Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo 2008
Tuesday 16 September to Saturday 14 March

Press Reviews

Judith Flanders, The Guardian

Normally, I find men in drag, well, a drag. Yes yes yes, there’s some momentary humour in seeing a bunch of female quirks reproduced by someone physically so different, but if the drag-er is any good at it, the humour soon vanishes as the illusion becomes complete. So why are the Trocks funny? Why have I been watching them with undiminished pleasure since the 1970s?

I tried to work that out last night as they opened their new UK tour at the Peacock in London. The answer surprised me. They are funny not because they are good comedians (which they are, too), but because they are good dancers. Not great dancers – I haven’t lost all critical faculty. But good. And, more important, they care passionately about what they do.

Read more here

Mark Monahan, The Telegraph

How can you not love a troupe whose stage names include Ludmilla Beaulemova, Maria Paranova and Nadezhda Bogdownova? Formed 34 years ago in New York, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo are the world’s greatest ballet parodists, combining rock-solid classical technique with a blazing love for the art form and a fiendish eye for its conventions and pretensions.

The all-male company’s trampling over ballet’s strict male-female divide makes for terrific entertainment, their specific target being a particularly Russian strain of hubris that they prick as much with their pseudonyms as with their dancing. And certainly, their dancing is a joy.

Read more here

Clement Crisp, Financial Times

It looks more than a little like Gisellez-a-poppin’ as the dear things of the Trockadero troupe get their hands and feet on this sacred text of Romantic ballet at the start of their second programme.

Albrecht (the splendidly dim Prince Myshkin, aka Fernando Medina Gallego) is a tremulous hero, and the ranks of the wilis storm over the stage like Dracula’s daughters, Goths avant la lettre. So far so funny, and also so respectful of the text, in a Trockish sort of way, exemplified by the power of Minnie van Driver who brings more sense and more menace to the role of Myrtha than do most shall-we-say-usual interpreters.

But it is the Giselle of Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) that turns this romp on its head. Morra’s is an exceptional and, in truth, astonishingly moving performance.

Read more here

Donald Hutera, The Times

For more than three decades the Trocks, as this New York-based troupe is fondly known, have demonstrated that it is those who love an art form the most who are best placed to parody it. In their case it is dance, and particularly old-school ballet, that is scrutinised and affectionately skewered by men in tutus, pointe shoes and loads of slap.

Revisiting the company’s rib-tickling signature piece, Swan Lake (Act 2) is like spotting new wrinkles on an old and hilarious friend. On opening night this was mainly down to the performances of Sveltlana Lofatkina (Fernando Medina Gallego), whose piquant Odette slipped expertly between quasi-fragile femininity and butch frustration, and Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow (Joshua Grant), a strapping blond Prince with an alarming resemblance to Peggy Lee.

Read more here

Kelly Apter, The Scotsman

As the whistles, cheers and foot-stamping died away, and a filled-to-the-brim Theatre Royal emptied itself out onto the street, the post-show analysis began. If the riotous applause and standing ovations had left us in any doubt as to audience opinion, the praise resonating around the foyer said it all. Most telling of all, however, was the comment made by a man (clearly a dance newcomer) to his wife: “I’m not sure if I’d like the real ballet, but that was great.”

It was a remark that managed to both compliment and insult the company simultaneously, because the dancers of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo perform ballet which is most definitely “real”. Their technique is superb, their timing faultless and their regard for the traditions of classical ballet beyond reproach. What sets the Trocks apart, however, is their gender.

A stage filled with male ballerinas en pointe is always going to be something special.

Read more here

Mary Brennan, The Herald

Even before the all-male Trocks (as they’re now known worldwide) had set a single pointe shoe on-stage, they were causing a feel-good factor of fun among the audience. Folk behind me were already chortling as they scanned the programme and read out the dancers’ names: Colette Adae, Olga Supphozova, Sveltlana Lofatkina (Try it at home).

There’s a further stoking of the larky, cod-Rooshian ambience with various announcements that pay off with “our bellerinass are in vurry,vurry goot mooood” – a sly nod in the direction of the volatile artistic temperament associated with so many legendary Russian dancers. Then it’s into one of the Trocks’ signature spoofs, Swan Lake (Act Two), with its corps-de-ballet all in a flap and serving up the kind of mishaps – collisions, falls, mis-timings – that we suspect hover under the surface of the “real thing”.

Read more here