Discover an All-Male Company in “Ballerina Boys” on AMERICAN MASTERS – June 4 at 9 pm< < Back to
American Masters Presents Ballerina Boys, a New Documentary on the Pioneering All-Male Comic Ballet Company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Premieres Friday, June 4 on PBS in honor of Pride Month
American Masters—Ballerina Boys is a portrait of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (“The Trocks”), an all-male ballet company and international dance sensation. For over 45 years the company has shared their signature style and message of equality, inclusion and social justice with audiences around the world. The men perform classical ballet en pointe and in drag, challenging the art form’s rigid gender norms as they mix rigorous technique with comedy and satire.
Inspired by the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the company was fueled by the spirit of defiance and creative exuberance that the gay rights movement unleashed. The film follows The Trocks on tour in the Carolinas, an epicenter of continued struggles for LGBTQ rights. American Masters—Ballerina Boys interweaves original interviews and contemporary and archival performance footage to tell the remarkable history of the company and culminates with The Trocks’ 2019 performance at the Stonewall 50th anniversary concert at Central Park’s SummerStage in New York City. In the words of ballerina Kevin Garcia, “Every time the curtain opens we represent progress for equality. We just do it dancing.”
About Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo:
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of ballet and modern dance repertoire, mixing their passion for classics with exuberant comedy. Their name is an homage to Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, a company that toured in the ’50s, introducing Americans in the heartland to classical Russian ballet. Founded in 1974, their first performances took place in a run-down hall on a plywood stage in New York City. Within a year they were touring the country and by the ’80s they were touring internationally. In the ’90s, the company lost half of their dancers to AIDS, but they pushed forward, energized by grief and the conviction that male ballerinas had something important to offer the world. The Trocks are now a celebrated institution and before the pandemic averaged over 150 shows a year around the world.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Key Facts:
- Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was co-founded by a group of ballet enthusiasts in 1974 to present a playful, entertaining view of classical ballet in parody form. The founders included Peter Anastos, Natch Taylor and Anthony Bassae.
- In 1975, Richard Avedon’s photo essay of The Trocks was published in Vogue.
- The Trocks have appeared in over 34 countries and over 600 cities worldwide.
- In the United States, the company has become a regular part of the college and university circuit, in addition to regular dance presentations in 49 states.
- The Trocks have participated in dance festivals worldwide including in Bodrum (Turkey), Bogota, Holland, Finland, San Luis Potosi, Madrid, Montreal, New York, Paris, Lyon, Rome, Spoleto, Turin, and Vienna.
- Television appearances include the Shirley MacLaine special Where Do We Go from Here?, The Dick Cavett Show, What’s My Line?, Real People, On-Stage America, Muppet Babies with Kermit and Miss Piggy, and a BBC omnibus special on the world of ballet hosted by Jennifer Saunders. There have been solo specials on national networks in Japan and Germany, as well as a French television special with Julia Migenes.
- The company continues to appear in benefits for international AIDS organizations such as Dancers Responding to AIDS and Classical Action in New York, the Life Ball in Vienna, Dancers for Life in Toronto, London’s Stonewall Gala and Germany’s AIDS Tanz Gala.