Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo: Flocking to the Trocks

Dean Speer, Critical Dance
Posted on

Every now and then happy circumstance find their way onto my path and seeing Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo completely by happenstance this week was one of them. I was in Portland, minding my own business, walking to a private showing of the new gallery exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society’s great museum, when I noticed on the marquee on the backside of Portland’s historic and opulent Portland Theatre (rechristened the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall) that the infamous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was being advertised. Not being from the area, boy was I surprised and delighted.

Scooting in with a few minutes to spare, the program began with their company’s take on Fokine’s Chopiniana, followed by a parody of Merce Cunningham’s oeuvre and style, Patterns in Space, a superb work by founder Peter Anastos, Go For Barocco (which they certainly do), and concluding with one of my favorites, Paquita.

It’s been a few years since I’ve enjoyed this company and, as the saying goes, if you want to see some really good dancing, go see The Trocks, comedy and all. Even with the spoofery, the dancing remained superb and was often spot-on, both in terms of technique and style. Perhaps without realizing it, they’ve created something quite extraordinary — not just well-trained male dancers doing both and male and female parts of ballets but when the males do the female parts, they inject such a level of strength and degree of attack and control that may well be out of the reach of the female set. I mean no female (and I’ve seen quite a few wonderful ones) has ever gotten the elevation and ballon to the jumps and beats as these do; sometimes entrechats such as entrechats quatre and six are done with exaggerated openings of the legs to a la seconde as to be virtuostic. And not just big jumps but big arabesques, a few going into a complete vertical split on arabesque penché. Then there are the fearless multiple revolutions to pirouettes, 32 fouettés, more turns, more jumps — sometimes finishing having done the original choreography straight but adding double tours en l’air. Wowza!

Read more