On January 27, after a hilarious performance by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at the Granada Theatre, UCSB Arts & Lectures major donors got to schmooze with the dancers upstairs in the elegant Founders Room. This all-male dance company performs comic renditions of pieces from classic ballet, modern dance, and more. Its versions of Swan Lake and Raymonda’s Wedding were especially amusing, but the entire performance was quite entertaining.
During a short program at the post-performance gathering, Miller McCune Executive Director Celesta Billeci welcomed Producers Circle members and thanked the event’s sponsors, Daniel and Mandy Hochman and Sara Miller McCune. Ballet Master Raffaele Morra, who has been with the Trocks for 18 years, related how the company, formed in 1974, is based in New York and its only relationship to Monte Carlo is having had the honor to perform there once for the royal family. While waiting for the dancers to arrive, Morra explained that the process for dancers to put on and take off make-up is quite intensive, taking 1 1/2 hours and 1/2 hour respectively.
Morra shared that he views the international composition of the troupe as one of its greatest strengths, allowing it to draw on ideas and senses of humor from dancers from around the world. Several of the dancers volunteered where they came from: Canary Islands, China, Spain, Japan, Ohio (to much laughter), Colombia . . . . Ages of the dancers range from 21 to 44. Finding pointe shoes, according to Morra, can be challenging for troupe members, though everyone manages to make standard shoes fit through widening and strengthening adjustments.
As often is the case with an Arts & Lectures main performance, there were a couple of interesting related events. As part of its extensive education program, Arts & Lectures arranged for some lucky UCSB first year theater/dance students to have a make-up demonstration with Trock member Robert Carter (Olga Supphozova). And as part of its Thematic Learning Initiative, Arts & Lectures hosted a free screening at UCSB Campbell Hall of the documentary about the Trocks, Rebels On Pointe.
For more info about UCSB Arts & Lectures, go to artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
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