Tutus and ballet slippers are standard fare for any traditional ballet company, but when the curtain rises on the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the troupe usually hears a round of laughter from the audience. Dressed in drag, the all-male cast performs dance moves normally only carried out by females.
"It's a little risque yet tasteful," says Paul Ghiselin, the Trockaderos' ballet master who teaches Russian technique and runs rehearsals. "You're using male bodies that are stronger. They're not as pretty, but when they do a pirouette, they do 10 pirouettes rather than these light threesomes."
The international dance troupe performs a mixed repertoire of classical favorites, such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, but these dancing divas perform a parody of both male and female roles to offer a playful, entertaining show.
Coming to the Ohio Theatre on Jan. 29, the Trocks will perform Swan Lake and Raymonda's Wedding. Ghiselin will perform his trademark role, the Dying Swan, for which he turns the tragic scene into a hilarious parody of the famous solo role.
The Trocks were formed in 1974 after New York City's Stonewall riots by a small group of male ballet enthusiasts who had already been performing dance parodies at lofts on the city's east side. The troupe quickly caught on as a dance phenomenon.
"Dance is usually considered such a serious art form, very dry, and people don't get it," says Ghiselin, who danced with the Ohio Ballet for 13 years prior to joining the Trocks in 1995. "But here, people get it. People leave the theater happy with smiles on their faces, and you know you're giving something to them — this is very infectious."