Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 17 & Wed 18 Feb; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 20 & Sat 21 Feb
A company’s name usually offers pertinent information about who they are and what they do. Aside from the word ‘ballet’, however, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo tells you very little about the delights in store. For one thing, they’ve never even played the French resort, let alone hail from there. And from a distance, their posters suggest a troupe of colourful female dancers, traditional to the core.
In reality, the Trocks are a 22-strong group of muscular males ready, willing and able to do things in a pointe shoe that would make most men weep. On joining the company, each dancer takes on a male and female persona, largely inspired by the greats of Russian ballet. For three years, Camilo Rodriguez has played the dual roles of Eugenia Repelskii and a Legupski Brother. How are his feet bearing up?
‘They’re fine,’ he says. ‘They hurt but they don’t look too bad. I’ve got square toes and that makes it a little easier – for some people their second toe is longer and that’s very painful.’ Rodriguez and the rest of the guys are visiting Scotland with a greatest hits package, including their signature piece, Act Two from Swan Lake. The ability to perform classical ballet to a high standard is only half the skill of being a Trock, however, comic timing is equally essential. As is knowing when to take the limelight and when to share it.
‘I don’t like to compete on stage,’ says Rodriguez. ‘I like to do a show together and want everybody to have their chance. It can be hard not to think, “I could have this moment” but you’re conscious that by doing that you’re not only ruining that person’s joke but you’re bringing the level of the show down.’