‘Swan Lake’: Variations on a theme

Ruth Beloff, The Jerusalem Post Review
Posted on

BALLET TROCKADERO’S ‘Swan Lake’ 370. (photo credit:Courtesy PR)

The all-male dance company of ‘Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo’ perform their own scenes from ‘Swan Lake,’ ‘Le Grand Pas de Quatre’ and ‘Raymonda’s Wedding.’

In a performance that had the audience rolling in the aisles, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo camped it up as the all-male dance company regaled the packed house at the Jerusalem Theater last week with side-splitting antics and perfectly poised pirouettes and pas de deux.

In existence since 1975, the New York-based company combines classical ballet with hilarious send-ups to create a thoroughly entertaining presentation. They are to ballet what the Harlem Globetrotters are to basketball – experts at their craft but having a lark at the same time.

The names devised for the dancers are a good indicator of what these guys are up to. I had seen the Trocks (as they are affectionately called) decades ago in Montreal, and I will always remember the name Natasha Youbetyourbootskaya.

In last week’s performance, the corps de ballet included such mocked-up monikers as Natalie Kleptopovska, Maria Paranova, Minnie van Driver, Olga Supphozova, Sonia Leftova, Nadia Doumiyafeyva, Stanislas Kokitch and Mikhail Mypansarov.

Clad in tutus and pointe shoes, as well as beautifully styled hair and makeup, the exquisitely toned members of the ensemble jetéd and fouettéd across the stage in their own versions of scenes from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Pugni’s Le Grand Pas de Quatre and Glazunov’s Raymonda’s Wedding.

For example, in the Dying Swan scene from Swan Lake, Odette, the queen of the swans, fluttered onto the stage, with a flurry of feathers falling fast and furious. After some very well-executed artistry performed to Tchaikovsky’s heart-rending music, interspersed with comic gestures and moves, such as trying to scoop some of the feathers back on, Odette ultimately withered to the floor, flailing in a heap of white fluff.

As the program literature explains, “The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts – heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, angst-ridden Victorian ladies – enhances rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form.”

Whether they were deftly playing it straight, so to speak, or tripping over each other and making faces, what came across very clearly was that the dancers were having such a good time.

In sequined tutus, white gossamer dresses and frilly pink gowns, they danced with a sense of joy and total abandon that was a delight to see.

After a point, it didn’t matter whether they were men or women or men dressed as women because the sheer power of their performance took center stage.

For their grand finale, the Trocks did an energetic hora to “Hava Nagila” that had the Jerusalem audience on their feet and cheering.

The Jerusalem Post Review