Incredible dancing skills? Check. A good dose of humour? Check. An all male cast ballet troupe? Say whhhhhhhat?
This can only add up to one thing, and that thing is Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, otherwise affectionately known as the Trocks. Yes it’s been 10 long years since New York’s sensational all male comic ballet company graced our sunny isle but now, they are pirouetting their way back to Singapore and performing in all their glory at the Esplanade from 1st – 5th May.
Anything that combines dance and comedy – both things that make many people very happy including yours truly – in equal measures, can only be a good thing in my books. Quite incredibly, the Trocks have managed to strike a happy balance of irresistible humour, dance precision and concern for the choreography. Believe you me this is no mean feat, and one that has won them both love and respect, and made them the worldwide institution that they are today.
When I had the chance to speak to the company’s Artistic Director, Tory Dobrin, I just couldn’t resist…after all this is the person who is at the helm of the world’s only all male comedy ballet. Wow how much would I love that job…!
Dobrin explains that audiences can expect to see, “Very skilled comedians and dancers offering their talents” and experience “good energy between the people on stage and the people in the audience…so that something is shared for an evening”.
The all-male company of 14 will perform classical excerpts – both male and female roles. He shares with us, “The evening is composed of three acts. The first act is the famous Swan Lake Act 2. The last act is the Bolshoi Ballet’s signature work of Raymonda and the middle act is composed of several smaller works. Everything is chosen to find balance in comedy, in music variety, in costume variety and the variety in the personalities of the dancers.”
Once again, it strikes me what a tall order this to achieve this unique blend. Not only must every member of the company be a good dancer, but they must also have a good sense of humour or comedy, with each individual personality working in harmony with the others, to achieve the desired rapport. “It is important that all the dancers develop their own stage personas so that the audience can see many wonderful characters on stage, with distinct personalities”, explains Dobrin.
So what is the greatest challenge in pulling this off? No surprises when Tobrin answers, “To keep the balance so that the comedy and the dancing are equal in importance…so that the idea of an all male comedy ballet is clear, with no aspect dominating.”
And yet it is clear from global reactions that the company – under Dobrin’s artistic direction – has achieved this with their dazzling performances incorporating playful parodies of traditional ballet, phenomenal strength and commitment to their art.
While most will obviously see that this is a brilliant fusion of high art and high comedy, with lashings of fun and mastery of technique served up in equal measure, of course there will be critics who will say something along the lines of, ‘Excuse me? A bunch of mallerinas prancing about in tutus? No thanks.’ To those people Dobrin responds, “Everywhere in life you go, someone will criticize you, no matter who you are or what you do. I am not concerned with these people. It indicates a very small, narrow mind. If they have seen the show, they would not say this.” To which I say – here, here.
If there’s only one thing that Dobrin wants audience members in Singapore to take away from the performance it is, “A very, very fun evening, filled with good dancing and good comedy.” Let me see….yes, that sounds like just what the doctor ordered!
The Trocks will perform at the Esplanade Theatre from Tuesday 1 May – Saturday 5 May at the Esplanade with tickets on sale through SISTIC here, ranging from $18 – $108. For more information see the ballet’s website here.
Want to bag yourselves tickets to the opening night on 1 May? Then keep your eyes peeled to our Facebook page here.
Written by Ms Demeanour
All images credited to Sascha Vaughan