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From "Corsaire" to "Don Q", Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Sparkled

by Lewis J Whittington
March 13, 2017
Prince Theater
1412 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 422-4580
Pennsylvania Ballet unveiled their first ever production of "Le Corsaire" March 9-19 at the Academy of Music, but the night before their opening Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, those legendary male ballerinas, eclipsed them, returning to the Prince Theater in Philadelphia March 8-12 after a five year absence with their own grand pas de deux from "Corsaire," along with a trove of other pirated Russian gems.

The Trocks switched up their repertory during their weeklong run. On this night, March 8, they didn’t delve into their non-classical ballet rep with biting parodies of titans Balanchine, Graham, Cunningham and Robbins.

This was a night for the Imperial diva ballets and the Trocks were ready to ruffle and flaunt some classical feathers starting with Act II of "Swan Lake." Rothbart and Siegfried were lakeside to battle for Odette (Chase Johnsey a.k.a Yekatarina Verbosovich) who bastes these two danseur hams, playing them against each other.

Joshua Thake (a.k.a Jacques d’Aniels) was the dervishi Rothbart who spun out of energy swirling his nasty cape. Duane Gosa (a.k.a Vyacheslav Legupski) was Siegfried and was equally flummoxed at his standstill pantomime shtick.

No matter, Odette, was busy with her precision entrechat and floating her diamond arabesques (even if she has to keep Seigfried’s roaming hands in check). Meanwhile, corps legend Nina Nevasayneva scrambles to the wrong ensemble line and the corps Swans have a bit of a time always staying flocked and at least one was KOed by a rond de jambe. All eyes were on The Cygnets too, those arm entwined swans skipping to Tchaikovsky in tight lateral unison patterns, even though one lets their head bounce to their own disco beat.

Later, a solo interlude lakeside as the ethereal Saint-Saens music floated in with "Dying Swan" Nina Highwaters (Gosa) gliding onstage her exquisite liquid arms extended out, her regal carriage only slightly marred by the fact that her tutu was molting. With spasms of fowl panic, she realizes that this is her permanent exit music. Ever the pro, Nina is not about to forgo her ballet artistry but she dives deep for laughs.

Next, the grand pas de deux from "Corsaire" paired Lazlo Major (a.k.a. Araf Legupski) as the slave Ali and Long Zou (a.k.a. Nina Eminenimynimova) as Medora for the demanding "Corsaire" pas de deux and they didn't hold anything back. Major soared in the famous twisting aerials splits with kneed landings and he throws in a few back flips before pumping out two dozen steel center grand pirouettes. At one point he flexes and kisses his own danseur biceps. Not to be outdone, Zou tossed off about 36 fouettes, not counting her double whips, with a dose of runway shade.

In "Esmeralda" star gypsy Nina Immobilashvilis just can’t get excited about those adagio phrases in "Esmeralda." Even when Pierre Grengoire gives her the magic gypsy tambourine, he cranes her around however forlorn she looks, the gypsies are so bored, reclined at her feet, one gypsy decides to have her lunch. Pierre slips Nina a pill and she micro-piques backward around the stage forcing the gypsies to keep her from crashing into the scenery.

The "Don Quixote" bacchanalia finale is an upstaging free for all in fright wigs and dancing amok and with the Trocks milking every moment like real vaudevillians. This audience weighed in with lusty laughter, continuing to be thrilled by the troupe’s technical artistry, esprit and classical comic timing they displayed throughout much of the program.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in SWAN LAKE.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in SWAN LAKE.

Photo © & courtesy of Sascha Vaughn


Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's Carlos Hopuy and Laszlo Major in LE CORSAIRE PAS DE DEUX

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's Carlos Hopuy and Laszlo Major in LE CORSAIRE PAS DE DEUX

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