Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
atm711

The Trocoderos

22 posts in this topic

I haven't seen the Trocoderos live for a good many years, but last night I caught up with them again via the Bravo Channel. It was a tape of a live performance given in Lyon. The two dancers who performed the Corsaire PDD were first rate. I was particularly impressed with the dancer who performed the male part. He had the necessary flamboyance and technique for the part and had a beautiful light jump--Poof!!--before you knew it he was straight up in the air in a split jete. Who is he? It was also the first time I saw "Go For Barocco" and I was smiling all through it and realizing how androgynous ballet has become. If they had played it without the laughs it would have looked like the real thing. I also thought it was amusing that the dancers did not deem it necessary to pad the bosom--they looked much more realistic that way!.

Share this post


Link to post

I also caught them on Bravo...taped it too. It was so funny. I think the more you know ballet the more you appreciate the art that Le Ballet de Trockederos is! At first my dancing daughter was hesitant (she thought it was an insult) but very soon my DD was rolling on the floor laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes. Sometimes you forgot you were looking at men dancing as women...especially in Le Corsaire. The man and the "woman" dancers were great. In fact...I think "she" may have done as well a job as many a female principal dancer! ;)

Share this post


Link to post

The Trocs, like all great parodists, know that you can only skewer the art you love. (Victor Borge, for instance, could only have been a comic pianist because he also had the option of being a brilliant concertizer.) The Trocs all have extensive training in classical ballet, they've all seen hundreds of great performances, and they hire choreographers who share this high degree of sophistication. Indeed, Peter Anastos, once the Trocs' Artistic Director, has created dances for ABT and other mainstream, men-&-women companies.

I'm sorry I missed the Bravo broadcast -- I hope I can catch a repeat -- but I do especially cherish the memory of an Anastos work called, "Yes, Virgina, Another Piano Ballet," in which he showed us all the bad ideas that Robbins had dropped from "Dances at a Gathering," that Feld had dropped from "Intermezzo," and that lesser choregraphers would have dumped on us, given the chance. It was utterly hilarious, but also enlightening. It shows why "Dances" and "Intermezzo" are among the major works of 20th-century ballet by the simple act of illuminating the choices their creators made.

Share this post


Link to post

I was a bit disappointed because the online listing I'd checked said they'd be doing their Les Sylphides, which is quite wonderful (from what I remember).

The Swan Lake was quite hilarious, complete with bargain-basement six-dancer corps, sulking, pouting Benno, vainglorious Prince and a social-climber Odette. Originally I thought this "staging" was Peter Anastos', but perhaps not -- it wasn't attributed to him here.

It's always a pleasure seeing Anastos' Go for Barocco -- it's a wicked satire of the various Balanchinisms enshrined in Concerto Barocco and other works. (By the way, straight ballet companies also do "Yes, Virginia." I recall Pennsylvania Ballet used to do it, back when.)

The Dying Swan was cute, with the "performance" really a preamble for the extensive, drawn-out bows at the end. Of course, real ballerinas would never milk the audience for applause, would they?

The Corsaire pas was OK, but just as with the Grandivas last year (missed them this year -- oh well), I felt the main point was to demonstrate that drag ballerinas can so dance as well as female ones. If there's not a comic or satiric point to be made, it just seems foolish to me.

As far as the concluding Raymonda's Wedding, it seemed to go on interminably, with too few jokes (mostly rather broad), and those repeated far too often.

I would dearly love to see the Trock's production of Act II of Giselle, with the Edward Gorey designs again...

Share this post


Link to post

Dear Morris Neighbor,

I could not have said it better than you did. Thank you. Although I am not routinely a Feld fan at all, "Intermezzo" is a gem. So, too, of course, is Robbins' "Dances at a Gathering." Much as I love both works, the Troc's skewering of these is right on target and utterly hilarious, as you said.

What I also adore about them is their wonderful fictional biographies of such artists as "Tamara Boumdiyeva."

Claudia

Share this post


Link to post

I also caught the Trocs on Bravo and was able to grab my daughter to check out the Swan lake part she had done recently(done a bit differently)!.Don't you all wish there were more ballets televised-as often as ball games!!!;)

Share this post


Link to post

I also watched this program on Bravo, and I was dying because it was so hilarious. My eyes were on the little man who did the Corsaire variation (as the "woman" part), I believe he had better technique and talent then most female dancers around! I was pleased with the technique of the entire company, as well with the hilarity of the performances. I love it when you can make fun of your own profession, and do it WELL, with everything else being perfect. That is what I would call real talent.

I was also wondering if I could purchase one of their videos, if they are available. I was not able to tape the Bravo performance, and I would love to have it on tape. Does anyone know where I could purchase a tape?

Thank you!

Kendall :)

Share this post


Link to post

I love the Trocks! I do enjoy the hilarity of their little jokes and such, but what I truly love is their wonderful dancing. I find myself wishing a lot of times that they would once in a while (or more often) ditch the silly parts and dance it even more seriously. I think that's why my favorite was the Corsaire pas de deux. I would love to see an all-male ballet company dance something in all seriousness, and for people to really appreciate it for what it is! I feel that it doesn't always have to be made funny when there are men dancing en pointe. I once saw a few photographs of one of the Trocks rehearsing Dying Swan in practice clothes sans wig, and he seemed to be doing some of it very seriously ... and it was very beautiful.

By the way, I was very, very impressed with "Sylphia Belchick", the one who danced Medora in Corsaire. Boy can s/he turn! I also really liked Fernando Medina Gallego as "Prince Myshkin" in Corsaire and as "Sveltlana Lofatkina" in Raymonda. I found a photograph of him elsewhere and he looks a bit like Angel Corella.:)

Share this post


Link to post

Linsusanr--thanks for identifying Fernando Medina Gallego as the male dancer in "Corsaire". Do you know anything more about him? Does he perform elsewhere?

Share this post


Link to post

I also found a picture of the same "Troc" dancer. And he does look like Angel! I have also met Angel in person in Berkeley CA, he's the sweetest man. And they do look very similar.

Share this post


Link to post

Fernando was born in Madrid, Spain, and danced with the Classical Ballet of Barcelona, Basel Ballet, and Ballet L'Opera de Nice before joining the Trocks. He says the Trocks is where he wants to stay until he retires! He must really love it. Previously, he'd performed as a woman in Midsummer Night's Dream for Basel Ballet, en pointe at his request! He lives in Queens now. I don't know whether he performs elsewhere ... it'd be great to see him guesting in other companies, though.

I really like his dancing and I think it's neat that he and Angel look alike! :) He pulls off some dazzling turns very neatly. I also couldn't help doubling over in laughter at his Raymonda solo, where he slaps his hands together so loud (whilst executing a powerful front battement) I think they must hurt! He does look quite elegant as Sveltlana. I'd like to meet Fernando if the Trocks come around the SF Bay Area next year.

Love4FinchSoCo, I nearly met Angel at Berkeley once, too! Unfortunately, he was starving and all the conversation I got with him was how to get to the nearest yogurt shop. That was enough to make me giddy the rest of the evening, though! How lucky that you got to really meet him!

Share this post


Link to post

I guess I've got a different viewpoint on this than linsusanr - I've seen men perform womens' parts (excuse the pun) straight. I recall a classical pas de deux done by one of the divas with one of the companies, and s/he was good enough that as a man, she was a principal with a respectable company. He could do every aspect of the female technique of the pas de deux, but you know, he still was a man. His calves were muscular. His torso was developed and blocky. It was not delicate, or feminine, it was how his imagination projected delicacy and femininity. There's something amazing about that, but I found it faintly sad, because in the end, he was never going to be able to be what he wanted to be.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw the Trocaderos perform at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, CT the beginning of April. The very next week Bravo ran their Trocks program.

They danced Paquita at the live performance. I was disappointed to not see it once again on the Bravo program. Robert Carter (Olga Supphozova) danced the ballerina's role. My daughter, who's dancing the same part in her school's spring performance, said that she may as well just hang up her pointe shoes- "Olga" dances it much better!

Re Fernando Medina Gallego, the program notes say that he was born in Madrid, trained at the Rudra Bejart School (Lausanne), and Escuela Victor Ullate (Madrid). He joined Trockadero in Dec. 1998 and has also performed with the Classical Ballet of Barcelona, Basler Ballet, Introdans, and the Ballet de L'Opera de Nice.

Share this post


Link to post

Leigh Wichel writes:

"His calves were muscular............It was not delicate or feminine...."

I feel the same way when I see anorexic female dancers...

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Leigh, I see what you're saying! I should have elaborated a bit on what I really meant ... I think it would be compelling to see men dance a more "feminine" role not in the traditional women's costumes. I'd like to see something serious and gutsy, something that combines the grace and strength of pointework and the power and masculinity of the dancers. They would still be dancing as men, without wigs and in men's clothing. I think it would be tremendously interesting! Does this make any sense? (I hope I don't sound too weird!) :)

Share this post


Link to post

While I enjoy the Trocks, too, I'm with Leigh in having reservations about taking them seriously, although for a different reason. There are a lot of men in the performing arts taking women's roles these days—male actors playing Cleopatra, male singers impersonating Ethel Merman—and doing it all even more seriously than the Trocks. As a woman, it angers me that men aren't satisfied with dominating most of the world as it is—they want it all. Under this greedy model, women would cease to exist in the arts, let alone be able to increase their already limited participation. Ballet is the one art form I can think of that is female-dominated, at least on stage. I would hate to see men shoulder their way in there, too.

Share this post


Link to post

Ari, I really don't think that the Trocks want us to take them seriously in that sense. To me, they are (for the most part) seriouslyfunny. If on the other hand, as Leigh seems to be implying, these dancers truly wish that they were women and that what they really wish is that they could be ballerinas en pointe...well, then I can see how this might make one sad. Since I don't know any of these fellows, I cannot speak to this possible psychological aspect - I hope for their own sakes that this is not true - instead, I will continue to enjoy their poking fun at the sacred. :)

Share this post


Link to post

Just to make myself clear on this (and to quote myself from an essay from my own site )

Like drag itself, there's a continuum in drag ballet from flat out comedy, through to imitation and fantasy all the way to wish fulfillment and transformation, at which point it generally ceases to be funny and becomes eerie, at least to me. However, the more one is around any of it, the more one respects the validity of any point on the continuum, even if it's not where you happen to stand. Different strokes, essentially.

People do it for different reasons. I've seen people whose motivation is comic, and I've seen people for whom it's wish-fulfillment and those for whom it's a little of both. I happen to prefer it as comedy.

Share this post


Link to post

I find female impersonation interesting when it's about the idea of being a woman, which really exists quite apart from one's gender. It's a bit of a stretch, but you could argue that a really good female impersonater, like one of the Trocks, shows us everything about a ballerina that isn't merely being female.

That's when I like them the best, when they're showing me, and having fun with, the idea of a ballerina. This isn't at all the same thing as pretending to be a ballerina; when they do the latter, I find it much less interesting, because to be a real one, you need all the trappings, plus being female. The very best I've ever seen a Trock or Grandiva dancer doing a "straight" female role is at about the level of a decent regional company, and I'm just not impressed by a mediocre ballerina of any gender.

And even if a Trock or Grandiva were to turn in a performance indistinguisable in any respect from a "real" woman's, I'd have to say, "what's the point?"

Share this post


Link to post

I saw the Trocks on Bravo last night for the first time, though I missed the first 45 minutes of the show. I watched the rest of it, however (thank goodness I was at my grandparents'; I would have been in bed before it even started at home!).

I think my favourite was probably 'Go for Barocco', which was pure comedy; that seems to be what this group does best. I found their serious works a bit odd, except for their 'Le Corsaire'; I found myself hard pressed to remember that the 'leading lady' wasn't a lady at all!

As a woman, it angers me that men aren't satisfied with dominating most of the world as it is—they want it all. Under this greedy model, women would cease to exist in the arts, let alone be able to increase their already limited participation. Ballet is the one art form I can think of that is female-dominated, at least on stage. I would hate to see men shoulder their way in there, too.

Perhaps what we need is an all-female company that performs classical ballets, with the girls lifting the girls. The only problem would be females' muscular structure; theoretically, they aren't supposed to be able to do such steps as are involved in the more difficult male solos, are they?

Share this post


Link to post

Remember, in the original ballets de cour, the dancers WERE all men. They had to wear about 250 pounds+ of costume. And in the Paris Opera of the late Second Empire, males were in short supply. Coppélia was premiered with a Franz who was prettier than the Swanilda!

Share this post


Link to post

The Trocks are coming to Tacoma, WA on Feb.12 - just emailed my mom asking if she'd like to go. Has anyone else seen them on their west coast swing?

Share this post


Link to post

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0