Penn Live Arts kicks off its winter/spring season with the gender-bending Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The Trocks, as the all-male ballet troupe is affectionately known, honors ballet classics such as Swan Lake, while also poking fun at the artistic conceits of traditional and modern ballet repertoire. In a performance that blends savagely funny satire with seriously stunning ballet technique, the Trocks dance the fine line between high art and high camp, and “prove how parody and virtuosic technique work in glittering tandem.” (The New York Times)
The program features dancers Robert Carter, Ugo Cirri, Kevin Garcia, Giovanni Goffredo, Alejandro Gonzalez, Duane Gosa, Maxfield Haynes, Philip Martin-Nielson, Trent Montgomery, Salvador Sasot Sellart, Joshua Thake, Haojun Xie, and Takaomi Yoshino.
For tickets and further information, visit PennLiveArts.org. All audience members must present proof of vaccination, a PennOpen Campus Green Pass completed on the day of the performance, and wear a mask at all times while in the building. See full health and safety information for in-person audiences at PennLiveArts.org/safety.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form and en travesty. Les Ballets Trockadero first performed in the late-late shows in Off-Off-Broadway lofts. The Trocks, as they are affectionately known, quickly garnered a major critical essay by Arlene Croce in The New Yorker, which when combined with reviews in The New York Times and The Village Voice established the company as an artistic and popular success. By mid-1975, the Trocks’ loving knowledge of dance, comic approach and commitment to the notion that men can, indeed, dance en pointe without falling flat on their faces, was already getting attention beyond the company’s New York home. Articles and notices in publications such as Variety, Oui and The London Daily Telegraph, as well as a Richard Avedon photo essay in Vogue, made the company nationally and internationally known.
The 1975-76 season was a year of growth and full professionalization. The company found management, qualified for the National Endowment for the Arts Touring Program, and hired a full-time teacher and ballet mistress to oversee daily classes and rehearsals. Also in this season, they made their first extended tours of the United States and Canada. Packing, unpacking and repacking tutus and drops, stocking giant-sized toe shoes by the case and running for planes and chartered buses all became routine parts of life.
Since those beginnings, the Trocks have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon throughout the world. They have participated in dance festivals worldwide and there have been television appearances as varied as a Shirley MacLaine special, The Dick Cavett Show, What’s My Line?, Real People, On-Stage America, with Kermit and Miss Piggy on their show Muppet Babies, and a BBC Omnibus special on the world of ballet hosted by Jennifer Saunders. Several documentaries about the company have been released in the past few years including Rebels on Pointe by Bobbi Jo Hart and Ballerina Boys by Chana Gazit and Marite Barylick which aired on American Masters. The Trocks have garnered many awards over the years, including Best Classical Repertoire from the prestigious Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards (2007) (UK) and a nomination as Outstanding Company (2016); the Theatrical Managers Award (2006) (UK); and the 2007 Positano Award (Italy) for excellence in dance. In 2008, the Trocks performed for members of the British royal family at the 80th anniversary Royal Variety Performance to aid the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund in London.
The Trocks’ numerous tours have been both popular and critical successes. Their frenzied annual schedule has included appearances in over 35 countries and over 600 cities worldwide since its founding in 1974, including seasons at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Chatelet Theater in Paris. The company continues to appear in benefits for international AIDS organizations such as DRA (Dancers Responding to AIDS) and Classical Action in New York City; the Life Ball in Vienna, Austria; Dancers for Life in Toronto, Canada; London’s Stonewall Gala; and Germany’s AIDS Tanz Gala.
The original concept of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has not changed. It is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts–heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, angst-ridden Victorian ladies–enhances rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable and novice audiences. For the future, there are plans for new works in the repertoire: new cities, states and countries to perform in and for the continuation of the Trocks’ original purpose: to bring the pleasure of dance to the widest possible audience. They will, as they have done for more than forty-four years, “Keep on Trockin.”
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Friday, January 21, 8 PM
Saturday, January 22, 2 PM
Saturday, January 22, 8 PM
Penn Live Arts at Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6219
For tickets, call 215.898.3900
online at https://pennlivearts.org/event/les-ballets-trockadero-de-monte-carlo