Joyce Theater, New York, NY; December 27, 2014 (m)

Colleen Boresta

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in 'Swan Lake Act II'.  Photo © Sascha Vaughan

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in ‘Swan Lake Act II’.
Photo © Sascha Vaughan

Program A of the Trocks’ biannual season at the Joyce Theater began with one of their oldest works, “Swan Lake, Act II”, with music by Tchaikovsky and staged by Truitti Gasparinetti after Ivanov. There is a good deal of slapstick to be found in the ballet, but it is still very funny. It begins with the evil wizard, von Rothbart (Vladimir Lepugski aka Duane Gosa), dressed in a gigantic cloak, pulling a dilapidated wooden swan on a string across the stage. He and Prince Siegfried (Sergey Lepugski, aka Giovanni Goffredo) engage in fisticuffs and the swans in the corps beat up on poor Benno (Pepe Dufka aka Raffaele Morra), the Prince’s friend and attendant. The four cygnets start their solo by falling on their rears, while other swans are constantly kicked by the soloists.

During the lakeside pas de deux, Siegfried hands Odette over to Benno several times, but she is far too heavy for him. The Prince also drops her, and spins her around about twenty times. She ends up in a dizzy fog. The ballerina (Olga Supphoza aka Robert Carter) soon remembers she is on stage and recovers quickly from her dizzy spell. A highlight of this “Swan Lake” was when Legupski started his big solo by walking very slowly across the stage with a look on his face that clearly said “I am the greatest danseur in the entire world.”

The mime the dancers perform is full of funny slang and it is very easy to follow (unlike some performances of “Swan Lake” when it can be difficult to figure out what the gestures mean). Olga Supphoza combined beautiful dancing with her shtick. The petit battement she performed during her second solo were just fantastic. Her swan arms rippled perfectly. At the end of the ballet, she even threw in some very nice fouettés. These are usually not found until Act III of the full length version of “Swan Lake”, but they were wonderful all the same.

Next up was my favorite Trock ballet, “Go For Barocco” by Peter Anastos to music by Bach. It is a parody of George Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco” but also pokes fun at other early Balanchine pieces, such as “Apollo” and “The Four Temperaments”. As the program states, “Go For Barocco” “has been called a wristwatch for Balanchine clock-time.” The entire company seemed to be playing children’s games throughout the piece. The two soloists (Eugenia Repelskii aka Joshua Thake, and Maya Thickenthighya aka Ihaia Miller) jumped over the corps’ outstretched arms in what looked like red rover, engaged in a patty cake contest and played a lot of London Bridge. The entire company kept getting caught up in elaborate daisy chains they could not break out of.  The power walk steps the dancers repeatedly did were reminiscent of  Balanchine’s “Apollo”. The two soloists were also very fine dancers. Their jumps in unison were particularly well done.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in 'Le Corsaire' pas de deux.  Photo © Sascha Vaughan

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in ‘Le Corsaire’ pas de deux.
Photo © Sascha Vaughan

The pas de deux from “Le Corsaire” was pretty much danced straight, although the male lead (Araf Legupski aka Laszlo Major) kept admiring his pecs. He also performed a tumbling run at the beginning of his second solo, something usually not seen in ballet. Legupski’s leaps and turns were as fantastic as his tumbling. Alla Snizova’s (Carlos Hopuy) Italian fouettés were wonderful.  Her regular fouettés were also well done, although she stopped a bit short of the required thirty two.

The final piece of the afternoon, “La Naiade et le Pecheur”, was a New York premiere, staged by Trocks’ dancer, Raffaele Morra, to music by Cesare Pugni. The original ballet was choreographed by Jules Perrot in l843, with this staging is after a version by the Bolshoi Ballet’s Pyotr Gusev. It is about a water nymph (Lariska Dumbchenko aka Raffaele Morra) who falls in love with an Italian fisherman, Matteo (Mikhail Mypansarov aka Ihaia Miller). The dancing is lovely but since I’ve never seen this or the original before, I couldn’t appreciate the humor. All of the performers were very good, especially Nadia Doumiafeyva (Philip Martin-Nielson) as Matteo’s girlfriend, Giannina, but there was nothing spectacular about it. Still I can’t wait for the Trocks to return to New York in December of 2016.