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A Night at the Ballet

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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.

Comments (18)

"Ecole de Ballet de Hard-Nox"

This cracks me up! I can't believe you actually got to see this in person - I bet it was a hoot! And they really can dance? Amazing. Great post.

How fun! I enjoy dance shows. That must have been amazing!

Amy:

Oh, what a fun post. "...warm-up consisting of a martini and an elevator." LOL
I saw them years ago in NY, and they were at turns hilarious and amazing.

sandrac:

Thanks, Annie -- I did love the "biographies" almost as much as the dancing! They really are very beautiful to watch.

Candi, it was amazing.

Amy, I'm so glad to hear that you saw the Trocs as well. Your description is so apt: at turns, hilarious and amazing.

Barb Cabot:

Sandra when the first picture appeared and I saw those arms I said to myself
"Troc". It has been years, feel like I could say decades since I saw them in L.A. but I'm glad to know the troupe still exists. Pretty amazing, funny, and totally entertaining.

I always know I'm going to find something fun here at your blog... very cool...

Dana

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, I have never heard of this group before. From your very fun post, I wouldn't mind seeing them, flying feathers and all!

Thanks for the :)! Have a great evening Sandra!

nancyhol:

OMG! I love those photos! Sounds like a fun night!

Eden:

Sounds like riotous fun.

That sounds like so much fun!

Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I am still chuckling about the "Ole!" comment on my shrine post. Perfect (and it's exactly what it looks like they are saying!).

sandrac:

Barb, the Trocs really are something, aren't they? I hope I can see them perform again sometime.

Thanks, Dana, that's a kind compliment.

Kathy, if you get a chance to see them, their show is highly recommended.

Thanks Nancy, Eden, CindyRuth.

Annie, I'm glad I didn't offend you -- they are lovely photos and shrines are fascinating (but sometimes you wonder what the artist was thinking.....)

Anne:

That sounds like a fantastic evening out, what a hoot! I wish they would come to Halifax. Those bios are so funny, I love the "first public appearance in a KGB lineup under dubious circumstances"!
(btw, I laughed at your olè comment on Annie's blog too!)

Lord no. I love sacreligious humor (and one thing I love about some of the shrines is that they are pretty funky looking, not high art at all!).

Anne:

Annie & Sandra, you both would likely get a kick of what I saw yesterday in Freak Lunchbox (that is a local candyshop). A "glowing hands Jesus action figure"...too funny!!! Valerie said not to tell her husband because he'd have to go buy it! (He's an Anglican priest and loves such things - the more irreverent and sacreligious the better!)

This post cracked me up also! At first glance yesterday morning, I thought it was a woman with big muscles! It must have been a very interesting ballet.

sandrac:

Anne, I just loved their fake Soviet-era ballet biographies.

And that "glowing hands Jesus figure" sounds hilarious! Like Annie, I also get a kick out of some "sacreligious" humour, and certainly some of the overwrought images I'm sure we've all seen in our travels!

Girasoli, the Trocs performance really was delightful -- funny and athletic and quite beautiful!

I get a kick of that store name: Freak Lunchbox!

And I love kitschy religious stuff. I've got a semi-tacky Jesus night-light in my laundry room. And a Popsicle stick Madonna.

An old boyfriend had the best/worst thing I've ever seen: a black velvet painting of Jesus and Elvis. :)

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