…after the Fall For Dance finale in the FFD lounge.
Top photo from the Trocks’ website; bottom photo (Grant is in back) by Sascha Vaughn, courtesy of City Center.
I was actually pretty proud of myself for recognizing him without his makeup on! After seeing them perform in the festival last weekend — they were my favorites from Program 3 — I did some research, particularly on Grant / aka Katerina Bychkova and found this interesting article, which happened to contain the only photo I could find of the guys not in costume (scroll down, on the right side); it wasn’t hard to figure out which one was him.
Anyway I was with my friends Michael and Taylor in the FFD lounge and, when I noticed him walking around I pointed him out to them. Michael initially wouldn’t believe me that he was the “big guy” — it’s really crazy how dancers DO always look so much smaller in person!! — but I was pretty sure. So of course outgoing as he is, Michael was soon off to confirm whether I was correct! After he did so, he made me and Taylor (both of us very very shy) go over and talk to him and some of the company people at his table.
And I’m happy we did. Mr. Grant was sooo nice! I love it when favorite dancers are all warm and fuzzy He’s the type of guy you feel like you could talk to forever.
Anyway, I liked all of the dancers — all of whom have superb classical technique and of course immense acting skills — but because Grant is the largest and had a main role, he stood out, and his body is naturally the most subversive for this kind of gender parody. At the festival, they performed Go For Barocco, one of the troupe’s earliest ballets, from 1974, a light spoof of several Balanchine ballets, including Concerto Barocco, after which the ballet is named. Here are some clips of it (which Grant isn’t in; he’s too new to the company):
I love their intentional humor — the way they present pretty, innocent ballerina faces to the audience but then get into little cat-fights with each other — but I also think in a way it’s more subversive when they dance seriously, especially when they dance Balanchine, who idolized / objectified women in so fervently declaring that “ballet is woman.” Ballet to him may have been woman, but of course one with a certain body type. When they do that, what I call a “group grapevine” so ubiquitous in Balanchine ballets (clip one around the 4:42-4:57 mark), of course their bodies are going to get all twisted around each other; that weaving in and out of each other in complicated patterns requires skinny, lithe little bodies. And those kind of showgirl-ish “strutting hip juts” (clip one: 3:56-4:12)– they don’t even need to give them any oomph; with their male bodies, they’re going to look different, and funny in a way you never noticed on, for example, the ballerinas in “Rubies.” I just can’t stop laughing at the 5:18 point on clip one — it’s so Balanchine taken to a hilariously ridiculous extreme. And I love the wrapping of the hands atop each other (clip two: 2:21-3:01) that here takes on lesbian undertones, which in Balanchine’s similar patterns and gestures looks innocuously sweetly girlish. They mean everything in good fun, but because it’s not completely off the wall, it makes you think, it makes you see things in a different way.
Anyway, unbelievably I haven’t seen this troupe since college. I don’t know how I’ve missed them all these years in New York but I’m definitely going to see them more often now.
More Fall For Dance reviews coming this week.