Les Ballets Trockadero

I saw another great ballet company on DVD yesterday, but this one was something special. Les Ballets Trockadero is a New York-based ballet troupe with no female dancers. They do dance many of the classical ballets, however, they just put their male dancers in tutus.

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Like most drag shows, Les Ballets Trockadero performs with a satiric tongue-in-cheek style. Unlike most drag shows, these are highly talented dancers, a fact you immediately recognize when these men go up on pointe.

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In an odd way, this ballet company reminds me of the Harlem Globetrotters. The Globetrotters were primarily about getting laughs from the fans, but they also showed spectacular skills. Meadowlark Lemon routinely scored hook shots from halfcourt. The Trocks do some hilarious clowning around, but it takes real skills to do a lift like this:

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Or this:

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Male ballerinas may not be as pretty to look at, but they can leap higher.

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I bet you’ve never even seen a ballerina do a cartwheel.

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Another fascinating thing about the Trocks: they can put their hijinks aside for a bit, and eventually you can forget that this is an all male company.

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I’m not exactly sure how they pull this feat off. Dance is so much about costume and about gesture and the way you carry yourself. There are hundreds of little cues that keep telling us about gender in dance. Without those cues, the people in the upper balconies would have no end of trouble sorting out what’s what, or who’s who. Just the simple joining of hands, as shown above, suggests a group of females. Some of the biggest laughs come from the moments when the dancers step “out of character” and make more identifiably “male” gestures.

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Anna Pavlova was famous for her dance where she skillfully danced the death throws of a swan. “The Dying Swan” is parodied brilliantly by a Trock in a tutu that continually leaks feathers.

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The Trocks have two DVD’s available. Like most ballet DVD’s they are way overpriced, but you can rent them at Netflix. You’ll laugh a lot, but you’ll say “Wow” a lot too.

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One Response to “Les Ballets Trockadero”

  1. Anthill Says:

    These guys are a handfull of laughs weahther you are into ballet or not.
    And also we hear of the female balerinas moan about thier en pointe shoes and to the guys is no different as they don’t like them too but they did whare those en pointe shoe and use them very well.
    To put a man on these shoes is very differcault as ballet requires them to do.
    All these guys are classical trained dancers and i see them at the top of thier cereer and their comic content that they play makes this company very special. They also like the calssical old world ballets to they much admire and make fun of these ballets. For me as i’m not a ballet critic nor that i understand ballet as it should be understood. These guys give ballet a real boost to the ballet craft and a good introdution into ballet so it can be a good way to have would be ballet dancers.
    So to end this review, These guys can dance!!! and do it well :))

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