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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Joyce Theater, August 17-23, 1998.


It is possible, when delighting in the ramrod verticality of pique turns performed by Margeaux Mundeyn (Yonny Manaure), the subtle shading of epaulement by Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter), or the perfectly arched foot of Ida Nevasayneva (Paul Ghiselin), to forget that the ballerinas of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo are men. When they achieve this perfection of classical form, or even when their concentration is markedly fixed on the dancing, what they do transcends travesty.

But it is difficult to know if the audience appreciates those moments or if it prefers the campy imitation of mannerisms and the embellishment of balletic cliches that are a signature of the company's style. At its best the company finds a balance between the two.

In Elena Kunikova's staging of Arthur Saint-Leon's 1844 ballet, La Vivandiere, a New York premiere, the gentle tilt of the ballerinas' heads and their delicately rounded port de bras exuded romanticism. And the buoyant fast footwork and traveling enchainements, replete with bounding leaps, conveyed the spirit of mid-nineteenth-century allegro. However, principal dancer Svetlana Lofatkina's exaggerated extensions contradicted the sweet modesty of this style. Most of the humor in this ballet was generated by the disparate sizes of Lofatkina (Lev Radchenko) at six feet and her five-foot-tall danseur, Igor Slowpokin (Manolo Molina), something that did not distract them in the least. Supporting his ballerina in a developpe a la seconde, Slowpokin then circled her, elegantly passing beneath her extended leg.

Stars & Stripes Forever, seen here for the first time in its full version, was an inspired reduction of George Balanchine's Stars and Stripes. Robert La Fosse, a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, choreographed the work, effectively transposing essential Balanchineisms but investing the ballet with its own vitality. In the First Campaign, the company of giddy majorettes marched in and out of the familiar inverted triangle in beguiling, parallel piques passes. And whenever they came off pointe, their steps were initiated by the proverbial hips thrust forward.

La Fosse's pas de deux, alluding to Balanchine but with a choreographic vitality of its own, balanced technical demands and choreographic invention in the liveliest duet on the program. It was a perfect vehicle for the arch performance of Supphozova, partnered by an alternately rambunctious and petrified Mikolojus Vatissneyn (Kenneth Busbin). The Second Campaign, in which Lofatkina managed that infamous deep plie on pointe in Second Position, concluded the ballet with flashing lights, an American flag, grands battements, grands battements, and more grands battements.

Also on the program were Le Lac des Cygnes (Swan Lake Act II), Alexander Gorsky's Grand Pas Classique, and an "After Fokine" version of The Dying Swan.
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Author:Thom, Rose Anne
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 1998
Previous Article:Miami City Ballet, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga, New York, August 21-22, 1998.
Next Article:Fosse: A Celebration in Song and Dance.

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