Monday, 4 February 2013

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo - review

Written by: Lilian Tsang (@Lilian_Tsang)

Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham

The Company of Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, also known as ‘The Trocks’, is a rare breed. As those who know a little about ballet can tell you, traditional male ballet dancers never go en pointe (which means dancing on the tips of the toes) because it’s meant to be the female dancers’ domain. However, the all-male ensemble of the Trocks rebels against this tradition. The dancers played both male and female characters in five extracts from well-known ballets, including Les Sylphides, Swan Lake and Walpurghis Night. In a show that lasted approximately seventy-five minutes, these sixteen remarkably strong men danced en pointe most of the time, which is a great feat in itself.

What also makes the company unusual is their comedic approach towards ballet. Perhaps only in a ballet performed by The Trocks will you ever see dancers trip and fall over one another, pirouette out of control and fall off stage or kick someone in the face, all on purpose. It is the extraordinary comic timing and knockabout humour of their performance that drove the audience into fits of uproarious laughter. For those of you who consider ballet boring and all seriousness, The Trocks will change your mind and redeem any negative experiences you had from watching ballet.

It is also important to remember, however, that The Trocks is not just a group of male dancers messing around or mocking ballet either. Under those glamourous tutus and heavily made-up faces batting their false eyelashes at the audience, there is no doubt that these men are in fact extremely talented dancers. The ensemble members took turns to play some of the most technically challenging roles in ballet history and they all displayed strength, grace and poise in their movement. Paul Ghiselin as Ida Nevasayneva stole the show and sent the audience into rapturous rounds of applause with his dying swan act as he danced and moulted on stage. Chase Johnsey as Yakatarina Verbosovich wowed the audience with his fierce and invincible portrayal of the Black Swan, Odile.

They are not trying to completely disguise the masculine features of the dancers; the male dance troupe offers an unconventional approach to the ballet art form and by doing so, the company successfully broadens the appeal of ballet, entertaining experts as well as novices in the audience. The Trocks has been producing breathtaking ballets that are knee-slapping worthy for almost forty years now and as the audience, we can only hope they continue to do so in many more years to come.

This production is on tour until 27 February 2013.
For more information:
@TrocksB @BrumHippodrome 

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