You don’t have to be a ballet expert to enjoy the wonder that is The Trocks, but a little ballet knowledge will go a long way to helping you enjoy some of the more esoteric humour.
Here’s a little run down of the ballets that the troupe will be taking on, to get you started.
Everyone knows this one. A lonely prince is ordered to marry by his imperious mother, lest he falls into eternal bachelorhood with his best buddy, Benno. Throw in an evil sorcerer, a flock of swans and a cursed princess and you have the world’s most famous ballet. The Trocks dive straight to action on the lake in Act II, where Prince Siegfried and the Swan Queen Odette finally meet.
Here we have a little in joke from the Trocks. La Trovatiara does not exist outside the world of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Set to some luscious music by Giuseppe Verdi, the choreography takes everything nonsensical about the opera ballets of yesteryear (when ballet was nothing more than something for bored opera patrons to look at in between scenes) and turns it into something quite Trock-tastic.
The Little Humpback Horse
Not actually a joke, there really is a ballet about a magical horse. Based on the fairytale by Russian poet Pyotr Yershov, The Little Humpback Horse follows the adventures of Ivanushka and his equine companion as he defeats evil, marries a Tsarina and becomes Tsar himself. It’s utterly bonkers.
Not to be confused with the similarly named, but significantly older ballet, La Sylphide. There are no Scottish Baronial manors or flying kilts here. Based on the original choreography by Belle Époque-era choreographer Michel Fokine, Les Sylphides dispenses with story and goes straight to a signature part of any classical ballet – ‘the white act’ (think Swan Lake’s swans, Giselle’s Willis and Bayadere’s The Kingdom of the Shades – ethereal and atmospheric, and just a little bit spooky).
Alternatively titled, The Fisherman and His Bride, Napoli was created in 1842 and is one of the oldest ballets still being danced (only beaten by the grande dame, Giselle, by a single year). Choreographed by August Bournonville, whose work is renowned the world over for his bouncy, light and very Danish style, Napoli is his take on Italian culture, with lots of happy townsfolk dancing in the streets, storms, attempted suicide and a hefty dose of Catholicism. Don’t worry, there’s a happy ending.
One of the old Imperial ballets choreographed by Marius Petipa (he of Swan Lake and Nutcracker fame), Raymonda is a ballet that defies explanation. And because of this, it is rarely performed in full. Most companies plump for just the third act which is full of fabulous Hungarian(ish) dancing and a wedding. You just need to know that our heroine, Raymonda, is very much in love with Jean de Brienne, and she’s gone through a bit of an ordeal in order to get married.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo perform at The Peacock from 11 – 22 Sept. Tickets are available now priced from £15. To book, call the Ticket Office on 020 7863 8222 or book online.