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The Trocks are back in London, to the delight of balletomanes and, I’d venture, balletophobes too. And there are all the manic accoutrements of their loving assault on classical dance: outrageous campery, fearsome maquillage, eye-rollings worthy of a bolting horse.
I love them. I love their love of ballet, which drives them ever onward, and their respect for ballet’s past: in their stagings the right steps are there, even if not always rightly danced. I love their affection for the idea of a ballerina as a rampant monstre sacré rather than the present breed of pink sugar mice who tread their ever-so-nice way through the classics. And I love their mocking acceptance that ballet can be so up its own tutu that it is, in any case, self-parodistic. (Recent “serious” performances of The Dying Swan and of Balanchine choreography have taken place on the far side of a giggle.)
So there they were, with Tuesday’s night’s opening programme and a second on offer next week. A less than happy start with Les Sylphides, in which they romp too coarsely even by their own knockabout standards. But the rest of the evening was a salutary hoot. Chief joy was Go for Barocco, choreographed with a loving eye for Balanchine’s mannerisms as well as his manner by Peter Anastos – a witty creation, and wittily truthful.
In The Flames of Paris duet, from that famous and hugely political Soviet dramballet of the 1930s, Chase Johnsey showed a technique not unworthy of the stunning Soviet-era ballerina (whom I revered) Musa Gottlieb. Robert Carter (as Olga Supphozova) moulted divinely as the swan in an extremis of feathers: you could stuff a couple of pillows with the detritus. And Raymonda’s Wedding was best fun, because the steps were correct, the Old Russian style was not half bad, and Svetlana Lofatkina (Fernando Medina Gallego) is as Magyar and roguish as those indestructible Hungarian actresses in films of yesteryear. It’s all very jolly and, to adapt Kenny Everett, in the worst possible taste. ★★★★☆
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