I love The Trocks and although the reason for loving them might seem obvious, let me tell you why I love them anyway… I think that we should all indulge in making fools of ourselves on a daily basis. It’s really freeing. Too many people are incapable of laughing at themselves. You can’t really claim to have a sense of humor if you can’t laugh at yourself. I’m a pretty serious person, but let me tell you, one of the greatest lessons of my life has been the importance of being able to simply laugh at myself and get over it. Do you know who is the only person that can cause me embarrassment? Me. And I am so over it – embarrassment sucks. Now when I do something stupid, which is a lot, I am the first to laugh at myself and then move on. FYI, did you know that having a sense of humor is a sign of intelligence and mental agility? All true.
I will remind you of a story that I told you some time ago – we were doing a simple combination in center and I got sweat in my eye so instead of glissading I started hopping like the easter bunny, arms flailing in some kind of swirly motion, it was awful – I just started laughing and tried to get my arms back into second, still hopping. I completely messed up that entire combination and my teacher witnessed the whole insane looking business but I wasn’t mortified, I laughed it off because it was in fact hysterical and then I moved on to the next combination.
I love that these boys put on crazy makeup, tutus, pointe shoes, wigs, and go all out. They know that the audience is going to laugh at their performance, they know that they look ridiculous, they know that some people come for the comedy and won’t actually appreciate the artistry of their pointe work. They do it anyway. Their dignity comes in the fact that they put on a great show, their dancing is fantastic, and they make an audience happy. And that is Brilliant.
You know my reviews, I’m no Alastair Macaulay and I’m not about all the technical stuff but I hope to give you a sense of having been there too. I saw the January 24th performance in Chicago, IL. It was warm and sunny when our plane left the tarmac in LA, CA; it was FREEZING when we touched down again. It was my first time at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Millennium Park is a HUGE, gorgeous park with an outdoor skating rink, the infamous shiny bean sculpture, an outdoor amphitheatre, museums, and more. The Harris Theater is very strange. It’s like a giant parking garage – the whole thing. Cement, cement, cement, and flourescent lights. I think the architect was going for industrial-modern perhaps. There is a sense of a baseball or other sporting type of stadium inside. The seats are comfortable and the rake of the seating is awesome, but it’s not like being at the Dorothy Chandler or the Met. The stage seemed small but it is also tall and feels deep. We were sitting front and center, but I could imagine that the balconies provided a nice view and the entire seating area was in front of the stage with no seating jutting out on the sides of the stage.
From the announcements of flash photography scaring the Russian ballerinas with flashbacks to the Bolsheviks to the programs that introduce the dancers including Marina Plezegetovstageskaya and Ida Nevasayneva and explanations of the dances including ChopEniana, Le Grand Pas De Quatre, and Raymonda’s Wedding, “a traditionally confusing divertissement in two scenes” the entire evening was constructed to be HYSTERICAL!
The evening opened with ChopEniana which was a parody of Giselle and Le Sylphide, a dozen boys in Giselle tutu’s, who could ask for more! It was followed by a fabulous Tarantella which was fabulously danced. The Le Grand Pas De Quatre which basically poked good-natured fun at Lucille Grahn, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito, and Marie Taglioni. Then – drum roll, please – The Dying Swan – Oh My Sweet Baby Jesus! molting, dying, falling over swan, I almost cried, it was so funny, white feathers ALL over the stage! But let me tell you, that guy danced beautifully on pointe, gorgeous feet, crazy amazing. The evening ended with Raymond’s Wedding which is even more funny if you know the ballet, totally playing off of Nureyev’s version of Raymonda with overdone ronde de jambes and tons of footwork. But even if you didn’t know the ballet, it was completely entertaining. Of course the audience loved it and the applause was immense but the Trocks has one final laugh up their billowing sleeves! After they took a bow, they broke into Michael Flatley Riverdance! That’s it, they get a well deserved standing O and I don’t give those away easily!