Thursday night, the audience at Meany Hall was treated to a bravura performance of the classic “Don Quixote” pas de deux, complete with soaring leaps, dramatic partnering and spot-on spins. Oh, and a somersault, and a perfectly timed mishap with a handheld fan, and a ballerina who affectionately patted her partner on the head after a particularly grueling lift.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo bourréed into town this week with its own special blend of classical ballet and goofball comedy, delighting an audience who would have been happy to see “the Trocks” dance all night. An all male-company soon to celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Trocks are wonderfully accomplished dancers (Carlos Hopuy and Boysie Dikobe could dance “Don Q” anywhere) who serve up their repertoire with a generous slice of ham.
Make that a feast — certainly for “Swan Lake, Act II,” long a staple in the Trocks repertoire, which opened the evening. It’s one of the more overtly silly works in the program, but the humor comes from taking the already over-the-top world of the ballet just a bit further. What if, for example, one of the four hand-holding Little Swans just got a little too excited? What if some of the swans had bad attitudes? What if a dramatic arabesque knocked down a corps member? And what if Odette (Raffaele Morra, aka Lariska Dumbchenko), the fragile woman-turned-swan, had a lot of chest hair? This “Swan Lake” is a joy from beginning to end — and, between all the clowning, it’s beautifully danced.
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This longtime Trocks fan was a little disappointed by “Walpurgis Night,” the Soviet-era bacchanale that concluded the program; it’s hard to spoof a work that nobody knows, even when it’s full of fauns, nymphs and a glittery-eyeshadowed Bacchante. But “The Dying Swan,” complete with molting feathers, wonderfully demonstrated diva excess (with Carlos Renedo, aka Maria Paranova, masterfully milking the applause while exuding wide-eyed humility), and “Go for Barocco,” the Trocks’ brilliant Balanchine satire, were perfection. (Funny how sometimes all you need to make ballet hilarious is just an ear-to-ear grin.) This is a company that brings its audiences pure joy; may they, and their big pointe shoes, soon return.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org