Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo entertain and impress

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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo | January 20 and 21, 2017 | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

For any ballet fan, this show provides endless humour coupled with impressive talent; for the uninitiated, it is just as entertaining. From the hilarious character names like Helen Highwaters and Tatiana Youbetyabootskaya to the excellent spoofs of well-known ballets, this all male troupe dancing en pointe knows how to entertain and impress.

The company’s signature excerpt from Swan Lake kicked off the evening, and although they performed this when they visited Vancouver two years ago, it was just as enjoyable. Watching graceful swans trip, forget their formation, or backstroke across the stage never gets old. With the right balance of slapstick and sophistication, the cygnets are one of the best numbers in the show. Their head bobbing and pigeon-like head movements were wonderful. It is also a joy to see them beat up the hunter.

Next up was a pleasant surprise, listed in the program only as “pas de deux, solo, or modern work to be announced.” It turned out to be a wonderfully satirical ode to modern dance that had a few dancers in colourful unitards moving in the style of Merce Cunningham while a couple others sat off to the side creating musical accompaniment with a some conventional instruments (a xylophone, maracas) and plenty of unconventional ones (paper bags, party blowers, bubble wrap, and scissors).   

The “Pas de Six” from Esmerelda, a feisty, energetic ballet, showed off the company’s playful side very well. With tambourines and colourful ruffled dresses, this was a joy to watch. The satire wasn’t as strong in this segment of the show, perhaps because Esmerelda isn’t as well-known as Swan Lake. We were soon brought back to the extreme satire of Swan Lake as a spotlight searched the stage to find the dying swan gliding across the stage. The extended death scene drew peals of laughter as the swan struggled to continue, hemorrhaging feathers until finally collapsing into a heap.

Don Quixote finished off the evening with more impressive, playful ensembles and an impressive pas de deux finale between the lovers Kitri and Basil. The members of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo make dancing en pointe look easy all while infusing each piece with satire and playful humour.   

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