Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
'Pas de Trois des Odalisques,' 'Spring Waters,' 'Don Quixote,' 'The Dying
Swan,' 'Stars & Stripes Forever'
August 15, 2003 --
Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, New York
Seeing Les Ballets Trockadero
de Monte Carlo would be a treat on any given night. Friday night, however,
it was even more so. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center was overflowing with
unlucky New Yorkers who had not or could not escape the city during the
country’s largest blackout in history. In fact, in order to see the show,
many of the viewers no doubt had braved the packed city buses that were
New Yorkers’ only hope of transportation for the two days following the
blackout, in order to see the show. The Trocks rewarded our trip, entertaining
outside in the high humidity with a program filled with their standard
pieces and their stock jokes and gags.
The longest piece, "Les Sylphides," came first and was the one
that they packed with the most humor. There were the jumps that land too
hard, gum chewing in the corps, movements that are too angular or too
quick to be graceful, prima ballerinas who trip over corps members and
who lose their placing on stage. Corps member fussed with their skirts
and dancing ballerinas came out of a leap or a turn to find tulle in their
face. Pavel Tord (Bernd Burgmaier) was the only danseur on stage. Dressed
in a blonde wig and pale make up, he played his part as an emotionless,
aloof, rather dumb leading man. Even though the corps members followed
him lovingly with their eyes, his dim-witted nature frustrated his partners.
He wandered away from the position he was supposed to be in; he did not
anticipate his ballerinas’ moves and once got confused about which ballerina
he was supposed to partner. One of his final moves was to rip his partner’s
dress at the end of a final lift.
Judging from the laughter throughout the crowd, the audience loved "Les
Sylphides." Yet, I find that I like the Trocks best when they cut
down the slapstick humor and play it straight…so to speak. Their “Pas
de Trois des Odalisques” used three “female” stars, Lariska Dumbchenko
(Raffaele Morra), Colette Adae (Jason Hadley), and Olga Supphozova (Robert
Carter) to parody the queeny qualities that can be found in some ballerinas.
These three dancers pushed each other out of the spotlight – literally
by shoving and directing others off the stage and figuratively by trying
to out-dance each other. Yet in this execution of difficult work done
well, the Trocks make some of their boldest statements.
It’s fun to watch them satirize the stereotypes of the ballet world. However,
when these men begin executing skillful fouetté turns and arabesques,
then I think they begin to tackle the deep stereotypes about masculinity
and femininity that we face on a daily basis. When, for example, Sylphia
Belchick (Carolos Garcia) in “Spring Waters” shows off her quick lightness
and deep back arches, Fifi Barkova (Manolo Molina) displays a sultry femininity
in “Don Quixote,” and Olga Supphozova dances with fluidity in “Stars &
Stripes Forever,” the Trocks break our stereotypes of acceptable masculine
behavior, a stereotype that I think is still more explosive than the reverse
– when women show their masculine side.
These men are capable of holding down the leading lady’s role. They show
us just how graceful men can be. Let’s face it, some men were born to
be the prima ballerina.
Edited by Lori Ibay
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