Old Faithful

George Jackson, Dancingview Times
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Swan Lake, Act 2″, “Le Corsaire, Pas de Deux”, “Go for Barocco”, “The Dying Swan”, “Paquita”
Eisenhower Theater, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC 

Is any other dance company as reliable as the Trocks? Go to a performance with a grouchy date and within minutes after the curtain rises there will be a smile on your companion’s face. Even prior to the first interval, no matter how much you both are balletomanes, a truth you had forgotten will illuminate again the art we all treasure. Has your favorite at the Maryinsky fallen into disfavor with  the management  and been excluded from this year’s tour or is that Bolshoi dynamo you’d been dying to see currently fatigued? At the Trocks there’s no such thing as undercasting. This company has an inexhaustible supply of singular talent. The only thing worrying me about the future of this great travesty company is up-to-date repertory because today’s “in” choreographers all indulge in self satire. Taking their choreography a step further to satirize satire may be an insurmountable hurdle.

The most contemporary piece on the Trock’s Washington program refers to the last century’s George Balanchine. “Go for Barocco” (by Peter Anastos) holds a funhouse mirror up to the 20th Century master’s “Apollo”, “Serenade” and, of course, “Concerto Barocco”. From the turn of the 19th to the 20th Century, the Mikhail Fokine / Anna Pavlova “Dying Swan” recalls not only eternal farewell tours but, more subtlely, early movies. The 19th Century improper was approached by the broader farce of “Swan Lake” and the tongue-in-cheek “Corsaire” duo and “Paquita” divertissement. Especially one of the “Paquita” soloists could have danced his part as an ABT girl and who in the audience would have known?

While I can’t imagine anyone bettering Paul Taylor’s, Mark Morris’s, Twyla Tharp’s, Alexi Ratmansky’s or Christopher Wheeldon’s jabs at themselves, I await the choreographers who will dare. Meanwhile it is smiles, reminders, and insight into the nature of disguise that will have to suffice when we watch Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.