'Not afraid to play to the house, they conspire with us to pay homage to tradition even while giving it a kick in the tutu.'

Gay NYC Dad – Joyce review +

Mitchell A. Chaitin, President & Editor-in-Chief / Gay NYC Dad - Dec 21, 2022

The “Trocks” take classical ballet and turn it on its ass! In the classical ballet you are familiar with, men never go on pointe. Here, the Trock men do, all the time. And just to be clear, as easy as they make it look, it is hard as heck, especially for the male body. In fact, many of the classical moves are performed by the Trock men, and they do it to perfection. FYI, that means these guys are working their tushies off all year long. Presenting this art to you, the audience, takes a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, captivating audiences since 1974, returns to The Joyce for another uproarious holiday program in its signature comic style. The beloved troupe of male dancers takes the stage for three weeks of nonstop skilled pointe work and hilarious parodying of classical ballet.

The show was fabulous beyond words. At the same time that these men are recreating some of the world’s most beautiful ballets, they are also adding humor and making fun of some of the components of said ballets. And they do so brilliantly.

 

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Woman Around Town – Playing Around +

Alix Cohen / Woman Around Town - Playing Around - Dec 23, 2022

The world’s foremost, all-male comic ballet company delighting the savvy and novices alike will be in residence at The Joyce Theater December 20 through January 8. Who are they, how did the company happen? Are gallons of borscht required for upkeep?

Rarely does anything as broad as slapstick make its way to the stage though the visibly molting Dying Swan (after being chased by an errant spotlight) comes subtly close. Territorial annoyance, embarrassment after a missed step, collision, or continuance after the corps has moved on is some of the tomfoolery woven into exacting choreography. Storytelling remains sacrosanct. What the Trocks do was thought impossible before them.

Five years after the Stonewall Riots and first gay pride parade, with the community demanding parity and visibility, Les Ballets Trockadero, the all male troupe performing en travesti and en pointe, appeared at a loft in the meatpacking district. Arlene Croce of The New Yorker wrote the company was “dead on target and hilarious…It’s so damned all-seeing that I don’t think anything in ballet can be safe from it for long.” By 1977, the company had been presented on Broadway and national television.

Classical companies today require not only training but certain aesthetics. Few dancers in companies like American Ballet Theatre and The New York Ballet change facial expression. The preposterous Trocks have no such limitations. In this troupe female characters often push the men around. (Dancers get to play both male and female roles.) Expectations are usurped.

 

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Dance review: Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo Festival Theatre, Edinburgh ★★★★ +

Kelly Apter / The Scotsman - Oct 25, 2022

There are some jokes that, even when you know the punchline, have the power to make you laugh every time. This is a feeling that fans of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo know well. If you’ve ever seen their homage to Act II of Swan Lake, you’ll anticipate all the “accidental” trips and falls, the stomps across the stage in pointe shoes and the raised fists. Yet, it’s still hilarious.

It’s been four years since the New York-based ballet company last visited Scotland and watching them feels like stretching out on a pool-side lounger. In the midst of political madness and financial doom and gloom, this group of talented male dancers offers unmitigated fun and relaxation. You don’t have to work hard at a “Trocks” gig, there’s no need to figure out hidden meanings or subtexts, you just sit back and let the gags, gaffes and gorgeous gowns wash over you.

 

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Theatre Review: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at the Theatre Royal +

Ian C Douglas / Left Lion - Oct 6, 2022

The dance routines are spot on, with the performers’ grace and athleticism a pleasure to watch.
Tonight’s performance includes scenes from the inevitable Swan Lake, the Vivaldi suite and Raymonda’s Wedding. Remember, not one word is spoken on stage. And yet the Trockaderos has the audience in stitches. Some theatregoers are almost rolling in the aisles, helpless with laughter. All done with an arch of the eyebrow, a roll of the eyes, a kick here, a face slap there. Imagine RuPaul’s Drag Race set to classical music and you’re almost there.

 

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The Times UK review — High spirits and pratfalls in gleeful ballet parody ★★★★☆ +

Debra Craine / The Times UK - Sep 8, 2022

Spirits are usually high at the beginning of a long tour. But as the Trocks (Les
Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo) opened their latest visit to the UK — two
months and 12 venues — spirits were off the chart. Perhaps it’s an after-effect of
the pandemic — now everyone just wants to have fun.
Fun was certainly on the agenda at the Peacock, where the enthusiasm of the
audience matched that of the men in the world’s foremost comedy ballet troupe as
they donned tutus, tiaras and toe shoes to deliver their distinctive take on ballet classics.
Channeling the glories and excesses of old Russian ballerinas, the Trocks
are as devoted to the choreography as they are to parodying it en travesti.

In the first of two programmes for London, the Trocks save the best for
last. Valpurgeyeva Noch (Walpurgisnacht), inspired by Leonid Lavrovsky’s 1941
production for the Bolshoi Ballet, harks back to the glory days of Soviet ballet at
its most camp. We are transported to ancient Greek myth to take part in a happy
sexual frolic with everyone, except for a pair of virginal nymphs, intoxicated on
wine and lust.

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Giggles and gasps of delight at the funnest show in town: Express UK +

Stefan Kyriazis, Express - Sep 13, 2022

Ballet is a grand and glorious thing – and often rather serious. Not so when the ‘Trocks’ are on
stage, the all-male company sassily spoofing classical and modern dance with impeccably
hilarious aplomb, and resplendent with wonderful drag names from Minnie Van Driver to the
Legupski brothers. The fun starts with their full drag bios in the particularly splendid
programme, revealing which dancer defected three times to the US (and was returned) and who
did not have the talent or intelligence to be good at dancing (and so was accepted immediately
into The Trocks), plus the dreaded uninvited guest artiste.

Guffaws rang out constantly during the recent London run at the Peacock Theatre as they slowly
and deliciously roasted Swan Lake throughout Act 1, sensationally led by Varvara Laptopova
(Takaomi Yoshino) reeling off stunning leaps and turns while mugging merrily to the crowd as
the Queen of the Swans.
Throughout, make sure you watch the faces as much as the footwork and fumbles and you’ll be
amply rewarded. A hilarious pas de trois rinses the time-old comedy of a tiny male dancer with
two towering ballerinas and the spoofed classic Dance of the Cygnets is so much fun you ache to
get up there and join in.

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Ballet fun with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – SeeingDance.com +

David Mead / seeingdance.com - Sep 8, 2022

The boys are back in town! Some of the jokes might be old and we might have seen them a dozen times, but their en travesti brand of ballet humour, poking affectionate, gentle fun at traditions and stereotypes, still makes for an amusing, enjoyable evening, here of works loosely linked by a theme of night-time.

I often think it’s way past time The Dying Swan was put out of its misery once and for all. It’s become a pastiche of itself. And then along comes Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter). As he bourrées beautifully, arms fluttering softly, feathers falling from his tutu as his stunning creature hangs on to the last drops of life, it manages to be simultaneously funny and very sad. No mean feat.

Ballet sometimes takes itself a touch too seriously. Puncturing that, pointing out its absurdities and its ridiculous side every now and again is no bad thing. The Trocks do a great job of doing just that while still showing a deep love for the art form, giving everyone a good time along the way.

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Belly laughs with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – Financial Times ★★★★☆ +

Louise Levene, Financial Times - Sep 8, 2022

Are we having fun yet? To judge from my inbox, half the shows in production are hoping to explore domestic violence, BLM, climate change and the cost of living crisis via the expressive medium of dance. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, who began their two-month UK tour with a two-week residency at the Peacock Theatre on Tuesday, have a far more serious, far more  challenging agenda: pleasure.

Both London programmes are a tried and tested mix of old favourites and novelties crafted with the Trocks’ unique blend of balletomania and belly laughs. The first mixed bill opens with Swan Lake act two led by Takaomi Yoshino in the guise of Varvara Laptopova (“awarded first prize at the Pan-Siberian Festival for artistic misinterpretation”) making her British debut.

Trocks ballerinas have consistently amazed audiences with the strength and quality of their pointework since their first teetering pas de bourrée off-off Broadway in 1974, but in the 35 years I have been watching them I’ve seldom seen an Odette as technically assured as the Vaganova-trained Yoshino: feathery beaten steps, freeze-frame balances and funny.

Robert Carter (aka Olga Supphozova) has been delivering the same jokes for 27 years but I still laugh out loud. His arthritic, applause-hungry Dying Swan was a triumph of physical comedy, his entire body seeming to change size and shape at will.

The Nureyev gala, only a few blocks away in Drury Lane, showcases the many aspects of male classical dancing — flashy, refined, introspective — and the preening powerplay between tights and tutu. The Trocks play exactly the same game — but they play it for laughs.

★★★★☆

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Superb Entertainment +

Joanna G. Harris / Bay Area Stringer - Feb 6, 2022

What a wonderful gift the “Trocks” brought to Berkeley this weekend. The company was able to dispel the “pandemic” gloom, brighten our evening, amaze and amuse us with their superb dancing and not-so-subtle satire.

It is not necessary but it adds to one’s amazement if, as a dance audience, you know or have seen the ‘classic’ ballet repertory; “Swan Lake”, “Divertissement“ by Chopin and any or all of the works by George Balanchine. (The Balanchine work is satirized particularly in ”Go for Barocco,” music by J.S.Bach). The “Trocks” know the movements and group patterns (over, under, around and through) and use the repertory of choreographic clichés to execute and satirize such classics.

The dance skill is superb. Satire happens when one can see what’s there … and then what comments on it.

The ultimate “take-off” on ballet is “The Dying Swan”, a solo made famous by the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Here, Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter) performs the drooping creature, feathers falling and feet failing … a complete foolery.
She (he) recovers to take many curtain calls. We all cheer.

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A perfeição pode ser uma comédia +

Catarina Ferreira - May 5, 2022

Les Trocks estiveram no Porto. Até domingo sobem ao palco do Teatro Tivoli.

Há cinco anos que Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo não subiam ao palco do Coliseu portuense. A companhia dirigida por Tory Dobrin foi formada em 1974 por um grupo de bailarinos nos resquícios dos tumultos de Stonewall, marco importante para o movimento LGBT nos EUA. Criando uma paródia travesti sobre os clássicos, começaram por ser parte dos renegados da Broadway.

Assim que o apresentador anuncia, em português, as primma ballerinas da noite e substituições como “a reumática Natasha Dóiaqui, agora parte do Ballet Imperial de São Pedro da Cova”, já a gargalhada é geral. O facto de usarem piadas locais nas digressões internacionais é demonstrativo do nível de cuidado e profissionalismo da companhia.

O elenco, exclusivamente masculino, é composto por bailarinos profissionais, antigas estrelas de companhias como o Atlantic City Ballet e Ballet de Lima. A permissa soa duvidosa quando o programa arranca com “Las sylphides”, obra-prima de Fokin, tal é a fisionomia e delicadeza gestual de alguns bailarinos. Respeitando os códigos baléticos e as notações coreográficas e cenográficas da obra original, vão cometendo erros quase todos relacionados com o uso do espaço, entre empurrões, ameaças e situações inusitadas. Ninguém espera uma bailarina ataviada num tutu romântico ameaçar outra de lhe dar dois sopapos.

 

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El ballet también puede hacer reír / Ballet can also make you laugh +

Carmen de la Figuera | Heraldo, Zaragoza,Spain - Apr 29, 2022

Personalmente, hacía muchos años que no veía sus creaciones y me preguntaba por cómo han evolucionado. Pues francamente bien. La primera parte comenzó con “Las Sílfides”, obra maestra de Fokin en la que, siguiendo la coreografía auténtica, van cometiendo equivocaciones y pequeños despistes que ya logran las primeras risas. Pero desarrollan la obra completa con los gags en su justa medida sin caer en lo reiterativo.

La segunda parte arranca con el paso a tres del “Lago de los cisnes”. Aquí juegan con divertidos contrastes como un bailarín muy pequeñito y unas bailarinas muy grandes. Es una caricatura de la obra de Petipa compuesta con tanto humor y gracia que entretiene sin malicia.

Pero ojo, todo esto sucede sin eliminar la técnica en puntas: equilibrios, pirouettes, fouttes, maneges… Por eso, como decía antes. Debería enfadarme como profesional por tanta juerga sobre el duro trabajo clásico? Pues no. Está hecho con buen gusto y,
como todo el mundo, la pasé muy bien.

Translation:
Personally, I haven’t seen his creations for many years and wondered how they have evolved. Well frankly fine. The first part began with “Las Sílfides”, Fokin’s masterpiece in which, following the authentic choreography, they make mistakes and small oversights that already achieve the first laughs. But they develop the complete work with the gags in their proper measure without falling into the repetitive.

The second part starts with the passage to three of “Swan Lake”. Here they play with fun contrasts like a very small dancer and some very large dancers. It is a caricature of Petipa’s work composed with such humor and grace that it entertains without malice.

But beware, all this happens without eliminating the pointe technique: balances, pirouettes, fouttes, maneges… That’s why, as I said before. Should I be angry as a professional for so much revelry about classic hard work? Well no. It is tastefully done and like everyone else I had a great time.

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Men On Pointe – The Trockadero’s Guide To Titters, Guffaws And Other Balletic Delights +

Chas Adams, PopLifeSTL.com - Apr 21, 2022

Let’s dispatch with the most obvious misconception one might have upon first encountering the
name Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, which bills itself as the “World’s Foremost All-
male Comic Ballet Company.” At first glance, this might seem like a novelty act, like the Harlem
Globetrotters in tutus, RuPaul’s Drag Race On Pointe or Dame Edna Everage Does A Derriére.
Or, in Chuckles the Clown parlance, “A Little Song. A Lot of Dance. Just a Spritz of Seltzer
Down Your…Tutu.”

But what the audience at the nearly full Touhill Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 16
discovered – if they didn’t already know – is that a “Trocks” performance is much more than a
drag ballet. So, let’s just call it what it truly was: a night of innovative, beguiling, impressive
ballet sprinkled liberally with spot-on comic moments that were way more Keaton and Chaplin
than Divine and Coccinelle.

And that may be one of the best things about the Trocks – the amount of sheer athleticism and
poise required of the male dancers to balance on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic
princesses and angst-ridden Victorian ladies. It reminds one of that old quote about Ginger
Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, except “backwards and in high heels.”

Here’s to hoping it won’t be another 48 years before they return. Start spreadin’ the news.

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