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Ballerina Boys

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“The Trocks” are some of the world’s most beautiful dancers—male ballerinas who take great risks to present their dazzling ballet parody. Full of beauty and fun, “Ballerina Boys” seduces viewers into facing issues of gender, inclusion, and social justice.

Running Time: 53 min.
Subject(s): Arts and Culture, Diversity, LGBT, Social Justice
Language(s): English
Subtitles: English
Director(s):
Producer(s): Chana Gazit, Martie Barylick
Cinematographer: Claudia Raschke
Editor(s): E. Donna Shepherd
Production Company: Merrywidow Films in association with American Masters Pictures and ITVS

Press

  • Principal Ballerina American Ballet Theater
    “Ballerina Boys” isn’t just a beautifully documented history of the groundbreaking Les Ballets Trockadero, it’s a reflection of the ballet world. All that ballet has been, is and should strive to be. The reach this company has had for decades in exposing so many to ballet, is a testament to the necessity of diversity, inclusion, love, passion and humor in the arts. The Trocks have been innovative boundary breaking leaders for over 40 years and this is a well deserved celebration of their impact.
    Misty Copeland
  • Corvino Ballet
    Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has survived many decades due in part to its sincere desire to deliver to its audience respect and admiration for the conventions that make up the world of ballet. If you are interested in dance, and even more, if you are passionate about the human spirit, see “Ballerina Boys!”
    Andra Corvin
  • DBI Inc. Ballet impresario
    Tory Dobrin is the only working artistic director who embodies his institution's history. That is why the Trocks are always dancing their own survival saga, carrying into the performances the Stonewall Riots, the misery of AIDS, and the tradition of drag as resistance.
    Nobu Kumamoto
  • Director of the Jerome Robbins Foundation
    And what better time than now to show how the art of dance through Les Ballets Trockadero, against all odds and against so many stereotypes that still exist today, can provide us beauty, make us cry and make us laugh.
    Allen Greenberg
  • Associate Director, The New York Public Library of the Performing Arts
    Funny and poignant, the film pays timely homage to the performers of the Trocks who transcend gender tropes with technique, charisma and devotion that rivals any ballet company.
    Linda Murra
  • Producer, LOVETT STORIES + STRATEGIES
    Bravo to “Ballerina Boys!” This exquisitely shot and masterfully edited fun-packed film is much more than an opportunity to laugh and love. The dancers’ challenge to traditional gender roles helps us to better understand and accept the growing gender identification revolution that has fascinated and confused so many people today. Don’t miss this moving film!
    Joseph Lovett

Festival Participation

  • Houston World Fest - 2021
    Silver Remi award

Distribution Company

  • “Every time the curtain opens we represent progress for equality. We just do it dancing.” –Kevin Garcia, Trockadero ballerina

    “Ballerina Boys” is a portrait of an artistic institution that has brought to the world some of its most beautiful ballerinas. They are the men of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a company of dancers who challenge the traditions of ballet art. This is a beautiful and funny film, yet it asks viewers to face issues of gender, inclusion, and social justice.

    For forty-five years “The Trocks” have, in their fanatic adoration of classical ballet, overturned many of its strictures: that ballerinas are women, that ballet is highly serious, that it’s an endeavor for white people, and that it is meant only for high-brow audiences. And while the Trocks have messed with the rules, the one rule they have preserved is that ballet must be difficult. What they do just as well as female ballerinas is dance on pointe – an astonishing feat for their male bodies. These dancers – who mix mastery of many ballet styles with physical comedy and acute satire – are changing the world one pirouette at a time.

    “Ballerina Boys” travels with the Trocks on a bus tour to the Carolinas, the epicenter of efforts to walk back LGBTQ rights. On that trip, the dancers reveal how, by way of wrenching personal histories, they found their serendipitous pathways to the Company. The film interweaves this tour, the backstories of three main characters, and the survival story of the Company itself.

    Inspired by the spontaneous kicklines that materialized during the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the Company was fueled by a spirit of defiance and creative exuberance unleashed by the blossoming gay rights movement. They named themselves Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an homage to Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, a company that toured the country in the ‘50’s, introducing Americans in the heartland to classical Russian ballet. (As a matter of fact, an intrinsic aspect of the Trocks’ comedy is giving each dancer a preposterous fake-Russian stage name.) Their first performances took place in a run-down meeting hall on a plywood stage. Not content to be consigned to the fringe of the dance world, within a year they set out to tour the country. At a time when a man wearing women’s clothes violated the law in many states, the Trocks were forced to ask the question: where can we be safe?

    Much to their amazement, their blend of expert technique and joyful “homage” caught on. By 1980, they were touring not only the country but the world. Then, like a tsunami, came AIDS. The 90’s were full of unimaginable heartbreak – as more than half the dancers died. But the company pushed forward, energized by grief and the conviction that male ballerinas had something important to offer the world. This was the moment when the Company should not have survived. But survive it did.

    While many dance companies folded over the next 25 years, the Trocks continued touring and growing as an institution. Dancers mastered dozens of ballets, performing 150 shows a year. The days of grungy lofts are long gone; the Trocks now grace grand opera houses around the world.

    The film’s half-century historical arc culminates with the Trocks’ gala performance at Central Park’s Stonewall 50th Anniversary Concert, where they danced “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Their version of George Balanchine’s 1958 military ballet features John Philip Sousa marches and—of course—a kickline. New York City cheered as fifteen drag queens in red, white, and blue tutus flaunted their stunning technique and exulted in a moment of unabashed patriotism. The world will love these heroes who do actually wear tights. 

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