The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 9, 2005

All-Male Ballet Parody 'Keeps On Trockin' Feb. 26 In Hancher

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, billed as the world's "foremost all-male comic ballet company," will perform some of their most perennially popular parodies at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The program will include: Act II of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," the Balanchine satire "Go for Barocco," the "Trocks'" adaptation of Fokine's "Dying Swan" and the Russian classic "Paquita," staged by Elena Kunikova.

Karen Campbell wrote last year in the Boston Globe, "Why in the world would anyone want to see a bunch of grown men in tutus and toe shoes tackle some of the most cherished works in the ballet repertoire? The 'Dying Swan' with hairy armpits? . . .

"Well, leave your skepticism at the door. The 30-year-old Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo presents a crafty, very entertaining blend of high art and serious camp, pairing physical virtuosity with slapstick comedy and wrapping the whole thing in ornate costumes, outrageous wigs and lots of attitude."

And earlier this season Jennifer Dunning wrote in the New York Times, "Watching the Trocks, as they are lovingly known throughout the dance world, one is transported back to the starry old days of ballet when dancers were joyously triumphant when they knocked off an extra pirouette or two and when the old ballet chestnuts were performed wholeheartedly.

"Perhaps, too, the thrill of the Trocks' shows has to do with men realizing the impossible dream of being ballerinas, complete with silly Russian ballerina stage names, tutus, loaf-size toe shoes and very good dancing."

Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts, for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in parody form, the Trocks (who are, of course, not from Monte Carlo) first performed in the late-late shows in Off-Off Broadway lofts. They quickly garnered a major critical essay by Arlene Croce in The New Yorker, which, combined with reviews in the New York Times and the Village Voice, established the company as an artistic and popular success. 

By mid-1975, the Trocks' blend of their loving knowledge of dance, their comic approach and the astounding fact that men can, indeed, dance en pointe without falling flat on their faces, was being noted beyond New York. Articles and notices in publications including Variety, Oui and the London Daily Telegraph -- as well as a Richard Avedon photo essay in Vogue  -- made the company nationally and internationally known.

The Trocks have now been a major dance phenomenon throughout the world for decades. They have participated in top-echelon dance festivals, have made many television appearances -- including their own solo specials on national networks in Japan, Germany and France; and have been the subject of a documentary aired internationally in 1998 by the acclaimed British arts program, "The South Bank Show."

The Trocks' numerous tours, hitting more than 500 cities, have been both popular and critical successes -- with their frenzied annual schedules including five tours to Australia and New Zealand, 19 to Japan (where their annual summer tours have created a nation-wide cult following and a fan club), eight to South America, three tours to South Africa and 40 tours of Europe. 

The original concept of the Trocks has not changed since its inception. It is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles.

The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts -- heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, angst-ridden Victorian ladies -- enhances rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novices, in the audiences.

The Iowa House Hotel is the local sponsor of the Trocks' performance in Hancher, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for the Feb. 26 performance are $35/32/29; UI student $31.50/15; senior citizen $31.50/28.80/26.10; youth $24.50/22.40/20.30.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: hancher-box-office@uiowa.edu.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu.