ictor Trevino, Lead Dancer and Creative Director of Men In Pink Tights, tells us about the upcoming performance at the Glasshouse. Audiences will experience the amazing spectacle of traditional ballet coupled with the side splitting humour of this all male cast … most of whom are in tutus!
This looks like it’s going to be a fun show!
It is a fun show! People have been laughing a clapping all across Australia.
So you are on tour already?
Yes, we are. We have done 19 shows already and will visit Port Macquarie on May 29!
Tell us about your role as Lead Dancer and Creative Director of the show.
Well, my role is to look for people who are funny and can dance on their toes and can make the audience laugh. We look for talented dancers who are willing to put on a tutu and are able to make the audience laugh – which is a difficult task!
Now just clarify for me, this is an all gentlemen’s cast, correct?
Yes, it is all gentlemen. I have a cast from all around the world, including Chile, Columbia, Argentina, the Philippines, the USA, Puerto Rico.
And they are all trained classically?
Yes, they are all trained classically. They are all hoping to do something a little bit different.
But it’s not a drag show?
No, it’s not a drag show really …
We are playing female characters, but that is just the starting point. You know, that fact that we are in makeup and dancing on our toes and wearing tutus and wigs is just the beginning. I mean, if that was all we did, the show would get boring after three or four minutes …
How hard technically is it for the male cast to perform the female dances – and in pointe shoes?!
Well, it is the same exact steps (for the male dancers) as what the female would do, but on their toes. It takes years of training to learn to walk on their toes and to be able to do this kind of work, but there are not that many people on the planet who have decided that this is viable work for them (laughs).
So what prompted the tour of Australia, considering Les Ballets has been on Broadway for so long?
I had been here about five years ago, and we had a great tour with great audiences. I just thought I would really love to return to Australia and to see it again.
Also, this is a new cast. More than half of them were not with me last time, and the show has changed. So it has been re-worked, there are new jokes and other things going on.
I thought it would be fun to see the world again!
There is a large repertoire in the show.How do you combine the ballet with the comedy?
Well, basically we take each ballet and think it through and think what would be funny. Some of the stories are funny, and with some of them there is not much of a story, but there are certain personalities who are funny. You know, when we perform them (the ballets), I let the dancers interact with each other and develop their own bit to go into it.
But they layer that on top of the choreography – the steps. A lot of the steps are exactly the steps that a ‘traditional’ dance company would do. So, it is pretty hard they have to be doing the same steps and on top of that, telling jokes.
Where does the script come from for the jokes?
Well, it is all physical humour – there is no talking. Some of the jokes are choreographed, so they are built into the show itself. There is also room for each artist to interject their own personality and their own way of making people laugh into the show. So, I allow them room … on occasion they go too far, but at the end of the day, as long as they make people laugh.
It has been described as side splitting humour …
There are a lot of people laughing in the audience! So far we haven’t had anyone with any frowns on their faces (laughs).
So, essentially who will the show appeal to – the traditional ballet goers, or comedy lovers?
I think the show appeals to a really broad audience. We have people who have never been to dance before, and they will say this a great way to break into seeing classical dance for your first time, as I think most people think, “Oh classical dance … there’s going to be a little bit too much culture going on for me”.
But this is a great way to come to the theatre and see what dance is about and have a good time. We also have people come who know a lot about dance, as they appreciate the show on a different level. Children, adults, couples – it is really just about everybody.
So it is suitable for younger audiences?
Yes, it is very suitable for them. If there are kids who are taking dance, then they are really going to appreciate this, because they will know how hard the work is that’s going on, on stage. The dancers make it look really easy.
So after you come to visit us, what is next?
We are looking to go to Malaysia and Japan this year and continue to add new repertoire, go to new places and make people laugh globally. That’s really it … to bring dance to as many communities as we can and convince people that dance is fun.
Any final words?
I think last time we came through NSW we had a dancer from Port Macquarie on our tour – his name was Darren McIntyre. He is in Alabama now running a company there, so he is not with us this time, but he did perform for a month or month and a half with us last tour.
Thanks Victor. Can’t wait to see the show!
This story was published in issue 78 of Port Macquarie Focus