(A more detailed version of my brief comments immediately following the first of these two performances ... )
Les Ballets Trockadero, more commonly known as the Trocks, are the group of male dancers who dance ballet en pointe and in drag, lovingly taking the mickey out of an art form which they obviously adore. Each has a male and a female alias, although some dance rather more frequently under one than the other.
To start with, I'd say that this is probably the best programme I've ever seen the boys do. Unfortunately, the programmed Raymonda's Wedding had to be replaced by Swan Lake Act II, with Margeaux Mundeyn, who I'd seen several times before as Odette, in the first performance, and Sveltlana Lofatkina, who I hadn't, in the second. It was interesting as well to see Mundeyn's male alter ego dancing Rothbart – as far as I know, the first time I've ever seen him dancing – as a rather manic version of Dawn French might, and all accompanied by the scariest corps of swans that you're ever likely to see.
The mystery pas de deux on the first night was Le Corsaire, seriously well danced by, I think, Sylphia Belchick and Pepe Dufka, but at the second performance I saw it was the Stars and Stripes pdd starring the incredibly good Olga Supphozova and I think again Dufka, who at times seemed more interested in ensuring that the very loud stripes on his tights were straight than paying attention to his ballerina! Suppohozova was technically a marvel, with nearly "5 to 6" extensions and even managing to throw in a few triples during a fouetté sequence, something I don't think I've seen any *female* dancer apart from Tamara Rojo do.
This was followed by a good-sized chunk from La Vivandière, with the amazing Nadia Rombova (probably nearly 7 foot on pointe, yet landing virtually silently in what looked to be very soft-blocked shoes) doing what I am told was a very good take-off of Anastasia Volochkova at Sadler's Wells the previous week. Her partner was probably the shortest in the company, and it was quite hilarious to see him ducking *under* her outstretched leg as he promenaded her in arabesque, not to mention the fact that when he was holding her by the waist his hands were virtually at the level of his shoulders! Lovely to see some snatches of history for a change - some very attractive choreography, as well. Then there was the Moulting, sorry, Dying Swan - if you've seen Ida Nevasayneva dance it before you'll know what to expect; otherwise, just go and see it!
The final piece was Gaïté Parisienne (another chance to see a – sadly - now rarely-performed work), an absolute riot in which the dancers could really let their hair down. In particular I have to mention (again) Supphozova in a corps role as a cancan dancer, really giving it her all and almost eclipsing everyone else - reckon she's been spending all her off-duty time in the cinema watching Moulin Rouge. And I don't suppose I can pay the dancers any greater compliment than to say that at times I quite forgot that I was watching *male* dancers at all. It was a huge hit, and the audience went home having really enjoyed it. If you aren't converted to the Trocks after this performance, I don't suppose you ever will be.