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Review 1, 8-20: Redux and Renewed
Les Ballets and More from the Trocks
By Susan Yung
Copyright 2002 Susan Yung
NEW YORK -- Les Ballets
Trockadero de Monte Carlo inhabits August at the Joyce Theater as
reliably as the swallows land at San Juan Capistrano in October.
Sometimes, this regularity lulls us into taking the company for
granted. But in a program seen Saturday, the troupe performed a
new production of an old work by Agnes de Mille that displayed an
unexpected mature twist in the process of the Trocks' evolution,
as well as selections from repertory disproving the recurring creeping
feeling that if you've seen the company once, you've seen it all.
The Trocks always make an impression, as do the swallows.
"Debut at the Opera,"
a New York premiere of a production which bowed in 1928, was reconstructed
by Janet Eilber after choreography by Agnes de Mille. This solo,
based on Degas's paintings of ballet dancers waiting in the wings
for their entrances, featured Ida Nevasayneva, a.k.a., Paul Ghiselin
(all the Trocks have both real names and stage names). The premise
at first struck me as affected, but when Ghiselin hit one of several
of the artist's famed compositions, it was a bried, brilliant epiphany
cloaked in calibrated serendipity. For instance, when he stood in
repose in a fourth position, hands on hips jutting slightly forward,
he could have been the young girl depicted by Degas rather than
a lank-limbed vet. Sure, there were still "oy vey" jokes of the
sort that give the Trocks everyperson appeal -- involving dancers
collapsing in exaggerated exhaustion, hamming it up at inappropriate
times, and the recently added "you go, girl" look. But genuinely
touching moments sparkled throughout the brief piece, a valuable
addition to the group's repertoire.
Speaking of repertoire,
the Trocks ended the program with "Don Quixote." Choreography is
credited to Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky, with staging by
Pamela Pribisco, the company's ballet mistress. This DQ followed
the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink edict, balancing the rarified,
spare quality of "Debut." If the demure waitresses weren't centerstage,
the grotesque gypsies were; sometimes both tussled for space. The
magic of the Trocks emerged in a duet between Basil (RM "Prince"
Myshkin/Fernando Medina Gallego) and Kitri (Fifi Barkova/Manolo
Molina), whose noble carriage and fantastic fanwork in fouettes
made for a sympathetic fairy tale character despite the performer's
fullback build. Nadia Rombova/Jai Williams as Amour stole the glamour
prize in a Vegas-worthy silver toga and wig.
Williams had a similar
affect in "La Vivandiere Pas de Six," staged by Elena Kunikova,
with choreography by Arthur Saint Leon. He embodies the haut-couture
feminine ideal: six feet plus, limbs of uncommon length, narrow
hips which allow for very high extensions, and huge eyes filligreed
with colored rhinestones. He towered over his partner, the sweet
Nikolai Legupski/Carlos Garcia, evoking -- as archetypal females
do -- wonder and fear. This work followed the "bonus" duet from
Robert La Fosse's "Stars and Stripes," featuring the ever-amazing
triple fouettes of Olga Supphozova/Robert Carter.
Lake" showed off Svetlana Lofatkina/Gallego's liquid shoulder carriage
in flapping wing segments. Yurika Sakitumi/Hiroto Natori performed
admirably in the tricky pas de quatre, and in 'Don Q.' Natori is
one of a number of men who seem to need less makeup to portray a
convincing female, blurring (for better or worse) the gender demarcation
that makes the sight gags so successful.
Les Ballets Trockadero
de Monte Carlo continues at the Joyce Theater through August 24.
For more information, please visit the
Joyce web site.
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