American Masters—Ballerina Boys

Air date: 06/04/2021

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


Availability:

American Masters—Ballerina Boys premieres nationwide Friday, June 4 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/americanmasters and the PBS Video app in honor of Pride Month.

Synopsis:
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.”

 

Interviewees:

  • Tory Dobrin, Artistic Director of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Peter Anastos, founding director/choreographer of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Eric Marcus, author and LGBTQ historian
  • Natch Taylor, former dancer, Artistic Director and founding member of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Roy Fialkow, former dancer with the Les Ballet des Trockadero de Monte Carlo
  • Kevin Garcia, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Albie Pretto, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Jack Furlong Jr., Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Chris Ouellette, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Duane Gosa, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Joshua Thake, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Boysie Dikobe, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer
  • Philip Martin-Nielson, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo dancer

 

Runtime: 60 minutes.

 

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
  • 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.

 

Short TV listing:

Discover The Trocks. Dancing on pointe shoes, these male ballerinas mix artistry and joyous comedy.

 

Long TV listing:

Discover Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (The Trocks), an all-male company that for 45 years has offered audiences their passion for ballet classics mixed with exuberant comedy. With every step they poke fun at their strictly gendered art form.

 

Series Overview:

Now in its 35th season on PBS, American Masters illuminates the lives and creative journeys of our nation’s most enduring artistic giants — those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape. Setting the standard for documentary film profiles, the series has earned widespread critical acclaim and 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 14 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of more than 250 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.

 

Production credits:
A production of Merrywidow Films in association with American Masters Pictures and ITVS. Directed and produced by Chana Gazit and Martie Barylick. Michael Kantor is executive producer of American Masters.

Underwriters:

Original episode production funding provided by Jody and John Arnhold, Emily Coward and Raphael Ginsberg, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation.

 

Support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith & Burton Resnick, The Cheryl & Philip Milstein family, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen & James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, The Ambrose Monell Foundation and public television viewers.

 

Websites: http://pbs.org/americanmasters, http://facebook.com/americanmasters, @PBSAmerMasters, http://youtube.com/AmericanMastersPBS, http://instagram.com/pbsamericanmasters #AmericanMastersPBS

 

About The WNET Group 

The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the nonprofit parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; and ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider. The WNET Group also operates NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network, and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. Community-supported, The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.

 

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Photos
For editorial use in North America only in conjunction with the direct publicity or promotion of AMERICAN MASTERS, no other rights are granted. All rights reserved. Downloading this image constitutes agreement to these terms.

Trocks performing "Swan Lake." Kevin Garcia (center). Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Dancer Kevin Garcia in "Swan Lake." Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Dancer Albie Pretto in rehearsal. Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Jordan Haywood.

Dancer Albie Pretto in rehearsal. Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Jordan Haywood.

Dancer Duane Gosa applies makeup backstage. Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Trocks lift dancer Josh Thake in "Stars and Stripes." Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Dancer Josh Thake high kicking in "Stars and Stripes." Courtesy "Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Duane Gosa (right) and Josh Thake (left) in "Stars and Stripes" standing back to back. Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Dancers Duane Gosa (right) and Josh Thake (left) in "Stars and Stripes." Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Dancer Duane Gosa in "Stars and Stripes." Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.

Row of four Trocks in "Swan Lake." Dancers from left to right: Long Zou, Noah Herron, Kevin Garcia, Jack Furlong Jr. Courtesy Merrywidow Films LLC Photographer credit: Laura Nespola.