A group of professional male dancers in tutus dancing en pointe – the idea is enough to make you giggle and the reality played out on His Majesty’s stage had the audience in fits of laughter.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo or, The Trocks, as they are affectionately known, were founded in 1974 in New York by a group of dancers who wanted to parody classical ballet. They are now a company made up of dancers from all over the world, one of whom is an Australian, Christopher Lam – or as he is known on stage – Nadezhda Bogdownova.
The program opened with the world’s best known ballet, Act II of Swan Lake. Fake thunder, a toy swan, big wigs and big-shouldered men in beautiful dresses made this traditional dance extremely comical but didn’t mask the undeniable skill and mastery of technique. Pirouettes and en pointe were flawlessly executed amidst the clownery and slapstick.
Three dances followed and each one showcased new ways of men performing female dances. I particularly enjoyed Patterns in Space, a laugh at postmodern dance with random movements, a suitcase full of noises and a very tall man in a caramel-coloured velour bodysuit. Go for Barocco and Cuba in Majisimas followed, performed to the music of the 19th century opera El Cid by a group of resplendent bullfighters and Spanish maidens.
The costumes were stunningly over-the-top with feathers, tiaras, fascinators and frills – it must be hilarious fitting some of the broader dancers into these costumes. The Trocks’ collective suitcase includes 75 costumes, 150 pairs of toe shoes and 100 sets of eyelashes.
If you’re a fan of slapstick and send-ups, I would highly recommend this show. I appreciated the idea of sending up the conventions of traditional ballet even though I found myself longing for a pretty prima donna (one without chest hair sprouting from the top of her dress) to arrive onstage. It was a fantastic show, full of laughs and entertainment and will make a talking point at work next week.
THE TROCKS - Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Venue: His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth
Dates: Wed 18 – Sun 22 Nov, 8pm
Matinees: Sat 21 – Sun 22 Nov, 3pm
Bookings: BOCS Ticketing 9484 1133 | www.bocsticketing.com.au