He is known for being memorable, passionate, and electric. Charleston native, Robert Carter returns back to his hometown as a dancer in the show that is sweeping the globe. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, is the world’s foremost all-male comic ballet company. “The TROCKS” is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. The company started in 1974, after the Stonewall riots. During that time, drag started to come about and a small group of guys wanted to put on a dance show. Now, this show is still running and has been seen by millions of people, in over 600 cities and 40 countries worldwide.
Robert, one of the dancers on the show for almost 25 years, grew up in Charleston and began dancing at the young age of 7 ½. “My mother wanted me to try things she never got the chance to do,” Robert says. He started out training in a dance studio off Savannah Highway. Later, he worked with companies around town like at The Dock Street Theatre and The Musical Youth Company.
Growing up in Charleston was a typical childhood, until he saw the TROCKS show. “When I saw the show for the first time I was like,*gasp* OMG that’s what I want to do! There is a dance company with a bunch of guys and that’s want I want to be in.”
As he is planning a trip back to Charleston since moving to New York in the TROCKS show, we asked him what it was like growing up in Charleston as an LGBT youth. “Looking back, I had a fair share of bullying, I mean let’s face it, kids are cruel. However, I had a great support System. My mom and dance instructors pushed me to be tough. Dance has taught me to be brave and it gave me the push I needed. I would dance around in an empty dance studio practicing. I grew up training with mainly girls, being the only little boy in the class, and now 25 years later, here I am dancing on stages around the world in a tutu.”
Being in a world-famous show, Robert had some big pointe shoes to fill. “As anyone could understand, when something that you worked so long, for so many hours, and then suddenly, it is right in front of you. I was happy to be there! As someone of faith, I believe everything happens for a reason. Everything I have done in my life has led me to where I am now. I am now carrying the ambassador flag! We inspire people to love through dance.”
It’s no question that this show is breaking down walls and building bridges for the LGBT community. However, Les TROCKS still gets some backlash from people who don’t see eye to eye on this show.
“Well, sorry to break it you, but we are tougher than football players,” Robert says, “We do our shows and leave it to the viewer on how to take it. But when we do it, we bring everyone together, we bring laughter, humor, and love. We have a lot of love and we surprise them during the show. We are a male dance company. We are humans. We are humans teaching love through dance.”
Later on, we talked about what kind of tips he would give to the youth who are wanting to get into dance. Robert smiled and said, “Listen the world [it] is your oyster. Not to share my age, but back then we didn’t have social media. Now, there are so many ways you can find a group you can join to learn dance. Seek out a studio and keep in mind that some teachers might not be right for you, and that’s okay. Keep trying, and find someone you connect with. Also, never let anyone tell you can’t do anything. Put them in their place and show them you can!”
Les TROCKS is hitting the stage at the Gaillard on April 11. If you haven’t gotten your tickets, NOW is the time! Robert says, “No matter what side of the political rainbow you are on, this show is going to be a good time and a good laugh! After all, we are just men in wigs and tutus.”