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The Trocks have lightened the holiday scene here for years with their sometimes broad and often witty ballet. In the past four decades Trock-watchers have seen the troupe change. Today it’s less broadly knockabout: technique has sharpened to the point where you can enjoy this all-male company for the quality of its dancing as well as its digs at attention-hogging ballerinas and the like. The repertoire has enlarged to encompass curiosities such as The Flames of Paris pas de deux, a relic from the Soviet era, danced almost straight.

Yaktarina Verbosovich (Chas Johnsey) tossed off triple fouettés and her partner William Vanilla matched her virtuosity with his big jump and crisp pirouettes. Costumes, scenery and lighting are no longer unintentionally tacky. On opening night, Swan Lake Act Two,was the most consistently amusing, with its muscular Swan Queen, Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter) and her tall, stringbean Prince Siegfried Ashley Romanoff-Titwillow (Joshua Grant), so pulled up he looked poured into a tube of toothpaste. Pepe Dufka (Raffaele Morra), a wildly flapping Von Rothbart, darted about like a startled seagull; the corps de ballet flaunted their flip- tripping jealousies and the four Little Swans brought hilarious parody to their variation.

Odette’s solo, and one for the Prince, were danced so expertly one forgot this was a travestie troupe.

New on the programme, Gaîeté Parisienne, choreographed by Susan Trevino after Léonide Massine’s l938 ballet, followed the spirit of the thing – café society, Glove Seller, Flower Girl, Opera Star. Massine’s role of the Peruvian was comically caught by Mikhail Mypansarov (Damien Diaz) and the Baron was roundly applauded by the originator of the role, Frederic Franklin, now in his 90s, sitting in the audience. Anyone who saw the musical La Cage aux Folles knows men can can-can and do the splits. The Trocks can do it even better. And in pointe shoes.

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