“REBELS ON POINTE”
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Documentary Filmmaker Bobbie Jo Hart brings us an affectionate profile by Canadian award-winning documentarian Bobbi Jo Hart of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an American all-male proudly gay Ballet Company corps that presents parodies of romantic and classical ballet. This is a cinema vérité approach that not only takes us behind the scenes but also on the road as they go on their world tour.
We begin with their history of 43 years from the time the company gave late night cabaret performances in a loft in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. It’s current Artistic Director Tony Dobrin began as a dancer in 1980 with Company and is now regarded as a father by the very international group of young performers. Dobrin explains how the Trocks, as they are fondly referred too, strive to provide the diversity that has always been missing from traditional ballet companies.
When the company began they were shunned by all the grant-giving foundations and because of that they have had to do whatever they could to survive. When the AIDS pandemic hit New York very hard, it was terrible for the company and Dobrin’s own partner was one of the people they lost. There is a lot of talent in the group talent and we see that when they pirouette around the stage on pointe with the same elegance as any prima ballerina. Playing all the roles in each ballet makes it a little tough on the dancer playing the male role and having to lift a heavier than normal ballerina. Whilst all are capable of performing ballets with such grace and precision, it is the humor and parody that they add that brings them audiences.
The dancers themselves are quite a group of men of different shapes and sizes and ages too, and like any collective of gay men that are literally together for so much of their day, they have bonded like a real family. By the time The Trocks celebrated their 40th Anniversary it had three married gay couples in its company.
There is one standout oddity of the movie; an overly earnest Scottish Dance Critic and what she has to say about the Trocks and the state of ballet in general. This is atypical from the type of commentator who pompously and rather patronizingly tries so to intellectualize art, and unintentionally, it becomes very funny. The Trocks are regarded as one of the founding institutions in LGBT history, and we see that the reason they are highly regarded is because of passion for dance and life in general both on and off-stage. .