Maria Sidelnikova, Kommersant, Moscow
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Translated by Ismene Brown

Despite their repeating the same programme year on year, demand for the male ballerinas of the Ballet Trockaderos isn’t falling off.

Of this MARIA SIDELNIKOVA is convinced:

“All our ballerinas are in a very good mood” – a voice with a French-Georgian accent announces before the start of the show. The Trocks are in Moscow not for the first time. More than that, the list of world stages they have subjugated includes the Bolshoi Theatre itself – four years ago in the Grand Pas Festival – even the most conservative balletomanes roared with laughter at their travesty Paquita and swans. It was at the start of the 70s in a garret in New York that the first “Trocks’ stuffed their size 45 feet painfully into ballerina’s pointes, and put together their cheering travesties under the patronage of the leading New York gay Charles Ludlum and his Absurd Theatre Company (literal translation). Having unravelled through America the gay movement called on them then to scramble out from the garret, while the history of ballet presented abundant material for parody and fun.

Each Trock has two stage personages – male and female. But the “men” have here unresonant names like Mikhail Mypansarov (No-trousers), and they perform only the service of lifting. On the other hand for the “ballerinas” they’ve invented not just amazing appearances and riveting biographies, but refined names, in which you can discern the primas of many tastes, from Margo Mundeyn to Svetlana Lofatkina.

The programme was in three acts. They started with the “white” act from ‘Swan Lake’, without which not a single Trock performance can go on. Odette, a beauty with frizzy black chest-hair, coquettishly grabbed the frolicsome hands of her blond Siegfried, every now and then sliding from her waist to her thigh ….

The second act opened with Corsaire and Don Q pas de deux. Here the Trocks demonstrated not only their acting talent but some unimpeachable ballet technique.  The unrestrained Medora turned tours a la seconde in a furious spin and dealt out eight highly complicated Italian fouettes (true, for the last two the supporting? leg was shaking uncertainly). While a passionate Kitri brushed off 32 fouettes, following singles with doubles, and managed during this to check her hairdo [I think] and play with her fan.

The Balanchine parody ‘Vivaldi Suite’, caused helpless laughter in the hall, with the gigantic, lyrical Katarina Bychkova (Joshua Grant) in the leading role. A beanpole two metres tall, in a minuscule skirt, “she” was cast with a diminutive blond man, who scarcely reached “her” chest. The boy got tangled under Bychkova’s legs (did Mr Grant have Volochkova in mind?), and in vain tried to perform his male obligations….

Finally, the Trocks put on a mass ‘Paquita’, where they set off an entire comic arsenal: they fired volleys of fluttering eyelashes at the public, smiling with all 32 teeth on display, skittishly twitched their shoulders…. Under the last applause, the troupe burst into Irish tapdance, now familiar thanks to the tour of Riverdance …

With regular appearances, a Moscow audience has got the hang of the Trockaderos, and you don’t need to be a prophet to predict that after a year or two Margot, Sveltlana and Katarina will be back with the same swans, Paquita and Kitri. Alas, an ideally set-up Trockadero mechanism is working without a break on new productions.