Event Title

Gender Warriors or Dying Swans?: A Historiography of and by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Location

Panel 14: Kearney 308

Start Date

27-10-2012 10:15 AM

End Date

27-10-2012 11:45 AM

Description

In European-American concert dance world of the last century or so, female impersonation, or dancing en travesti, has been done mostly for laughs.

In the larger sense of theatrical history, female impersonation extends back to ancient Greece where women were excluded from the stage. During the era of Shakespeare, boys studied and seriously trained in the craft of female impersonation. As women gradually gained access to the stage, the need for such artful impersonation diminished. Female impersonation in concert dance shifted toward the burlesque, with exaggerated characterizations. (Female impersonation stands in here for a whole range of diverse and contested terminology regarding the performance of gender.) Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, founded in 1974, knows and loves the ballet world and it knows and loves humor. The company of men performs abbreviated versions of classic ballets – both the male and female roles – to great comic effect and popular acclaim.

Over the 35-year history of the Trocks, as they are affectionately known, they have shifted from novelty act to serious art, all on their own terms. More than simply a historical analysis, this paper argues that the company has reinscribed concert dance history while at the same time dismantling the historical canon and rewriting it to include a history of embodied gender identities. In the 21st century, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo demonstrates multiple performances of gender, a thorough understanding of camp and parody, seriously researched dance history, all danced with wicked attention to dance technique and virtuosic performance.

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Oct 27th, 10:15 AM Oct 27th, 11:45 AM

Gender Warriors or Dying Swans?: A Historiography of and by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Panel 14: Kearney 308

In European-American concert dance world of the last century or so, female impersonation, or dancing en travesti, has been done mostly for laughs.

In the larger sense of theatrical history, female impersonation extends back to ancient Greece where women were excluded from the stage. During the era of Shakespeare, boys studied and seriously trained in the craft of female impersonation. As women gradually gained access to the stage, the need for such artful impersonation diminished. Female impersonation in concert dance shifted toward the burlesque, with exaggerated characterizations. (Female impersonation stands in here for a whole range of diverse and contested terminology regarding the performance of gender.) Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, founded in 1974, knows and loves the ballet world and it knows and loves humor. The company of men performs abbreviated versions of classic ballets – both the male and female roles – to great comic effect and popular acclaim.

Over the 35-year history of the Trocks, as they are affectionately known, they have shifted from novelty act to serious art, all on their own terms. More than simply a historical analysis, this paper argues that the company has reinscribed concert dance history while at the same time dismantling the historical canon and rewriting it to include a history of embodied gender identities. In the 21st century, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo demonstrates multiple performances of gender, a thorough understanding of camp and parody, seriously researched dance history, all danced with wicked attention to dance technique and virtuosic performance.