Theater archives

Travesty Troupe Proves Boys Do Belong in Ballet—in Every Way


As everyone knows, Les Ballets Grandiva is a bunch of gender-bending guys who make their living channeling no lesser choreographers than Balanchine, Petipa, and Fokine—as well as lesser ones in the Soviet camp, to say nothing of Gerald Arpino. It’s common knowledge too that their ever expanding technical accomplishments as both ballerinas and cavaliers have become formidable (pronounce it the French way) and that they need to watch out for succumbing to mugging and pratfalls instead of letting their performance rest on wit, imagination, and a prodigal suspension of disbelief. I’m wondering, though, how many in the troupe’s audibly enthusiastic audience realize that these fellows offer one of the very best dance shows in town. They demonstrate essential dance qualities—a profound sense of rhythm, gorgeously shaped phrasing, palpable joy in motion, and lionhearted courage in performance—that one sees all too rarely these days in the highest temples of the art.