Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the acclaimed company of male dancers who perform astute and hilarious takes on the classical ballet repertoire, will perform at Jacob's Pillow in the Ted Shawn Theatre, August 11-15. Equal parts expert technique, loving tribute, dance history lesson, and comedy routine, "the Trocks," as they are affectionately known, have been dubbed "one of the great comic creations of the American stage" (The San Francisco Chronicle). This engagement will mark the company's first-ever appearance at Jacob's Pillow, an international dance festival originally founded by modern dance pioneer Ted Shawn as a retreat for himself and his company of Men Dancers. The Trocks' Pillow program includes parodies of classics such as Swan Lake and an interpretation of the work of modern choreographer Merce Cunningham.
The great fun of the Trocks is achieved by incorporating the foibles, accidents, and underlying incongruities of concert dance, all performed by highly trained classical ballet dancers. Joan Acocella of The New Yorker explains; "The Trocks' business is comedy, and the basic joke, of course, is that men are dancing the women's roles. Just to see those size-10 pointe shoes, those yawning armpits, that chest hair peeping up over their bodices...is to laugh. Then, there are what you could call the vaudeville gags, excellent ones. (The cavalier and his lady, their dance completed, exit demurely; a moment later, you hear a crash and a scream from the wings.)" In addition to being wildly funny, the dancers of the Trocks are known for their superb technique, historically researched repertoire, and surprising grace.
The Trocks will perform Le Lac des Cygnes (Swan Lake, Act II), a signature piece for the troupe. Premiered in 1895, Swan Lake tells the story of Odette, the beautiful princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, and how she is nearly saved by the love of Prince Siegfried. The Trocks' version of Le Lac des Cygnes is much-loved worldwide.
Also from the classical repertoire, La Vivandière pas de six is an excerpt from the one-act ballet first presented at Her Majesty's Theatre in London in 1844. The ballet is set in a village in Hungary, where a maiden Kathiis in love with Hans, the son of a tavern keeper. This ballet became famous as it introduced "the Redowa", the original Polka of Bohemia, to 19th century London.
The Trocks will also perform Raymonda's Wedding, a Hungarian-flavored ballet that premiered in 1844. Raymonda tells the story of Count Jean de Brienne who is betrothed to Raymonda, a young Hungarian noblewoman. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo adds twists and turns to the original plot in their version of the divertissement.
The presentation of Patterns in Space pays homage to Merce Cunningham's unique movement style. The legendary American contemporary choreographer was on the forefront of avant garde dance for more than fifty years and was renowned for his use of space, time, music, and technology. In this tribute, the Trocks don brightly-colored lycra unitards and emulate the distinctive modern dance style Cunningham pioneered.
The Trocks' engagement at Jacob's Pillow will also serve as the centerpiece of "A Weekend OUT at the Pillow," August 13-15, which will give LGBTQ families, couples, and individuals the opportunity to take advantage of all the Pillow has to offer, and to spend time with old and new friends. Jacob's Pillow will host a multitude of regularly scheduled weekend events in addition to an artist mixer at the Pillow Pub on Friday, August 13, where members of the community are welcome to stay after the performances and chat with the dancers. "A Weekend OUT" will also feature a special walking tour of Jacob's Pillow on Sunday, August 15 at noon, led by Jacob's Pillow Director of Preservation, Norton Owen and focusing on Pillow-founder Ted Shawn and his Men Dancers. Visit www.jacobspillow.org/festival/2010/08/a-weekend-out-at-the-pillow/ for additional details.
Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo first performed in late-late shows in Off-Off Broadway lofts. Adopting humorous stage names for their female and male characters, such as "Ida Nevesayneva" and "Minnie van Driver," Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo quickly gained a loyal following in New York.
Since those beginnings, the Trocks, led by Artistic Director Tory Dobrin, have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon throughout the globe, appearing in over 500 cities worldwide. They have participated in dance festivals in Madrid, Montréal, New York, Paris, Spoleto, Turin, and Vienna. They have appeared on television in programs as varied as a Shirley MacLaine special, the Dick Cavett Show, What's My Line?, Real People, and On-Stage America.
The Trocks have won many awards over the years, including best classical repertoire from the prestigious Critic's Circle National Dance Awards (2007) (UK), the Theatrical Managers Award (2006) (UK), and the 2007 Positano Award (Italy) for Excellence in Dance. In December 2008, the Trocks appeared in the presence of members from the British royal family at the 80th anniversary Royal Variety Performance, to benefit the Entertainment Artistes' Benevolent Fund.
For more information on Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and Jacob's Pillow, please visit www.trockadero.org or www.jacobspillow.org.