Reviews

Boys on tiptoe are tutu much

Hilary Ostlere, Financial Times
Posted on

The Trocks, as Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo are informally but universally known, have come a long way since the company was formed 30 years ago. The all-male troupe that originally danced rather too broad parodies of classic and modern ballets has developed a subtler approach – though there’s still plenty of spoofiness in such works as the Dying Swan, where a Pavlova-lookalike flutters through pillowcase-loads of feathers, and Go For Barocco, a witty send-up of Balanchine’s sometimes convoluted choreography.

Production levels have been raised and so have the troupe’s technical standards. These men really do dance on toe in a professional manner.

Robert Carter, who goes by the nom de plume of Olga Supphozova, can whip off multiple pirouettes and fouettés with triples and quadruples thrown in, a feat many an aspiring ballerina could envy.

He is not alone. Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) has a lightness of jump and the special kind of style required for Les Sylphides – but also has perfected a textbook of “don’ts” in facial expressions for ballerinas – breathlessly open lips, little silent oohs, doe-eyed glances and a smile of total triumph when jumping on to both toes simultaneously with the force of a pneumatic drill.

That the technical standards are impressive is amply demonstrated in a firecracker pas de deux based on Balanchine’s Tarantella, a nonstop display of tricky choreography danced very fast that also involves the artful use of tambourines.

Instead of being played for farce it is a genuine tour de force performed by Svetlana Lofatinka (Fernando Medina Gallego) and Vladimir Legupski (Lionel Droguet), with all the panache of the originals, if not perhaps their finished technique.

Tarantella almost eclipsed a new production, the underwater scene from The Humpback Horse, a vision of great shallowness with a corps de ballet undulating as seaweed and the indomitable Supphozova, whose Lana Turner smile never left her face. Plunging fearlessly into arabesques and fish dives, she proved once again that the Trocks can fill their pointe shoes, even when they are in men’s sizes.

Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Joyce Theater, New York. Tel +1 21 2242 0800