Review: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Peter Tonguette, The Columbus Dispatch
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When male dancers take to the stage in toe shoes, it is tempting to laugh.

Last night, in a performance by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the audience in the Ohio Theatre did just that. Yet there was more to the evening than guffaws alone.

In its first appearance in Columbus in six years, the all-male troupe — which casts its members in female roles — displayed dexterous dancing in addition to its signature sense of humor.

The Trocks tend to perform in a straightforward manner before self-destructing with high jinks, such as when one swan knocks over another in a selection from “Swan Lake” (seen in Act I). Slipping is not uncommon.

Yet the skill of the troupe — which ably executes moves meant for females, like fouettes and pique turns — is so strong that you can be sure that any flubs are intentional.

Recreating a passage from “Swan Lake,” four swans danced with hands interlocked until coordination was lost thanks to a distracted swan on the far right.

Sure-footed dancing and comic effects continued in Act II, in which a largely serious (and sensationally danced) interpretation of “Le Corsaire” was followed by a tongue-in-cheek spin on “La Esmeralda,” with wild-haired gypsies and several annoying tambourines.

The showstopper of Act II was Duane Gosa performing as the Dying Swan. Gosa — who grew up in central Ohio — endeavored to dance while his tutu shed feathers, perplexed by this classical-ballet equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction. Best of all was Gosa’s protracted exit, in which the dancer implored the audience for additional applause — a parody of the haughtiness of prima ballerinas.

Act III featured selections from “Don Quixote.” As the couple Basil and Kitri, Matthew Poppe and Carlos Hopuy exuded elegance and athleticism. As many dance troupes focus on contemporary works, the Trocks still relish the great story ballets. Feel free to laugh — but don’t forget to applaud their terrific technique.

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