Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – Jan 27, 2024

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Cal Performances UCB
January 27, 2024. 8 PM

Wonderful! Oh wonderful to behold!

What a pleasure it is to welcome the “Trocs” back to UC Zellerbach Hall. They (the company) have often appeared at Zellerbach. Tonight’s event was listed as a 50th Anniversary.

So much of what they do its amazing, preposterous and wonderful! It helps if one knows a little of ballet repertory to appreciate the skill – and satire each program event presents.The choreographic patterns are there for each item…yet the “Trocs” take every advantage to make the audience laugh…not just at their playful physical dance jokes…but at the choreography itself.

We are offered “Le Lac des Cynes” (Swan Lake Act III), perhaps the best known ballet in the western world. To music by Tchaikovsky (1877), a princess becomes a swan by an ‘evil’ sorcerer. (Apparently this was a well known fable of Russian folklore). In 1893 the Maryinsky Ballet produced the version presented (always with alterations) by most companies today

The “Trocs” know how to build satire into performance. In “Swan Lake,” Prince Siegfried (Araf Legupski) and his friend Benno (Kraviji) attempt to win the Queen of the Swans (Collete Adae) from the evil Van Rothbart (Yuri Smirnov). Many unsucessful pas de deux and pas de trois are danced, but alas! Rothbart prevails. All this and the splendid accompanying dances of the corps de ballet reconstruct this most popular of all ‘romantic/classical” ballets .. And/But the choreography is complete with prat falls, slaps,”incorrect” positions and postures and the amazing skill of every “Troc”…soloist and corps de ballet.(Men..in point shoes!)

Next, to our further delight is “Yes, Virginia, Another Piano Ballet” to music by Chopin. There is a grand piano on stage; we hear music; no one is playing. This work is a direct satire on “Dances at a Gathering,” a ballet by Jerome Robbins when Robbins was ‘away’ from Broadway (1969) and in residence at the NYC Ballet. To the ballet world at that time, the work was a direct challenge to the full orchestra, classical events presented by George Balanchine, the famous director and choreographer.

As the “Trocs” performed it three “women” Greanya Protozoa, Ludmilla Beaulemova and Holly Day-Abroad dance with the boys, Parcel Tord and Chip Pididonda to give us a more contemporary play time, embracing the piano and sometimes each other in Robbins’ modern ballet style. It is a romp and as the program says, “plain folk relating to each other”. However these “plain folk” are amazingly skilled dancers and comedians with superb timing.

We are treated to the most divine solo work in ballet repertory, “The Dying Swan”.(Alas I cannot find the brilliant artist’s name who performed this evening). Originally Anna Pavlova was the first in this role, in 1916. Although its intention is to portray the ‘fragility of life’ the Trocs Swan ballerina was losing her feathers at the start and it got better (or worse) as the solo continued. Nevertheless, she(He) gathered her feathers and took numerous bows and curtain call.

The evening’s finale “Paquita”(a superb exapfeifengesictmple of “French” style ballet) is now seen as ‘academic classical dance’ enriched by unexpected “combinations and steps”. We are entranced by the Ballerina Varvara Laptopova and Cavalier Bruno Backpfeiferngesicht as they command our attention and that of the five ‘ballerianas” who dance the five variations. As in other inventive, funny and classically profound work,

Paquita” shows us what ballet is (and was) and above all, the many superb skills in performance and satire of “Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo”. Come back again every year for another 50 years!