The scene opened to darkness. A castle loomed in the background, and lightning flashed as Tchaikovsky’s haunting melodies floated through the air. A faint blue glow began to light the stage as the evil wizard Von Rothbart (Vel our Pilleaux) exploded onto the scene. He circled the stage, intensity heightening, and finally exited while pulling a stuffed swan on a string behind him.
The audience erupted with laughter, and the Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo had just given their viewers a taste of their theatrical genius. The all-male cast of this comedic ballet performed January 19, two days before the spring semester began, to accommodate the company’s need for complete access to the college theatre.
As Odette (played by Margeaux Mundeyn), queen of the swans, entered the stage, the audience could easily notice that Mundeyn was not an ordinary ballerina. Complete with tutu, ballet slippers, and exposed chest hair, “she” danced her comical interpretation of the dance of the swan, with her readily amusing counterpart, Prince Sigfried (played by R.M. “Prince” Myshkin), and gave the audience a delightful show of farcical affection.
The swans entered the scene, dancing in a line gracefully, encircling the two forbidden loves. All but Maria Paranova, that is. This ballerina was not quite as dainty as the rest. She amused the audience with her slapstick comedy moves, while crashing into other dancers and happily waving to the audience. Paranova’s shinning smile captured the attention of everyone in the house as she blew kisses to her adoring new fans.
The adaptation of Swan Lake ended with two curtain calls, and Mundeyn (Odette) receiving flowers. When the curtain opened the second time, the audience viewed the entire cast fighting over a bouquet of roses. This was merely the beginning of what this world-renowned cast of ballerinas had in store for the Yuba College audience.
Two acts followed the Swan Lake adaptation, including solos and duets performed by different members of the Trockadero Company. Amongst the brilliance was a duet between Nadia Rombova and Maria Paranova. The crowd was treated to the elegant movements of ballet and the incorporation of martial arts moves, as the two battled for the limelight. Between Paranova blowing kisses to the audience, and Rombova’s attempts to foil her ventures, the house roared with laughter. The comical duet was joined by six other dancers, all donned in black leotards, who danced gracefully around the battling Paranova and Rombova as they continued the quest for the spotlight.
The third and final act included all members of the company. In sets of one or two, the ballerinas danced onto the stage, clad in a spectrum of colorful costumes and dancing en pointe (on toe). The light air of music and beautiful dance techniques put the audience in awe. Then, entering on her own, the audience favorite Paranova, entered as the featured soloist. Unlike previous scenes of the night, in this scene Paranova danced beautifully with exquisite poise and grace. As she glided across of the stage in series of dainty pirouettes and daring leaps, Paranova amazed the audience once again. Yet the comedy did not end here.
Well into her solo dance, Paranova was to be lifted off-stage, but with a great amount of difficulty. After several bumbling lift-attempts, and her repeatedly falling to the ground, Paranova shooed away the other performers to continue her solo. She turned to the audience, showed that shinning smile, and resumed her beautiful dance.
Such a performance is not common in the Yuba-Sutter area; however, the audience seemed both pleased and amazed with the quality of the show.
“Their performance was great,” said audience member Julie Marsh. ” It was very unique and hilarious.”
The stunning show came to a close and received three curtain calls. The final curtain called opened up to the entire Trockadero Company doing a rendition of the well-known ” River Dance.” Once again, the audience exploded with laughter, and rose from their seats to deliver a standing ovation for spectacular performance. It was clear that this group was well liked by the audience.
“It was a great performance. Very comical and wonderful,” said audience member Michelle Fay.
The Trocks made a special note of dedicating their performance to the memory of all Trocks who had died of AIDS and other causes.
Les ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo was founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of ballet in a parody form and “en tranvesti.” Their first shows were performed late nights, on off-Broadway lots in New York City. This new phenomenon en pointe was quickly noted by the “New York Times,” and by 1976 they had begun to receive national fame.
In December 2000, several of their performances were taped by a consortium of Dutch, French, and Japanese TV networks, in Lyon, France, for worldwide distribution. The Trocks have gained popular and critical success in their 28 years of existence. They will continue carry out their original purpose to entertain, and, as they say, “Keep on Trockin.”