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Monday 26 March 2012

Men in Tutus: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in Hong Kong

The boys are back in town.

Or they will be in May.  And they'll be wearing pointe shoes and tutus.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monto Carlo, or the Trocks as they're affectionately known, are an all male, 14 strong, ballet company hailing from New York.  The company which has been a worldwide sensation since it formed in 1974, performs classical ballet excerpts with a comic twist.

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I've loved ballet from the moment that I first started ballet lessons at five.  Every Christmas my Mum would take me to the ballet at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden where she used to work as a dresser when she was a student.  I vividly remember choosing my outfit weeks in advance, getting all dressed up and taking the train 'all the way' to London from our house in St Albans.  When we arrived at the beautiful opera house we'd take our plush, velvet seats and I'd wait excitedly for the lights to go down in the auditorium while I scoured the glossy, red programme full of black and white photographs of all the dancers.  When the lights dipped and the curtain rose, I would sit mesmerised by the ballet, the orchestra, the costumes and the way that the dancers made barely a sound as they glided across the stage.  As the first Act ended we'd head to the Crush Bar which would be smoky and noisy and the sort of place I'd never usually get to go and we'd sit and nibble prawn sandwiches, while I talked non-stop analysing every sequin and every arabesque.  Then after the performance we'd go backstage where I'd get to meet all the dancers who would be nonchalantly strolling around in various stages of undress (and often completely naked).  It was an exotic slice of a life so far away from plies in the local church hall and I adored every second of it.  We'd eventually leave way past my bedtime and exit through the stage door with armfuls of net and sequins that the wardrobe mistress had given me for dressing up and bags stuffed with pointe shoes ten times too big for me snaffled from the amazing pointe shoe room where the walls are lined with pair after pair of the block toed shoes.

Those Christmas trips got me well and truly hooked and I still love going to the ballet whenever I get the chance.  I've seen everything from the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty to Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands.  But I've never had the pleasure of seeing the Trocks.  So I was very excited when I heard that they're in Hong Kong from the 15-20 May for seven performances at the Lyric Theatre.  The programme includes Swan Lake Act II and Raymonda's Wedding.  

And if that hasn't whetted your appetite, maybe this little snippet from the Telegraph's review will:  "Throughout this lovely show, the performance is a perfectly balanced combination of genuinely accomplished dancing and wonderfully timed comic cock-ups. From the solo dancer who moults feathers across the stage to the diminutive performer trying desperately to pick up his giant partner, the extraordinary skill of the Trocks proves that to undo ballet, one must first be able to do ballet."

Tickets are available from Hong Kong Ticketing starting from HK$350.

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