Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the Harlem globetrotters of the ballet world. They’ve been around spreading hilarity since the 1970s with their special brand of ballet goodness – specifically, boys in tutus and pointe shoes. Bear in mind that although there is slapstick humor, this is not just poking fun at ballet. Although these fellas may not all look like your traditional prince ballerino, they are all classically trained dancers who train like every other company. These guys have skills.
I’m not sure how many people are introduced to ballet via the Trocks. I don’t have any data on that, although I’d be interested to know. It seems the audience is broadly made up of ballet people, non-ballet people who are there strictly for the comedy, and the occasional person who read “Ballet” and “Monte Carlo” and didn’t know what they were in for. I, personally, think people with a ballet background get the most out of it. The Trock’s Swan Lake in contrast to say American Ballet Theater or Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake is screamingly funny. And although you don’t need to know the story, the contrast makes it all the more fabulous. I think it’s similar in knowing ballet technique and skills. When you know how difficult the PDD in Don Quixote is without the gags, you really appreciate a guy with chest hair in pink satin pointe shoes throwing down with a fan. On Sunday, Southern California was treated to Swan Lake, the PDD from DQ, Dying Swan (a classic!), Go for Baracco, and the final Act from Raymonda. The audience was an amazing mix like you rarely see in a performing art theatre to be honest. And on stage there was a blend of great dancing, hysterical humor, a few flashy tricks, and a little bit of cheesy-ness. You laugh, you applaud, you laugh some more, you oh and ah a bit, laugh again, and applaud a lot. It’s a good time and I highly recommend it.
I know some people turn their noses up at it but may I familiarize you with the World Ballet Festival in Tokyo that always includes a “funny” gala wherein some of the best male dancers in the world don wigs and tutus and pointe shoes and show off their mad dance skills plus their wickedly fabulous senses of humor!
I think the Trocks are wonderfully funny but I don’t think that they are a joke. To me, they are a brilliant and shining example of how to have great success in a chosen career path when perhaps a conventional route doesn’t work out. They get to dance for a living. Their audience adores them. They travel the world. They get to be creative and use humor and movement everyday. And they get to wear tiaras. How can you not be inspired!?!