Men in tights dazzle with ‘Trockadero’

The Post and Courier
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Even before the lights went down in Gaillard Auditorium on Friday night, the large crowd was laughing out loud at the very names of the members of “Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo,” announced in a genuine imitation of a fake Russian accent.

In a signature version of Act II of “Le Lac des Cynges (Swan Lake),” as breathtakingly beautiful as it was uproariously funny, Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow, for example, danced Prince Siegfried.

The classical ballet moves, from soaring lifts to perfectly executed fouettes to precision work en pointe, are faster than ever you’ve seen, more graceful than The Trocks’ female counterparts, and infinitely more entertaining.

That their toe shoes are upwards of size tens quickly becomes irrelevant, together with the gender of these dazzlingly sculpted bodies.

Because these original “Men in Tights” are consummately gifted and disciplined in this demanding art form, the almost non-stop high jinks are by contrast that much wittier, unexpected, and thoroughly engaging.

The flirting and mugging, pratfalls and collisions, the sudden hip-hop or square-dancing move bespeaks the choreographer’s clever inventiveness as well as the personalities of every one in this company.

“Patterns in Space,” with “choreography after Merce Cunningham, live music by John Cage” featured three dancers with musicians Lariska Dumbchenko and Yuri Smirnov. This spot-on spoof of modern dance and contemporary music featured heavenly bodies and heavily miked kazoo, barnyard animal sounds and gargling, just for starters.

“Go for Barocco,” danced to J.S. Bach, was the crown jewel in this very intense show, while “Paquita” starred our own brilliant native son, Robert Carter.

Make no mistake: Bewigged, tighted and untucked in tutus though they be, this unique corps de ballet grabs your heart with their liquid elegance and your funnybone with their unparalleled comic genius.