Unlikely imposters en pointe

Jordan Beth Vincent, The Age, Melbourne
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Since their first performance in 1974, the Trocks have no doubt spent a veritable fortune on wigs, false eyelashes and those extra-large pointe shoes.  Over the past three decades, this all-male company has toured the world with a repertoire that covers Romantic ballet, American post-modern dance, neoclassicism a la George Balanchine and even a good-natured homage to Riverdance.

The dancers have male and female stage names in honour of the Ballets Russes tradition of pasting an ì-inskyî to the surnames of non-Russian dancers, and nothing is lost by the likes of Nina Enimenimynimova, Irina Kolesterolikova and Marina Plezegetovstageskaya.

The program opens with Giselle (Act II), featuring a ruckman-sized Queen of the Wilis (Joseph Jeffries).  Her minions are crazed, decaying monsters with the telltale stiffness of either rigor mortis or severe arthritis.

Following this foray into 19th-century Romanticism comes Patterns in Space, inspired by Merce Cunningham, and accompanied by a hilarious Trockadero take on the post-modernist musical compositions of John Cage. The company lets loose Balanchine-style with Go for Barocco and Stars & Stripes pas de deux, and Ida Nevasayneva (Paul Ghiselin) returns from retirement to reprise her Dying Swan, complete with moulting feathers and extended curtain call.

As is true with any parody, a familiarity with the subject certainly enhances the enjoyment of the performance.  However, the Trocks combine impressive technical dancing with good-natured humour, accessible jokes and a qhack of slapstick that will elicit a giggle from even the most stoic audience member.