Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Even though I was sabotaged by the ruthless Anita Stolichnaya and lost my spot with "Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo," I put the bitterness behind attended the company's return performance at the Annenberg Center in Philly after an absence of 73 years.
The devastating Trocks were back in town in fine freighted form though several roles were switched at the last minute, which made for further dance mayhem. In any case, the dance shtick, foundation and cinched tutus were flying, along with some dazzling ballerinas.
And then there were the girls doing the boys parts, notably Yuri Smirov (Robert Carter) as the fried-haired, cape swirling evil Von Rothbart in the Act II extract from "Swan Lake," stalking the demure Odette (Queen of the...).
Marina Plezegetovstageskaya (Roberto Forleo) danced Odette as one flirtatious fowl, but she does have a diamond-hard arabesque at any given moment. She in fact is only tolerating Siegfried (Raffaele Morra) and she spins out of control after they forget to spot on her turns. Meanwhile, the Cygnets, those entwined swan quartet, hop-glide across the stage brilliantly.
Odile was such a hit that The Trocks added the Black Swan pas de deux danced by glamazon absoluta Yakatarina Verbosovich (Chase Johnsey). She does tower over her partner, played by Carlos Hopuy, a petite danseur with nice amplitude, who nevertheless floats her around the stage with ease (course any hint of strain on his face his hidden by tutu tulle). Later, Yakatarina does a flawlessly paced set of Odile's famous 36 fouettés.
Not to be outdone Roberto was back for Folkine's Dying Swan. She is a sick bird and she was not only molting rapidly, she was having a series of mini-strokes that rendered her one dead duck. Ballet can be merciless.
In "Go for Barocco" -- with hilarious choreography by Peter Anastos parodying Balanchine's iconic ballet Concerto Barocco -- Maya Thickenthighya (Carlos Miller) and Guisepina Zambellini (Davide Marongiu) symbolize the two taut violin strings of Bach's "Violin Concerto," who play off each other and throw the occasional pec-ab pose down. The quartet of dancers behind them executes those Balanchine limb-tangled geometrics and do not always escape some Benny Hill turns.
The capper was Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter) dancing the lead as that bullish Spanish temptress "Laurencia," with her tight blond mantilla and fiery flamenco gowns. Olga's granite stare, in fact, was a model for actresses in biblical movies from the '50s and later, at the baths. Meanwhile, Carter's pirouette runs and jetes are first rate -- and what a ruffled back flip!
What a night with the Trocks, and kudos to artistic director Tory Dobrin for keeping ballet such a hilarious drag. These ladies never lose their luster, even with pratfalls, mugging and endless vamping, not to mention technical skill in the classical repertory.
A descending disco ball cued the surprise finale with the entire ensemble swinging to Benny Goodman's "Sing, Sing, Sing" and as if they hadn't impressed enough, they were doing Savoy-era jitterbug en pointe. Now that's a dance non sequitur to die for; like to see them try that on DWTS or even ABT.
"Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo" ran through Dec. 15 at the Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. For info about upcoming production, visit http://www.annenbergcenter.org/ For info on the world tour of Trockadero, visit http://www.trockadero.org/