All Male-Ballerina Troupe Set to Twirl Again in Vancouver

La Vivandiere​ by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Photo by Sascha Vaughn.

In these often serious times, a bit of levity can be extremely welcome. While art has the earnest potential to uplift and inspire, it can also poke fun at itself, revealing a playful and intentionally ludicrous side.

The return of “the world’s foremost all-male comic ballet company” for a one-night performance will treat audience in Vancouver to plenty of hilarity and impressive en pointe technique.

On February 1, 2020, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, hailing from New York, will perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (630 Hamilton Street).

The troupe, which formed in 1974, has had a prolific performance career, with visits to over 30 countries and 500 cities (e.g. Vienna, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, and Vancouver!). Their unique approach – all-male ballerinas who skilfully parody classic and contemporary dances – has made them a huge success, earning rave reviews wherever their tutus take them. The Financial Times in London calls them “a deft blend of pirouettes and pratfalls” and “a comedy masterclass in style,” while The Herald in Scotland describes a performance “where laughter actually makes you aware of the artistry behind it all.”

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Photo by Zoran Jelenic.

When the troupe visits Vancouver this month, they will perform their ever popular version of Swan Lake, as well as The Dying Swan, and Pas de Quatre. In addition to modern works that will be announced on the night of the performances, they will also be mounting the Vancouver premiere of Walspurgisnacht, a contemporary piece included in the last act of Faust in a 1975 New York performance of the classic opera.

Walspurgisnacht ​by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Photo by Sascha Vaughn.

For those new to Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the group spotlights both the intense artistry and skill of ballet through exaggeration and parody. They are made up of professional dancers, such as Carlos Hopuy, who trained at Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana and has danced in other illustrious companies such as the National Ballet of Cuba, the National Ballet of Costa Rica, and Ballet San Antonio; and Robert Carter, who trained at Ivey Ballet School and Joffrey Ballet School, and also danced with the Florence Civic Ballet, the Dance Theater of Harlem Ensemble, and the Bay Ballet Theater.

Les Ballet takes the conventions of traditional ballet, turning them upside down and thereby appealing to both ballet newbies and those who are well versed in its intricacies. While their eyelash fluttering and costuming as self-deprecating sylphs and melodramatic swans are laugh-inducing, make no mistake, the comedy requires well-honed technique. The physical and artistic demands of the show wow the crowds. One minute the audience is holding their bellies chuckling and the next gasping at an astounding pirouette or tour en l’air (turn in the air). In addition, the challenging of gendered expectations in relation to ballet makes the troupe’s performance truly subversive.

Swan Lake ​by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Photo by Sascha Vaughn

It’s sure to be a show full of the wondrously unexpected while still nodding to the protocol of classic dance.

More info and tickets can be found on-line.


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