosovich (Chase Johnsey) and Dimitri Legupski (Claude Gamba) put the humour to one side. By doing so showed everyone just how technically accomplished they are. These guys are not all mascara and make-up. They really can dance rather well.

The laughs were back in the pas de six from “La Vivandière” in which Katerina Bychkova (Josh Grant), one of the tallest and stockiest dancers in the company, found herself (himself) partnered by Ketevan Iosifidi (Long Zou), one of the smallest. Grant grinned and radiated happiness and utter delight at being on stage throughout. Zou, who struggled to come up to his partner’s chest, might have had other things on his mind, not least desperately avoiding receiving a blow to the head every time she raised her leg.

After the perennial favourite “Dying Swan” in which Ida Neversayneva’s (Paul Ghiselin) staggered towards her denouement like a moulting old hen leaving a trail of feathers behind her, the company sent everyone happily on their way with a wildly over the top version of “Raymonda’s Wedding”.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo continue at the Peacock Theatre (with a second programme) to September 25. They return to the UK in March and April 2011 touring to Glasgow, Wimbledon, Brighton, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Birmingham, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh and Salford. See http://www.danceconsortium.com for details.


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 Post subject: Re: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Clement Crisp reviews the first programme in the Financial Times.

Financial Times


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 Post subject: Re: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:25 am 
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Location: Rugby, UK / Taipei
Swan Lake Act II, Grand Pas Classique, Harlequinade pas d'action, Le Corsaire pas de deux, Dying Swan, Walpurgisnacht
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Peacock Theatre, London; September 15, 2010


by David Mead

Programme two opened with another Trocks classic, Act II from Swan Lake. Now most ballet princes are pretty dim-witted beings. After all, anyone who falls for a swan or has to ask repeatedly what to do when he finds a princess asleep in the forest clearly has something missing up top. But Josh Grant as Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow takes dim-wittedness to a totally new level. Even Odette, danced by the ever-impressive Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter) raises her eyebrows and starts to beat her fists in frustration when he fails to understand the simplest of ballet mime. The couple were superbly aided and abetted by Pepe Dufka (Rafaelle Morra) whose depressed, put upon Benno was even thicker than his boss.

The central part of the evening again showed us all how good these guys technique is. Johnsey and Gamba again took the honours in the Gsovsky pas de deux. How does Johnsey pass so convincingly for a woman? But they were more than ably supported by Nina Enimenimynimova (Long Zou) and Mikhail Mypansarov (Emanuel Abruzzo) in the pas de deux from “Le Corsaire.’’ Abruzzo gave all the over the top virility we have come to expect from anyone in this role and did well to squeeze in all his jumps on the Peacock’s relatively small stage. Zou’s turns and characterisation were a delight. He looks to be a fantastic addition to the company.

And so finally to “Valpurgeyeva Noch” (that’s “Walpurgisnacht” to you and me), the Trock’s send up of Lavrovsky’s already camp and popular romp made for the Bolshoi. It’s a crazy celebration by assorted Greek gods, goddesses, nymphs and fauns, lascivious sexual desire and abandon that characterised the original. Everyone was a star, but the brightest was again the petite Enimenimynimova (Zou).


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 Post subject: Re: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:15 pm 
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In The Guardian, Judith Mackrell reviews the second London program, Petipa's "Les Millions d'Arlequin" and Lavrovsky's "Valpurgeyeva Noch."

The Guardian


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 Post subject: Re: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:11 pm 
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Louise Levene reviews the Tuesday, February 5, 2013 performance in Salford for the Telegraph.

Telegraph


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 Post subject: Re: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:27 pm 
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Ismene Brown interviews Tory Dobrin for the Arts Desk.

Arts Desk


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