Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Queer Money

Aug 15, 2017

You can dance if you want to. And wear a tutu, too! Robert Carter is a dancer with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male drag ballet company that pays tribute to – and pokes fun at – the classical Russian stars of dance. The male dancers portray ballerinas (with great names like Ida Nevaseyneva), using their incredible athleticism to dance on pointe and exaggerate traditional choreography for comic effect. Robert was one of four dancers in the company featured in the documentary Rebels on Pointe, a Bobbi Jo Hart film revealing the history of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Robert Carter’s story runs parallel to that of the fictional Billy Elliot. He grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, in a working-class family. His mother made sure that he and his sisters were exposed to the arts, and Robert was involved in community theatre at a very early age. The man who would become his dance teacher noticed him singing a solo at the Spoleto Festival and approached Robert’s mother to offer the opportunity for ballet lessons. Robert attended his first class when he was seven, and he has been dancing ever since. After high school, Robert received a scholarship to take a summer course in New York with the Joffrey Ballet School. His impressive resume also includes roles with the Bay Ballet Theatre, the Florence Civic Ballet, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble. Robert joined Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in 1995, and in his 23 years with the company, he has performed at some of the grandest venues in the world, including the Bolshoi Theatre and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo. Today he shares his journey from Charleston to New York and beyond, explaining the challenges of being gay in the South, the message of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and his experience being featured in the documentary film about the company. Topics Covered • The origin of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo • How Robert got into ballet as a boy in South Carolina • How Robert’s father reacted to his desire to dance • Offended by prospect • How Robert coped with being a gay man in the South • Robert’s journey to NYC • The bias that pointe work is only for women • The message of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo • The Trockadero documentary, Rebels on Pointe • The physical demands of dancing with the Trocks • The benefits of pointe work for male dancers • Where the Trocks get their pointe shoes • Robert’s favorite ballerinas • The importance of acting ability in ballet • How to encourage more boys to do ballet • Why it’s acceptable to start ballet as an adult • Robert’s plans for the future