Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

'Le Lac des Cygnes,' 'Nutcracker' pas de deux, 'Go for Barocco,' 'Tarantella,' 'Dying Swan,' 'L’Ecole de Ballet'

By Kate Snedeker

November 17, 2003 -- Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Now celebrating it's 30th delightfully unusual season, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo swept into Edinburgh with a combination of humor, camp, drama, and oh yes, some pretty good ballet. From a mugging Odette to a feather-trailing dying swan, these men in tutus made it clear that talent on one's toes isn't limited to ladies. The program included a range of classical, modern and utterly unique ballets.

Opening the evening, was "Le Lac Des Cygnes," a decidedly unique look at Act II of Lev Ivanov’s classic "Swan Lake." The Trocks New York roots were apparent in Olga Supphozova’s (Robert Carter) mugging, big-biceped Odette, a swan who clearly would have been just as at home in a Harlem street corner as by the enchanted lake. She grinned, she flirted, she flexed and she showed off impressive fluidity and speedy fouettes. Nicholas Khachafallenjar (Jai Williams) was her earnest, long-suffering Siegfried, and proved a solid partner. R.M. “Prince” Myshkin (Fernando Medina Gallego) was a scene stealing Benno and Velour Pilleaux (Paul Ghiselin) was a hyperkinetic Von Rothbart with distinct resemblance to the once popular troll dolls. The swan corps had just the right mix of camp, balletic talent and well-rehearsed, but un-rehearsed appearing pratfalls.

The "Nutcracker" Pas de Deux (which appeared to be a variation on George Balanchine’s choreography) was competently performed by Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) and Marat Legupski (Scott De Cola), but felt flat as it never found the right combination of seriousness and camp. Much more successful was “Go For Barocco” a “neo-new classic dance” and homage/parody of George Balanchine’s "Concerto Barocco." Peter Anastos’ choreography to the Bach’s music combined classic Trocks chaos with well blended flashes of "Concerto Barocco." The powerwalking ballerinas were led by the high-kicking Gerd Tord (Bernd Bergmaier) and Nadja Rambova (Jai Williams), with her noteworthy flexibility and controlled dancing.

A highlight of the night was "Tarantella," danced to a variation of Balanchine’s original choreography by Svetlana Lofatkina (Fernando Medina Gallego) and Vladimir Legupski (Lionel Droguet). Droguet was the most impressive of the men dancing as men, with a series of nicely executed pirouettes in second, that came down to passé and then back out into second several times. Gallego and Droguet brought a buoyant energy to the piece and were exceptional in their coordination of the steps with the beats on the tambourine. Gallego also proved an exceptional turner, with several doubles inserted in a long series of fouettes.

Ida Nevasayneva (Pail Ghiselin) finished off the act with her ultra dramatic, feather trailing "Dying Swan," with Fokine’s choreography set to Camille Saint Saens’ equally dramatic music. Her wobbly legged swan barely made it through the piece, but had plenty left for a set of humorous curtain calls.

The evening concluded with Peter Anastos’ "L’Ecole de Ballet," a two scene ballet about the the little ballerinas that didn’t make it into Degas’ paintings. Led by the matronly teacher, played by Margeaux Mundeyn (Yonny Manaure), these pastel dress clad little not-so-darlings clumped, tripped and occasionally glided through their ballet classroom exercises. The various pratfalls and antics were apt demonstration of the great talent of the Trocks -- it’s hard to dance well, but even harder to add all the pratfalls and tricks in and still make it look natural. Joined by Kravlji Snepek’s (Hiroto Natori) eager, but tiny danseur, the budding ballerinas performed their individual variations and several rather elegant (at times, at least) pas de quatres. Natori’s partnering of the much larger Colette Adae (Jason Hadley) was very solid, with several elegantly executed supported pirouettes and smoothly executed pratfalls.

It was an evening of entertaining dance, with the just the right mix of serious dance and humor. And it ended, as only the Trocks can end, with a dozen budding ballerinas, a male student, their teacher and one resurrected dying swan Riverdancing in a cloud of stage smoke. Brava, Bravo!

Edited by Jeff.

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