Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (aka “the Trocks”) is an all-male ballet company, renowned for its parodies of ballet classics and modern dance. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Trocks return to Santa Barbara for the first time since 1998 with a program that includes their versions of Swan Lake, George Balanchine, French classics and more.
The key to the Trocks’ brilliance is that they don’t just comically galumph around in tutus. Highly trained and talented dancers in their own right, they are some of the few men in the world who actually dance en pointe, or on their toes.
The magic of their satire lies in their technical prowess in performing these classical ballet and modern pieces, with their own wicked sense of humor and high camp layered on top. The Trocks are the ultimate embodiment of the maxim: “Learn the rules so you can break them properly.”
Each dancer has a stage name, including (sometimes it helps to say them out loud) Maya Thickenthighya, Nadia Doumiafeyva, Natalie Kleptopovska, Helen Highwaters, Eugenia Repelskii and Vyacheslav Legupski.
Founded in 1974 in New York, the Trocks first performed in late-night shows in obscure off-Broadway venues. By the next year, word spread of their original blend of technical ability, affectionate satire and incredible ability to dance en pointe. After appearing in a photo essay by Richard Avedon in Vogue, they began touring the United States.
Over the 40 years since their inception, the Trocks have established themselves as a major dance phenomenon, appearing in more than 34 countries and more than 500 cities worldwide, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, New York, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo. Their annual summer tours in Japan have created a nationwide cult following and fan club. They’ve also appeared on TV programs from The Dick Cavett Show and Muppet Babies to BBC’s Omnibus and Nightline.
The Trocks have won many prestigious dance awards and in 2008, appeared at the 80th anniversary Royal Variety Performance, to aid the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, in London, attended by members of the British royal family.
The company continues to appear in benefits for international AIDS organizations such as Dancers Responding to AIDS and Classical Action in New York City, the Life Ball in Vienna, Dancers for Life in Toronto, London’s Stonewall Gala, and Germany’s AIDS Tanz Gala, as well as other fundraising events for other causes.
— Justine Sutton is a Santa Barbara freelance writer and frequent Noozhawk reviewer. The opinions expressed are her own.