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December 06, 2016
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Men in tights; Trockadero dancer Philip Martin-Nielson guest teaches at The Dance Center

Students at The Dance Center pose with guest teacher Philip Martin-Nielson.
Contributed photos

The spoofs are many. When a dancer accomplishes the difficult feat of doing the dreaded 32 fouettés, seen in “Swan Lake” and “Don Quixote,” they just want to pump their fists and cheer. So, that’s what they do in Trockadero. A ballet dancer falls, a lot. So, they put that in. During a pas de deux (a dance with two people) the female dancer will dramatically run toward the male dancer. Instead, in Trockadero, they somersault toward them. They are all at once subtle and theatrical, and always hilarious (just watch some YouTube videos). Martin-Nielson said that during his first performance he almost had to go off stage because he was laughing so hard.

Another big aspect of the company is the hair and makeup, emphasis on the big. Martin-Neilson says they have artistic freedom and can do it themselves. They can choose the color of their wig and have their lashes as long as they want, but they have to wear red lipstick. After his master class, he taught the students how to do stage makeup. Katie Krause of Matamoras, PA, said it was “A much-needed stage makeup session and another wonderful learning experience.”

Don’t be fooled, behind the wigs, makeup and jokes are renowned dancers who have had extensive training and are world-class ballet dancers.

The students at The Dance Center enjoyed Martin-Nielson’s class. Margaret Polatnick, a 13-year-old from Shohola, PA, said, “I had a really fun time. It wasn’t scary; he was extremely fun to be around and made a lot of jokes.” After the class, they watched him tie up his pointe shoes and rehearse some of his repertoire, such as “The Dying Swan.” Martin-Neilson served as an inspiration to them, proving it’s possible to do what you love.

“I’m going to stay with Trockadero for a long time because I’m very happy here,” he said. “I get to see the world, and I get to do what I love and have fun doing it.”