Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Fancy footwork coupled with seamless transitions between gender roles have created a hilarious spin on traditional ballet and are the essence of the all-male drag ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, or more endearingly called The Trocks.
With charm and charisma to boot, this homegrown New York City fringe group of ballet enthusiasts was conceptualised in the early 70s. Since their humble beginnings, The Trocks have evolved into an international sensation, ‘gracing’ the stage in over 500 cities across 30 countries, achieving cult status in Japan (naturally) and performing to packed houses across Italy – a demographic that demands high-end culture. They’re back for a limited run in Hong Kong after an eight-year hiatus from our city.
Don’t let the playful nature of the performance fool you as the troupe is rooted in serious skills and harnessed with the necessary professional training. “We’re not just a bunch of guys buffooning around,” says Paul Ghiselin, ballet master and senior dancer of The Trocks. There might be a bit of diva attitude peppered in for good measure (‘we like to keep that on stage’, adds Ghiselin) but behind the scenes cast members are required to maintain a high level of professionalism and respectful behavior which Ghiselin credits to the cast’s tremendous chemistry.
Expect to see these dudes dancing their tutus off to their unique renditions of such classics as Swan Lake II, the joyful ending of Raymonda’s Wedding, and portions of Le Grand Pas de Quatre, which have been cleverly interpreted and tweaked with some built-in physical humour: “You put a six foot guy with a five-foot-two guy, make them partner together and you get all kinds of crazy things happening.”
Some may believe The Trocks are mocking the ballet art form, but it is in fact the contrary. “We are honouring it,” Ghiselin says. What might surprise some is that Ghiselin claims that classical ballet die-hard devotees laugh along with the rest of the crowd. “They are our best audience,” he says. Appealing exclusively to this select group, however, is clearly not the case. “The clowning and the fun we have on stage is infectious – people want to laugh – people want to have a good time and see good dancing.” And that, quite simply, applies to us all.
Catch The Trocks at the HKAPA from Thursday May 15 to Sunday May 20. Tickets are $960-$350 from hkticketing.com.