Page9 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 6, 1989
BY GRETA SCHNURSTEIN
A night at the ballet... Ah, La Danse! Beautiful tutus,
feathers, pointe shoes, slender bodies moving in
graceful expression, intricate choreography, hairy
chests and armpits... Hairy what?!?
Yes, that's right. The biggest up-and-coming
attraction on the Ann Arbor dance scene is Les Ballets
Trockadero De Monte Carlo ("The Trocks"), a dance
company presenting high art from a refreshing
perspective - in drag.
peThe first time I saw the Trocks, I was fully expect-
ing to see a bunch of clowns. Face it, men dressed up
in tutus cannot possibly be serious. Then the perfor-
mance began. I looked. I looked closer. "Men can't
dance en pointe" ran through my head over and over. I
stared at their feet. These men were actually dancing en
pointe! I stared suspiciously, but I couldn't see any
tricks - because there weren't any.
Not only do these men twirl around on their spe-
cially made over-sized Capezio toe shoes, they parody
the world of traditional ballet with sharp observations
of the clich6s of gender, gesture, romantic images, and
the choreography of the great ballet masters. One of
their most famous pieces is an original adaptation of
Marius Pepita's Swan Lake. In the Trocks' version, the
classic gestures of pointing to the sky or to other char-
acters are satirized through a series of exaggerated arm
flapping, back and forth, and Odette, the Queen of the
Swans, not only dies, but molts.
The performance of the Trocks is a hilarious trav-
stomach or a wobbling ankle is more difficult than to
hold a perfect arabesque.
Through their comic performance, the difficulties
that dancing produces become more real to an audience.
In classic ballet, the beauty appears effortless. Unless
you have actually attempted ballet, it can be difficult to
appreciate the technical difficulties that are involved,
but the Trocks lead the audience through these compli-
In the Trocks' version (of Swan Lake), the classic gestures of pointing to the
sky or to other characters are satirized through a series of exaggerated arm
flapping, back and forth, and Odette, the Queen of the Swans, not only dies,
Joffrey ballerina, satirizes the female roles of sylphs,
nymphs, and other light and airy winged creatures that
populate the ballet world. A recent piece, Gambof,
choreographed by artistic director Natch Taylor, takes;
on Paul Taylor's style.
My surprise at finding that men actually can dance
en pointe was only the beginning of appreciation for,
the talent and skill of the Trocks. Their goal is not just,
to slam ballet. From their amusing programs and as-
sumed names (including Natasha Notgoudenoff, Anas-
tasia Romanoff and Nina Enimenimynimova) to their
complexand zany antics, the Trocks' knowledge and;
care of the ballet canon comes through clearly.
The goal of the company has not changed since its.
inception in 1974. What the Trocks do, and what they
are internationally reknowned for, is to bring the en-
joyment of dance to the widest possible audience. Their
delightfully refreshing approach to the art is amusing,
to both the knowledgeable and to the novice.
LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE
CARLO will perform tonight at 8 p.m. at the Michi-
gan Theater. Tickets are $16.50, with student rush
tickets at $7.50.
esty, yet their technical skill is so strong that at times
the audience forgets that the ballerina on stage is not a
woman. The Trocks often faithfully execute standard
ballet choreography and the audience is held for a mo-
ment in the beauty of the ballet, just until the next
spoof comes along. Everything they do, they do for a
reason. To hold a perfect arabesque with a sagging
cations by their complex antics.
The Trocks' program tonight includes Go For Bar-
rocco (a piece aimed at Balanchine's syncopated style),
the Trocks' version of Pepita'sDon Quixote Pas De
Deux, and Isadora Deconstructed, choreographed for the
Trockadero by a Duncan dancer, Lori Belilove. In
Kazmidity, choreographed by Ann Marie De Angelo, a
Read Jim Poniewozik Every
works close Barna symposium
University of Michigan Boxing Club Dare to Care Tournament
Friday April 7, first bout at 7:30 PM at the Domino Farms Fitness Center
Tickets are Ringside $15,
General Admission $5,
Tiger Dream Nite raffle for champagne
dinner for two and Owner's Box seats at Tiger Stadium
BY MARK SHAIMAN
IT'S quite appropriate to, ahem,
wrap up this term's festival of avant-
garde films with a work entitled The
Ties That Bind. Su Friedrich, the
film's director, will be on hand to
present this and another of her films,
Damned If You Don't, this evening
in the concluding segment of the
Yon Barna Memorial Symposium
on Avant-Garde Cinema.
Each of the filmmakers in this
series have represented a different
ideology within the realm of ex-
perimental cinema, and Su Friedrich
is a proponent of feminist concerns
as part of the avant-garde. And, as
with all the previous guests, her
work is extremely personal.
The Ties That Bind (1984, 55
min.) deals with Friedrich's mother's
experience as a child in Germany
during World War II. By dealing
with an individual, Friedrich has
been able to capture a single per-
son's experience as opposed to an
all-encompassing documentary. The
tales of her mother are combined
with footage of Ulm, her mother's
childhood home, as well as con-
temporary shots of other German lo-
All Friedrich's films are in black-
and-white, which adds nostalgic re-
alism to an already too-real story in
the case of The Ties That Bind.
Friedrich had spent four years as a
B&W still photographer prior to
becoming a filmmaker, so she
knows how to fully utilize the po-
tential of this medium.
SinceDamned If You Don't
(1987) is about a nun, B&W is nat-
urally fitting, especially because the
theme of the piece is the division of
good and evil. The basis of
Friedrich's film is another film,
Black Narcissus (1946), which dealt
with two nuns in love with the same
man, one of which knew how to
control her desires while the other
Glimpses of this are shown at the
would enter THE BURSLEY LIBRARY ART SHOW.
We invite you to enter also.
Entries due Friday, April 7.
For more information call 763-1419 or 763-3666
start of Damned, and then the film's
own story takes over, paralleling the
original. Here the nun does have
desire, but it is for another woman,
thus doubly questioning her vows.
Experimental cinema is meant to
challenge the normal structures of
film, and sometimes society as well.
Su Friedrich is sure to do both, and,
to make you, like the nun, question:
what you believe.
SU FRIEDRICH will be presenting
THE TIES THAT BIND and
DAMNED IF YOU DON'T, tonight
at 7:30 p.m at Lorch Hall. Ad
mission is free.
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