Trock `n' Roll.
They're back! The wigs are better, and so is the dancing. Trockadero Artistic Director Tory Dobrin has assembled fifteen talented dancers, and Ballet Mistress Pamela Pribisco has assiduously drilled their thirty personas. (Each has a male and a female identity.) Their chief technical flaw is that they sometimes get so excited by the applause they evoke that they don't nail the finishes on big turns.
The Trocks' warhorse, Swan Lake Act II (with choreography after Lev Ivanov), is still trotting. Here it starred a more muscular than lyrical--though technically sure--Sveltlana Lofatkina (Fernando Medina Gallego) as Odette and stalwart Pepe Dufka (Raffaele Morra) as her Prince Siegfried. Much of the comedy worked: Tiny Igor Slowpokin (Manolo Molina), as Siegfried's confidante Benno, made a huffy exit, tripping ignominiously over a kneeling swan and in chagrin, gave her a kick. But wrong-way swans, withering glares, and pratfalls begged so broadly for laughs that one longed for less.
Agnes de Mille's 1928 solo Debut at the Opera, a trifle reconstructed by Janet Eilber and set to Delibes's music, was wrung for comedy by veteran Trock Ida Nevasayneva (Paul Ghiselin) in a Degasesque saffron tutu. She played a nervous young dancer, backstage, who keeps adjusting her painful toe shoe and falling out of pirouettes as she anticipates her auspicious first entrance. Spiky Nevasayneva also danced her signature role, The Dying Swan, hysterically milking the pathos and the curtain calls, topping the most histrionic of Russian divas
The grand pas de deux from Robert La Fosse's Stars and Stripes Forever was an unannounced bonus. Sturdy "virtuosa" Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter) was partnered by one of the three Legupski brothers--Dimitri (Ari Mayzick), to be precise. He's a sweet pup with a mean back-flip, and Supphozova's fouette turns with triple (count 'em!) pirouettes in between stopped the show.
"Pas de Trois des Odalisques" from Petipa's Le Corsaire was a showpiece for Lariska Dumbchenko (Morra), Colette Adae (Jason Hadley), and Supphozova. They went for broke with technically tough variations that could give ABT a run for its money. In Fokine's Les Sylphides, the only man, poetically emaciated Vladimir Legupski (Raymell Jamison), who looked nothing like his brothers Dimitri and Nikolai), was so disengaged that his barrel-chested partner, Margeaux Mundeyn (Yonny Manaure), had trouble getting him to partner her.
Petipa's Paquita is a carnival of tricky variations by five etoiles: Nadia Rombova (Jai Williams), Maria Paranova (Jamison), Fifi Barkova (Molina), Sylphia Belchick (Carlos Garcia), and go-to gal Supphozova, backed by a classy corps, including Gerd Tord (Bernd Burgmaier), Maria Gertrudes Clubfoot (Edgar Cortes), Yurika Sakitumi (Hiroto Natori), and Elena Kumonova (Grant Thomas). Resident costume designer Mike Gonzales, who has infinitely enhanced the wardrobe overall, outdid himself with luscious tutus. Kip Marsh's and Tricia Tolliver's crisp lighting highlighted their rich hues.