A merry dance with the men in tutus

Kevin Kwong, South China Morning Post
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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Lyric Theatre, HK Academy for Performing Arts
Until May 20

Watching a bunch of hairy-chested and heavily made-up men dancing classical ballet in tutus may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is much more than just drag and lipstick.

Hailing from New York, Trocks (as the all-mail troupe is commonly known) is also about humour, the glamour of a bygone era and physical virtuosity.

It was fun from the word go, when a pre-show announcement (in a caricature Russian aaccent) gave the audience the programme rundown of the evening. So there was Marina Plezegetovstageskaya (Robert[o] Forleo) dancing Odette in Les Lac des Cygnes, Lariska Dumbchenko (Raffaele Morra) as Marie Taglione in Pas de Quatre and Ida Nevasayneva (Paul Ghiselin) in Dying Swan.

Other than the slapstick — dancers bumping into one another, knocking each other out, cat fighting and vying for the spotlight — what immediately held the audience’s attention was the technical brilliance of the dancers.

Forleo, and later, Morra (in Pas de Quatre and Raymonda’s Wedding) and Ghiselin all made dancing on point[e], traditionally reserved for female dancers, look effortless.

Their miming and acting also added much hilarity to the five-act show. The dancers poked fun at the traditional techniques that make ballet so physically challenging.

Chase Johnsey and Scott Austin performed Le Corsaire Pas de Deux more or less straight, featuring some impressive lifts, given the size of “ballerina” Yakatrina Verbosovich (Johnsey). It was definitely a highlight of the evening, together with Forleo as the love-struck Odette and Ghiselin, the feather-shedding but never quite dying swan.