With names such as Helen Highwaters (aka Duane Gosa), Vavara Laptopova (Takaomi Yoshino), Maria Clubfoot (Alejandro Gonzalez) and Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter), in the programme, it was going to be difficult to take anything seriously at the Hull New Theatre on Tuesday evening, when Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo brought their male-only troupe to the city.
But we in the decent-sized audience soon realised this extremely talented bunch were deadly serious when it comes to their art – ballet dancing, with a difference.
Men in tutus may not sound appealing, but I can promise you there wasn’t a hairy chest, no huge biceps or a five o’clock shadow to be seen – these “ballerinas” were graceful, toned, ultra-fit and had the best legs in the business.
And they danced en pointe for far longer than any prima ballerina I have had the pleasure to watch. Truly amazing stuff.
Formed in 1974, The Trocks (as they are affectionately known), are simply a joy to watch. The two-hour programme was split into five parts, with two short intervals. Le Lac Des Cygnes (Swan Lake, Act II), Vivaldi Suite, Swan Lake Pas De Trois, The Dying Swan and Raymonda’s Wedding all had a degree of comedy mingled in amidst the most mind-blowing ballet dancing.
Sometimes the comic act was so subtle, one’s eye had to be quick to catch it; other times it was glaringly obvious and had the audience in stitches.
One such scene featured “Olga Supphozova” as The Dying Swan. Dancer Robert Carter played the role to perfection with his tutu shedding feathers faster than a turkey being plucked at Christmas. He lapped up the prolonged applause and had to be literally dragged off stage through a gap in the heavy velvet curtain.
The stage setting was quite plain, not a bad thing as it didn’t detract from the glorious costumes – colourful, frothy creations to die for.
The lighting played its comedic part, going wrong on purpose, at the most inopportune moments, and a misfiring smoke machine threatened to obliterate our view of the dancers at one stage, which all added to the fun.
I got no sense of a live orchestra in the pit, but my programme tells me much of the music was conducted by Pierre Michel Durand with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. It was perfect and was a major part of each performance.
The Trocks’ men in tights very respectfully put the fun into a genre often taken very seriously – no mean feat. Bravo!
Running until Wednesday, October 12th, 2022, 7.30pm. Tickets from £15. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk
Touring until Saturday, October 29th, 2022, to Bradford, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Cornwall and Belfast. For more information or to book, visit www.danceconsortium.com
Reviewer: Jackie Foottit
Reviewed: 11th October 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★