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Watched the DVD of the Trocks - Was APPALLED


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#1 Solor

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 04:24 PM

I borrowed a friends DVD of the Trocks. He had the 2 DVDs that they have released so far.

I could not believe it. I was really offended and appalled by what I saw. It had nothing to do with the fact that they were men dressed as ballerinas and performing ballerina steps, which I think is pretty cool. Had thier performance been in seriousness, I would have had a far different reaction. But my problem with the companies performance had to do with the fact that they turned thier performances of some of the classics, into a 'Make-fun-a-thon'. Sure, I got a giggle out of thier "Swan Lake" act II - but gimme a break, It was just bad.

I know that they recently acquired the Underwater scene from "The Little Humpbacked Horse", and that they perform such works as "Harlequinade" and others of the Petipa tradition. I find it so awful that they are the only company in the USA that probably dances such rare gems and all they can do is parody it.

#2 Hans

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 05:16 PM

Solor, the entire point of the Trocks is to parody classical ballet; besides, when I saw them do the Underwater Scene from LHH live, they danced it "straight." For humorless male pointework, you may wish to see the Male Ballet of St. Petersburg.

#3 chauffeur

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 08:10 AM

You either love the Trocks or you hate 'em. and I love, love, love them!

#4 redbookish

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 09:29 AM

I was supervising a PhD student in a dance history/theory thesis and she wrote about the Trocks really interestingly as preserving a version of ballet history through their work - she read through the parody to see what they identified as the quintessential qualities of the pieces they do and the styles they work in. Danced history ...

#5 richard53dog

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 11:45 AM

I borrowed a friends DVD of the Trocks. He had the 2 DVDs that they have released so far.

I could not believe it. I was really offended and appalled by what I saw. It had nothing to do with the fact that they were men dressed as ballerinas and performing ballerina steps, which I think is pretty cool. Had thier performance been in seriousness, I would have had a far different reaction. But my problem with the companies performance had to do with the fact that they turned thier performances of some of the classics, into a 'Make-fun-a-thon'. Sure, I got a giggle out of thier "Swan Lake" act II - but gimme a break, It was just bad.

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As Hans had pointed out, the intent is just parody, and it may just be beyond the bounds of your taste. I could see how it easily could be for some.

There is (or was) an operatic equivalent, La Gran Scena, again all men singing as sopranos and mezzos. They may have been disbanded at this point. Ira Siff lead it. They made at least one video, but like the Trocks it may be out of range for some folk.

I had a favorite scene on the video, one old diva with a cane keeps banging the cane on the floor until the pianish transposes her aria downward.

Richard

#6 bart

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 12:57 PM

Something the Gran Scena and the Trocks share: they're very, very good at what they do. And they understand the arts they parody.

The performances of both companies are grounded in strong technique as well as a sophisticated, even scholarly appreciation of their respective arts. The satire comes from a wicked awareness of the varieties of affectation, exaggeration, pomposity, foolishness and wild wrong-headedness that even the best artists can develop along the way. If you can follow them to that point, they are enormously funny.

Ira Siff, aka Gran Scena's gran diva Madame Vera Galupe-Borszkh, writes for Opera News, most recently an article on Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge in the October 2005 issue. His bio there describes him as a "New York-based voice and interpretation teacher and stage director." I remember him as a demented reincarnation of Maria Callas and others.

#7 Solor

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 04:13 PM

Solor, the entire point of the Trocks is to parody classical ballet; besides, when I saw them do the Underwater Scene from LHH live, they danced it "straight."  For humorless male pointework, you may wish to see the Male Ballet of St. Petersburg.

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I would indeed!

I find it rather refreshing that the Trocks perfomed the LHH scene in a serious way, as I feel it should be.

Im not a conservative or conventional person by any means, but when it comes to classical ballet I get real testy, and I am very conservative. I even had serious issues with the all male "Swan Lake"

#8 kfw

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 04:38 PM

Im not a conservative or conventional person by any means, but when it comes to classical ballet I get real testy, and I am very conservative. I even had serious issues with the all male "Swan Lake"

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Solor, I understand your urge to defend the tradition, and I've never seen the Trocks, but from what I've read about them I gather that what drives them to spoof the tradition is their love for it. It's a family thing, an expression of love -- don't we all we tease the ones we love precisely because we love them? In the Trocks' case, the fact that they're males imitating women must add an extra layer of irony and bemusement ('are we beautiful like the ones we love? -- no we're ridiculous, and we know it'). Sharing their love and catching their self-deprecating irony (and their jokes), their audience loves them too.

If I'm mistaken, I welcome correction for Trock's fans. :)

#9 chauffeur

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 06:11 AM

I think part of the fun with watching the Trocks is that their humor yields great rewards, the more you know about ballet. On the surface, it's going to be funny, but the more you know about what they're parodying (sp?), the funnier it gets. It's the same way with PDQ Bach (Peter Schiekele) who parodies classical music. The a-ha! moment of getting a PDQ or Trock joke simply because you understand the history or serious theory underlying it is wonderful. But again, it is all a matter of personal taste.

#10 Helene

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 09:28 AM

I think part of the fun with watching the Trocks is that their humor yields great rewards, the more you know about ballet.  On the surface, it's going to be funny, but the more you know about what they're parodying (sp?), the funnier it gets.  It's the same way with PDQ Bach (Peter Schiekele) who parodies classical music.  The a-ha! moment of getting a PDQ or Trock joke simply because you understand the history or serious theory underlying it is wonderful.  But again, it is all a matter of personal taste.

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When I first read this thread, I thought of The Bluffer's Guide to Classical Music, The Bluffer's Guide to Opera, and Anna Russell's Ring. There again, the more you know about the subject, the funnier the points in the guides, while to people new to the art forms got a funny way to approach the subjects.

Solor, one of the issues you may have with the Trocks is that you see a lot of great ballet by great dancers on video. Compared to that, the Trocks may seem insulting. For those of us who are lucky to have seen a lot of live ballet over decades, some of it can get woefully close to the Trocks, but without the satire or self-awareness. That said, I only like the Trocks in small doses.

#11 bart

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 09:46 AM

For those of us who are lucky to have seen a lot of live ballet over decades, some of it can get woefully close to the Trocks, but without the satire or self-awareness.

Yes! And -- sometimes -- without the actual technical skills of the lead Trock dancers, especially epaulement.

That said, I only like the Trocks in small doses.

Maybe that's why the tour all the time. They appear in my city once every two years, which is fine by me. When I lived in New York, PDQ Bach was also an every-other-year event. With Anna Russell and Gran Scena, however, I seemed to require an annual fix.

#12 mohnurka

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 12:06 PM

I think part of the fun with watching the Trocks is that their humor yields great rewards, the more you know about ballet.  On the surface, it's going to be funny, but the more you know about what they're parodying (sp?), the funnier it gets. 

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Yes!

And a key thing about the Trocks is that their parodies are intelligent. Had they been just "making faces" it would have been totally stupid. But they love 'true' ballet, understand it, and just highlight some of its more entertaining moments.

In my opinion, Swan Lake was one of their less interesting parodies -- it has good parts, but some of it is a bit harsh, which I find unnecessary.


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