Who can resist men in tights, even men dressed as women in tights! I saw a fine night of dancing earlier this week at the National Arts Centre, as Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo presented their interpretation of Swan Lake, Act II and Le Grande Pas De Quatre, with many flying feathers and fabulous costumes.
The twist is that this New York-based ballet troupe is comprised of men from all over the world who are fantastic dancers -- and comics. With their hairy chests, manly shoulders and frilly frocks, these dancers perform as both women and men (at different times) turning conventions of ballet upside down.
This from the New York Times, in a review published a few weeks ago, "Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was born out of the drag movement of the late 1960s and early ’70s when glamour was practically taken for granted. Nowadays the real drag is that glamour is hard to come by. Mercifully, the Trocks, as they are lovingly known, are still around to make the world a more beautiful place....all jokes aside, they really can dance!"
Their comedy carries over into their "official biographies."
First photo is of dancer "NADEZHDA BOGDOWNOVA who, according to her "official" biography, has defected to America three times and been promptly returned on each occasion -- for "artistic reasons." (Her real name is Christopher Lam, from Brisbane, Australia.)
The second is of dancer "NADIA DOUMIAFEYV" who was discovered adrift in a basket on the river Neva by kindly peasants. Her debut as the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, was marred by her overzealous grand jete into the Tsar’s box, impaling a Grand Duchess. Banished from Russia, she made her way arduously to New York, where she founded, and still directs the Ecole de Ballet de Hard-Nox. Her most famous exercise is the warm-up consisting of a martini and an elevator.
Nadia also performs as one of the talented LEGUPSKI BROTHERS. According to their official bios, Araf, Dimitri and Ivan are not really brothers, nor are their names Araf, Dimitri, or Ivan nor are they real Russians, nor can they tell the difference between a pirouette and a jete...but...well...they do move about rather nicely ...and...they fit into the costumes. (Nadia/Legupski is better known as Nolan Kubota of Santa Rosa, Calif.)
My third favourite biography -- and dancer, of course -- is OLGA SUPPHOZOVA, who apparently made her first public appearance in a KGB lineup under dubious circumstances. After a seven-year-to-life hiatus, she now returns to her adoring fans. When questioned about her forced sabbatical, Olga's only comment was "I did it for Art's sake." Art said nothing, however.
Olga's alter ego is YURI SMIRNOV. At the age of sixteen, Yuri ran away from home and joined the Kirov Opera because he thought Borodin was a prescription barbiturate. Luckily for the Trockadero, he soon discovered that he didn't know his arias from his elbow and decided to become a ballet star instead.
Olga/Yuri is also known as Robert Carter, from Charleston, S.C.