Being a ballet and comedy lover myself, I was one of many to buy a ticket to the Trockadero's show earlier this month at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda. I went with my sister and my mother ...despite persistent badgering my father refused to be dragged along, being a bit of a 'blokey-bloke' the mere word 'ballet' has a sleep-inducing effect on him. We consider it a bit of an achievement if he manages to stay alert through one of our dance performances, and we're his kids! But I have to say, I think Dad really missed out this time. I'll even go so far as to say that my father would've really ENJOYED the Trocks (though whether he'd actually admit it is another thing...), see the Trockadero's show was a wonderful experience and one I definitely plan on repeating.
There's something incredibly endearing about watching a bunch of men - strong, muscly men - teetering around in delicate pointe shoes and tutus, whipping out traditional choreography to some of the greatest musical scores ever composed and performing the classic ballets we all know and love. And they're not just dancing it either, they're putting their heart and sole into the show. They're brilliant at it. But the reason why it works, the reason why it's funny is that whilst they may be waxed and wigged to perfection, and may be wearing more make-up on one eyelid than my dance school goes through in an entire year... they're still men. They don't dance like women, they dance like men dancing women's parts. Their arms aren't perfect, some of the feet would make my dance teacher go into anaphylactic shock, and, well, spotting didn't seem to be a main priority during the fouettes... but truthfully, who cares? I truly love the precision and exquisite technique of classical ballet, but from that very first (slightly laboured) jete onto stage, followed by a pose and a beaming smile, the whole audience was hooked. The jokes are simple, bickering between the dancers, that one blissfully oblivious dummy that keeps screwing up the steps, and tweaking some of the most well-know ballet choreography (like the four cygnets dance in Swan Lake) with hilarious results, but because every one of the dancers performs with such good-natured pure enthusiasm, simple is perfect.
You can't help but wonder if this is something like how it all started, all those centuries ago in Italy with Le Ballet Comique de la Reine (The Queen's Ballet Comedy), after all it was these 'comedy ballets' that we have to thank for the artform we enjoy today. So I don't think that this light-hearted, high spirited show is any less deserving of our appreciation than the traditional ballets many of us enjoy on a regular basis. The Trocks have a passion for classical dance, there's no doubt about that, and also for entertaining their audience, and the crowd responds to this. When the show was all finished, and each man had taken his last cheeky curtsey, they were greeted by the loudest applause I've ever heard at the ballet...