In a comedy drag ballet show, it’s no surprise that the corps de ballet bump into each other. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, commonly known as the Trocks, take those basic jokes to dizzying heights. The corps dancers try so hard not to hit each other, wincing in horror as they see it coming. When disaster finally strikes, they have a glorious range of reactions, from anxious apology to passive-aggressive flouncing to the full-on diva strop.
Now regular visitors to the UK, this New York-based company take comedy and dancing very, very seriously. They really can dance on pointe, holding balances and turning thoroughly efficient pirouettes. When they revive real ballets, the core of the traditional choreography is there. Then they have fun with it.
In ChopEniana – known in the West as Les Sylphides, but how like this company to stick to the Russian name – the corps sink into graceful attitudes, kneeling or reclining. One of them gets too comfy, curling up and going to sleep. Her horrified neighbour taps her gently, makes increasingly frantic prods, and finally wakes her up with a hard kick.
Meanwhile, ballerina Lariska Dumchenko (danced by Raffaele Morra) struggles with a particularly blank partner. The one man in this ballet has to look poetically at this ethereal vision; Andrei Verikose (danced by Brock Hayhoe) suggests he’s too short-sighted to actually see them. Making a leisurely exit, he doesn’t notice the soloist pacing impatiently in his wake.
Morra and Fernando Medina Gallego demurely rattle found objects, shaking pill boxes or banging cutlery. As they continue – still deadpan, with This Is Art expressions – they use evermore unlikely instruments, from paper bags to egg whisks. Gallego spends whole minutes putting a recorder together, for a single weedy toot. Their timing is blissful.