That sea of smiling faces in sold-out 2000 seat Zellerbach Hall at University of California, Berkeley on Tuesday evening had every reason to be giddy: After almost a decade away from Berkeley’s Cal Performances, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (The Trocks, for short) returned for an evening of dance parody, which wouldn’t have been half as funny if this all-male travesty troupe of 12 didn’t dance as well as they do.
The years (and there are four decades of them) have only seen standards rise with the Trocks; the pointe work is more than commendable. But the target remains whatever is over the top in dance, including the hilarious noms de ballet these guys assign themselves. The Trocks’ version of Act 2 of “Swan Lake” is both sidesplitting and, in some ways, more historically accurate than you might imagine. Elena Kunikova’s staging of Petipa’s “Paquita” keeps you chuckling, not least for the balances of Olga Supphozova while partnering Mikhail Mypansarov, and the gutsy corps work.
“Patterns in Space,” a newish Cunningham parody, skewers the preposterous music he used, but this choreographer’s work resists parody. Not so George Balanchine: Peter Anastos‘ “Go for Barocco,” a sophisticated send-up of Mr. B in his neoclassical black bathing suit period, defies the years with its angled hips and ludicrously intricate arm movements. Somebody, bring back the Trocks, soon.
Allan Ulrich is The San Francisco Chronicle‘s dance correspondent. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgSan Francisco Chronicle