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Les Trocks in MiamiIvanov, Petipa, Cunningham, Fokine, Dolin


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:37 PM

Tonight I went to see the Trocks, and before starting writing about it, I must say that I decided to make my way not without a bit of apprehension. The thing is…that this is my second experience with this company, and the first time- (back I think in 2001, me having just landed in US)-all I knew was that I was going to see a Ballet company that bore the name of Monte Carlo- (never had heard of them before…). Full of hope, I sat in the theater WITHOUT A PROGRAM OR A CLUE of what was in store for me…and finally, when I realized- (which didn’t happen right away, I must say)-well...…I felt fooled and I ended up upset at what I considered back then an offense to the art. So now, ten years later and with a lighter vision of things- (“never take stuff to serious”, an American mantra that I’m still learning about)-there I was, reading the programme and laughing my heart out with the dancers biographies.
I won’t hide any longer the ABSOLUTE delight I took watching this wonderful company of TRUE ballet professionals. I have many thoughts about it, and I will try to voice them all here, but the one thing that immediately got in my mind was an old post I read in this board- (have to locate it later)-about someone talking on the similarities he/she had found between The Trocks and the Cuban National Ballet style/dancing/projection during a recently seen performance of Giselle in New York. Back then I took offense on this, but now I declare this to be TRUE! The Trocks brought something to the stage that I hadn’t seen ever since I left Cuba. Their performance was full of passion- (augmented and satirized, or course). Their ballerinas are extravagant, with plenty of mannerisms, not afraid of showing off and very ready to dazzle with all sorts of tricks and exaggerated stage presence…just as those of Alonso’s company. The way they wore their hair and their almost expressionist make up with dark red lips and HUGE false eyelashes was just as what I remember from the ballerinas of my old Havana days. Also, I found a striking similarity with the body types of them both. As you have seen, all those Cuban ballerinas from back in the days that I have posted all those clips here are just as thick and rounded as the Trocks. I don’t take this as a bad thing. I’ve ALWAYS loved rounded, healthy figured ballerinas.
And then there was the performance. The program was excellent, and consisted of:

1-Le Lac des Cygnes-(Act II).Ivanov/Tchaikovsky

They did the old fashion Pas de Deux-a-Trois. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it performed this way before. The original choreography- (just as with every one of those presented)-was completely respected. One of the things I kept thinking while watching was: “Great...…Miami is watching the real deal”. Odette’s solo was beautiful. I noticed that in many segments they decided to show just minimal bits of parody...…probably like a 5%, and…just enough to get some laughing here and there, but the other 95% was the real stuff.

CAST:

Odette: Olga Supphozova- (Robert Carter)
Sigfried: Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow-(Joshua Grant)

Benno- Boris Nowitsky- (Christopher Lam)
Von Rothbart- Pepe Dufka- (Raffael Morra)

2-"Patterns In Space".Cunningham/Franck/Cage

This was one of the most interesting works presented. Here is the deal. I had the feeling that the audience really thought that the whole thing was a big parody on modern dancing, and so everyone was laughing while watching either the jerky movements of the dancers or the “music” people- (a couple onstage surrounded by all sorts of devices to make sounds…just as the guy I saw when I went to see the real company). The sad thing is that this was just identical as what I witnessed back then...…a carbon copy of the real thing, with some little comical touches here and there. But basically, there was not much of a difference and still, according to the general laughing, people though that all the strange choreography was yet another jokingly matter. I actually found the whole effect a little weird, even uncomfortable.

CAST:

Maria Paranova-(Or Sagi)
Alla Snizova-(Aviad Herman)
Dimitri Legupski- (Claude Gamba)

3-"Le Grand Pas de Quatre". Sir A.Dolin after F. Taglioni/Pugni

Glorious. I finally saw this, one of all time favorite ballets live again!! I really loved it, even with the usual jokes on rivalry. I could swear that Taglioni’s character was molded on Mme. Alonso- (hair, makeup, mannerisms, everything...even the big nose and mean face). At one point she even spins and when she stops she's giving her back to the audience, and starts palpating the backdrops, not sure in which position she is. Coincidence…? I don’t know, but the same happened several times with Mme. at the end of her career, when she could not see any longer how she was situated in relation with the audience, at one point even bowing to the wrong side of the stage. The dancer also did a lot of diva-like things, and she was clearly very mean- (but respected)-by the other three ballerinas. Again…very close to the real situation. Still, after a little while I just started “seeing” and enjoying the actual choreography instead of the mere parody. Lovely done, IMO.

CAST:

Grahn-Katerina Bychkova-(Joshua Grant)
Grisi-Nadezda Bogdownova-(Cristhopher Lam)
Cerrito- Vanya Verikosa -(Brock Hayhoe)
Taglioni- Svetlana Lofatkina -(Fernando Medina)

4-"Raymonda’s Wedding". Petipa/Glazunov

You know what…? This is the very first time I see this ballet live, and loved it! The sets and costumes were beautiful, and their rendition of Grigorovitch version was excellent- (particularly Raymonda’s “clapping variation”). The White Lady was there, running out of control all over the place from wing to wing for no apparent reason without being called upon. That was actually very funny.

CAST

Raymonda- Yakatarina Verbosovich-(Chase Johnsey)

Jean de Brienne- Marat Legupski -(Giovanni Ravelo)

5-"La Mort du Cigne". Fokine/Saint-Saens

Fokine's work was an addition not listed in the program.
The ballerina almost lost her whole tutu, which was quickly disappearing as all the feathers were falling off as she danced. Her exaggerated, Ananiashvili-like curtain calls were hilarious and spectacular. I couldn't understand the name of the dancer when it was announced.

6-Le Corsaire PDD. Petipa-Adrianov-Vaganova/Drigo-Gerber-Vietinghoff-Scheel

This piece was also added after the playbills were printed , so I don’t know who danced it. It was very interesting, because there was ALMOST NO PARODY here. They danced the real choreography all the way, and people loved it. Medora's fouettes were spectacular


Many dancers from MCB were there. I’m glad they could see those great performers taking great care of the different styles, from the romantic head/torso tilts of GPDQ to the regal positions and folk-inspired movements of Raymonda to the romantic clean classicism of Swan Lake. When the performance finished, the audience gave the performers a lengthy applause and screams of Bravo! where heard all over the place. I realized then that people had “got” the performance, not only the parody , but more important... the dancing. I long for a time when MCB could generate that electrifying feeling in its audience. It would definitely be a great goal to look forward to.

#2 puppytreats

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 09:03 AM

Tonight I went to see the Trocks, and before starting writing about it, I must say that I decided to make my way not without a bit of apprehension. The thing is…that this is my second experience with this company, and the first time- (back I think in 2001, me having just landed in US)-all I knew was that I was going to see a Ballet company that bore the name of Monte Carlo- (never had heard of them before…). Full of hope, I sat in the theater WITHOUT A PROGRAM OR A CLUE of what was in store for me…and finally, when I realized- (which didn’t happen right away, I must say)-well...…I felt fooled and I ended up upset at what I considered back then an offense to the art. So now, ten years later and with a lighter vision of things- (“never take stuff to serious”, an American mantra that I’m still learning about)-there I was, reading the programme and laughing my heart out with the dancers biographies.
I won’t hide any longer the ABSOLUTE delight I took watching this wonderful company of TRUE ballet professionals. I have many thoughts about it, and I will try to voice them all here, but the one thing that immediately got in my mind was an old post I read in this board- (have to locate it later)-about someone talking on the similarities he/she had found between The Trocks and the Cuban National Ballet style/dancing/projection during a recently seen performance of Giselle in New York. Back then I took offense on this, but now I declare this to be TRUE! The Trocks brought something to the stage that I hadn’t seen ever since I left Cuba. Their performance was full of passion- (augmented and satirized, or course). Their ballerinas are extravagant, with plenty of mannerisms, not afraid of showing off and very ready to dazzle with all sorts of tricks and exaggerated stage presence…just as those of Alonso’s company. The way they wore their hair and their almost expressionist make up with dark red lips and HUGE false eyelashes was just as what I remember from the ballerinas of my old Havana days. Also, I found a striking similarity with the body types of them both. As you have seen, all those Cuban ballerinas from back in the days that I have posted all those clips here are just as thick and rounded as the Trocks. I don’t take this as a bad thing. I’ve ALWAYS loved rounded, healthy figured ballerinas.
And then there was the performance. The program was excellent, and consisted of:

1-Le Lac des Cygnes- (Act II).

They did the old fashion Pas de Deux-a-Trois. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it performed this way before. The original choreography- (just as with every one of those presented)-was completely respected. One of the things I kept thinking while watching was: “Great...…Miami is watching the real deal”. Odette’s solo was beautiful. I noticed that in many segments they decided to show just minimal bits of parody...…probably like a 5%, and…just enough to get some laughing here and there, but the other 95% was the real stuff.

CAST:

Odette: Olga Supphozova- (Robert Carter)
Sigfried: Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow- (Joshua Grant)Benno- Boris Nowitsky- (Christopher Lam)
Von Rothbart- Pepe Dufka- (Raffael Morra)

2-"Patterns In Space". (Cunningham)

This was one of the most interesting works presented. Here is the deal. I had the feeling that the audience really thought that the whole thing was a big parody on modern dancing, and so everyone was laughing while watching either the jerky movements of the dancers or the “music” people- (a couple onstage surrounded by all sorts of devices to make sounds…just as the guy I saw when I went to see the real company). The sad thing is that this was just identical as what I witnessed back then...…a carbon copy of the real thing, with some little comical touches here and there. But basically, there was not much of a difference and still, according to the general laughing, people though that all the strange choreography was yet another jokingly matter. I actually found the whole effect a little weird, even uncomfortable.

CAST:

Maria Paranova
Alla Snizova
Dimitri Legupski

3-"Le Grand Pas de Quatre".

Glorious. I finally saw this, one of all time favorite ballets live again!! I really loved it, even with the usual jokes on rivalry. I could swear that Taglioni’s character was molded on Mme. Alonso- (hair, makeup, mannerisms, everything...even the big nose and mean face). At one point she even spins and when she stops she's giving her back to the audience, and starts palpating the backdrops, not sure in which position she is. Coincidence…? I don’t know, but the same happened several times with Mme. at the end of her career, when she could not see any longer how she was situated in relation with the audience, at one point even bowing to the wrong side of the stage. The dancer also did a lot of diva-like things, and she was clearly very mean- (but respected)-by the other three ballerinas. Again…very close to the real situation. Still, after a little while I just started “seeing” and enjoying the actual choreography instead of the mere parody. Lovely done, IMO.

CAST:

Grahn-Katerina Bychkova
Grisi-Nadezda Bogdownova
Cerrito- Vanya Verikosa
Taglioni- Svetlana Lofatkina.

4-"Raymonda’s Wedding"

You know what…? This is the very first time I see this live, and loved it! The sets and costumes were beautiful, and their rendition of Grigorovitch version was excellent- (particularly Raymonda’s “clapping variation”). The White Lady was there, running out of control all over the place from wing to wing for no apparent reason without being called upon. That was actually very funny.

CAST

Raymonda- Yakaterina Versovich
Jean de Brienne- Marat Legupski.

5-Dying Swan.

Fokine's work was an addition not listed in the program.
The ballerina almost lost her whole tutu, which was quickly disappearing as all the feathers were falling off as she danced. Her exaggerated, Ananiashvili-like curtain calls were hilarious and spectacular. I couldn't understand the name of the dancer when it was announced.

6-Le Corsaire PDD

This was also added after the playbills were printed too, so I don’t know who danced it. It was very interesting, because there was ALMOST NO PARODY here. They danced the real choreography all the way, and people loved it. Medora's fouettes were spectacular


Many dancers from MCB were there. I’m glad they could see those great performers taking great care of the different styles, from the romantic head/torso tilts of GPDQ to the regal positions and folk-inspired movements of Raymonda to the romantic clean classicism of Swan Lake. When the performance finished, the audience gave the performers a lengthy applause and screams of Bravo! where heard all over the place. I realized then that people had “got” the performance, not only the parody , but more important... the dancing. I long for a time when MCB could generate that electrifying feeling in its audience. It would definitely be a great goal to look forward to.


Can you tell us a little about the lifts and the pointe work? Thank you.

#3 bart

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 09:42 AM

The Trocks and the Cuban National Ballet style/dancing/projection during a recently seen performance of Giselle in New York. Back then I took offense on this, but now I declare this to be TRUE! The Trocks brought something to the stage that I hadn't seen ever since I left Cuba. Their performance was full of passion- (augmented and satirized, or course)

Cristian, your story of your first Trocks performance is both funny and touching. Their Pas de Quatre and Sylphides are more engaging, more convincing than a lot of "straight" performances by dancers who do not commit to the style. Glad that MCB dancers were there. Everyone in ballet needs a good shot of "dancing your heart out because you love, and believe in, what you are doing" now and then, even wonderful dancers like the MIamians.

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 10:47 AM

Can you tell us a little about the lifts and the pointe work? Thank you.


I'm glad that you asked this question, because while watching the ballets I couldn't help but keep being amazed and wondering how on earth these male dancers have mastered the female technique to such high level. I mean, I would assume that just as in every ballet company, the Trocks dancers have to take daily class, but here's the question...how is this class designed...? Do they take pointe as much as ballerinas...? Is the class divided on male technique and female technique equally balanced...?-(because in some works some of the dancers that had been doing female parts came out to dance male roles later on, as in Raymonda). It was incredible...the dancer playing Medora performed the fouettes as fast as good as any ballerina-(sometimes even better than some well known "primas" out there). Fouettes, chaine turns, pique turns, fish dives, bourrees...EVERYTHING was done with perfect technique and great speed. Then, while dancing male parts, the same dancers were lifting and partnering just as good. That sounds like a lot of work! :smilie_mondieu:
So then, I'm curious to find out if the Trocks dancers start learning and working the female technique way into their adulthood, or could it be that future company members-(young apprentices)-start learning it while in their teens...?

The Trocks and the Cuban National Ballet style/dancing/projection during a recently seen performance of Giselle in New York. Back then I took offense on this, but now I declare this to be TRUE! The Trocks brought something to the stage that I hadn't seen ever since I left Cuba. Their performance was full of passion- (augmented and satirized, or course)

Cristian, your story of your first Trocks performance is both funny and touching. Their Pas de Quatre and Sylphides are more engaging, more convincing than a lot of "straight" performances by dancers who do not commit to the style. Glad that MCB dancers were there. Everyone in ballet needs a good shot of "dancing your heart out because you love, and believe in, what you are doing" now and then, even wonderful dancers like the MIamians.


Definitely, bart! It was great to see this male tributes to the Osipovas and Valdeses of the world getting out the emotions out of their audience...! :clapping:

#5 kfw

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 02:41 PM

Cristian, I love your story of showing up to see the Trocks unaware of what you were in for. Would you say a little more about their Cunningham parody? Did they use a backdrop? Did they wear unitards? Did their facial expressions convey that they found the steps awkward or difficult? Did they intentionally fall out of positions? I would have enjoyed seeing the Trocks do Cunningham. However, while you were watching that, I was in Richmond, Virginia watching the real thing! (And feeling a little sad that I’ll have only one more chance).

#6 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:47 AM

Cristian, I love your story of showing up to see the Trocks unaware of what you were in for. Would you say a little more about their Cunningham parody? Did they use a backdrop? Did they wear unitards? Did their facial expressions convey that they found the steps awkward or difficult? Did they intentionally fall out of positions? I would have enjoyed seeing the Trocks do Cunningham. However, while you were watching that, I was in Richmond, Virginia watching the real thing! (And feeling a little sad that I’ll have only one more chance).


The Cunningham piece was the one I saw almost as if no parody was done, except for the common place of men playing women and so wearing some short bobs wigs. Yes, they wore unitards, and I think they were the original designs-(I don't have the programme with me, but I think the costumes designer is credited in it). As for the choreography-(which I'm not familiar with at all)-in my inexperienced eyes could have been played side by side with that from the real company and I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. One part I remember is when a guy was deeply squatting and he couldn't get up...he got stucked down there, so he had to be rescued by two other dancers who took him by the arm pits, while he stayed with his legs in the squatting position... :P . Still, the weight of the parody here was about the music, with the two people sitting onstage surrounded by all sort of crazy items-(kitchen utensils, shopping bags and even at one point getting the sound effect out of the folding and unfolding of a velcro diaper... :P . Again...not that different from the "music" guy of the real company...)

#7 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:45 PM

1-Le Lac des Cygnes-(Act II).Ivanov/Tchaikovsky

They did the old fashion Pas de Deux-a-Trois. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it performed this way before. The original choreography- (just as with every one of those presented)-was completely respected. One of the things I kept thinking while watching was: “Great...…Miami is watching the real deal”. Odette’s solo was beautiful. I noticed that in many segments they decided to show just minimal bits of parody...…probably like a 5%, and…just enough to get some laughing here and there, but the other 95% was the real stuff.



I checked the Trocks website and they give great credit to Marius Petipas, and that must be what is behind their acuracy. Their ballet master used to be Paul Boos from NYCB, but now I don't recognize the name of the ballet master. He must be someone with a great deal of training.

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:57 PM

BTW...just out of curiosity. Has it ever been a case in BALLET history where a male-(or former male)-has gone onstage in a "regular" company as a female...? (it might sound silly, but if it has happened already in sports and fashion... who knows then..?)
(This, of course, leaving out the common Simones, Carabosses, Cinderella's step sisters, etc etc...)

#9 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 07:17 AM

Don't know the answer to that, but you might enjoy this page of photos from their London Season. Looks great!

#10 bart

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 07:59 AM

I don't know the answer either. But you make me think how interesting it might be if someone made a ballet out of Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando, a story in which the central character changes gender several times.

You could have alternate casts: a male Orlando one night, a female Orlando the nextr. Each would play both genders in the course of a performance. The stylization and surreality of the piece could actually make this work.

#11 Paul Parish

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 08:13 PM

O Christian, thank you for this wonderful post. You are SO right, especially about Swan Lake and Pd4 -- it's wonderful to see a company that really cares about STYLE. And yes, there's no question they know how to parody Mme Alonso, and they do know how great she was.

Five years ago, when hte Trocks were in Berkeley, I wrote about them for Danceviewtimes, Alexandra's online magazine. THe piece began thus


"The Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have been laying them in the aisles in Berkeley this past weekend (presented by CAL Performances as their homage to the comic muse). The Trocks will be giving gender theorists dissertaion material for generations to come. But theory aside, why is a performance of theirs so satisfying? I have several times found their version of "Swan Lake" or Pas de Quatre" more fulfilling than those of a legitimate company. How can it be that a travesty company can sound the depths and illuminate the heights like this? "They can't even point their feet."

Well, they CAN point their feet-though they sickle them a lot, and often don't pull their knees either. It's NOT as though they can't, and one of the secrets of the company style is that when they remove the parody, and go for high style, they can show you lines as beautiful as Tallchief's-maybe not Guillem's, but in fact they've now got some loose-legged guys with penchées as tall as the Ritz, and as the technical levels continue to climb (as they very manifestly have, since the days in the early 70's when Anastos started the company), they'll get even closer to Parnassus than they already have.

Perhaps that's the secret-as Arlene Croce pointed out in a great essay on the Trocks way back when-every ballerina is a metaphor. All they can do is give us a perspective that gives us a glimpse of the ideal, seen for a moment, in the ebb and flow of everything, from an angle discovered by a genius-a moment that will have to dissolve in real time but that will live in the memory forever.

That's what the Trocks are best at, understanding the rhythm of revelation, the hierarchy within any ballet of the moments when deeper and deeper beauties are revealed,

If you'd liketo read the rest of it, it's here:
http://www.trockader...eviewtimes.html


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