The New York-based, all-male Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's comedy doesn't stop with the gimmick of ballet-in-drag. Nor does it rely solely on the novelty of heavy things trying to be light or the inherent humor of classical ballet's unnatural manners.
Using thorough research, artistic director Tory Dobrin and dancers leap inside the form's history, from Imperial Russia to the Soviet Union and beyond, illuminating jewels of cultural details.
"We've gone deep into the libraries of Russian classical ballet," says dancer and ballet master Paul Ghiselin (who plays both the ballerina Ida Nevasayneva and danseur Velour Pilleaux). "We've brought pieces on stage that others companies won't dance anymore."
presence while staying faithful to the thin storylines characteristic of
most classical ballets. They play with backstage dramas, including an
historic four-way rivalry among the prima ballerinas of the original
"Pas de Quatre." An audience
member need not be well-versed in the ballet canon--or even familiar
with it--to get the jokes, though.
In order to pull off the humor,
the professional dancers comprising the Trocks must maintain excellent
ballet technique as well as expert comic timing. With coaching help from
ballet mistresses including prima ballerina Iliana Lopez, the company's
pointe work stays in tip-top shape. Lopez joined the team in 2005 while
she was still working with Miami City Ballet, then as a ballet
mistress. Ghiselin describes the Trocks' pairing with Lopez as "a
perfect relationship right from the beginning."
The company formed in
1974 and was soon after reviewed in the New Yorker by the esteemed
critic Arlene Croce, who praised its artistic integrity and warned,
"It's so damned all-seeing that I don't think anything in ballet can be
safe from it for long." Her prophecy has been fulfilled: The Trocks now
take on the work of 20th-century ballet giants George Balanchine and
Jerome Robbins as well as modern dance icons Isadora Duncan, Martha
Graham, Merce Cunningham, and Pina Bausch. Tonight, catch the their take on
Cunningham's "Patterns in Space" alongside four tutu classics during
their one-night Miami engagement.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte
Carlo performs tonight at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Miami Beach (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets cost
$23 to $73. Call 800-745-3000 or visit livenation.com.
--Emily Hite, artburstmiami.com