It’s a classic tale of struggle and determination, of hard work and enterprise, of the journey from a small town to the big city. It’s the tale of the passage from the East to the West, and of the transformation of a young Chinese boy into, well, a ballerina. More precisely (say it slowly), into Nina Enimenimynimova. Now say it faster: EE-née-MEE-née-MIN-i-MOH-va.
That’s the stage name for Long Zou, the youngest dancer in Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male company that has achieved worldwide fame by putting its dancers on point and in tutus to romp through some of ballet’s most famous works. The ensuing comedy comes from the conceit that this is an old-fashioned Russian ballet company, full of larger-than-life divas (complete with stage names) and overblown egos. But the Trocks, as they are usually called, also pay loving homage to the cult of the ballerina and faithful attention to choreography, often performing historical gems little seen elsewhere.
It seems an unlikely job for Mr. Zou, 21, whose upbringing and training involved little exposure to anything other than traditional ballet, and whose rapier-sharp technique and youth would probably have easily won him a job in a conventional ballet company.
“In the old days it was an older crowd that came to dance with us towards the end of their careers,” said Tory Dobrin, the company’s artistic director, during a rehearsal at the 42nd Street Studios on Monday. “In my generation joining the Trocks was a career wrecker; now we are getting dancers out of the academies.”
Mr. Dobrin attributes the change to social and cultural adaptation to homosexuality over the last decades.
“When we started we were a cult attraction,” he said. “Thirty years later we have been seen in 500 towns all over the world. Most dancers have seen us, on video if not live.”
carry on reading via Long Zou, Youngest Dancer in Ballets Trockadero — NYTimes.com
Photo credit: Sascha Vaughan