Trock on!
Published: Sep 28, 2011 09:29 AM Updated: Sep 28, 2011 09:36 AM

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to China mixing dance with satire. Photo: Guo Yingguang/GT

Before each performance, the male stars of ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo prepare meticulously. They shave, apply foundation and dress in tights before taking the stage to daintily perform Swan Lake. These male equivalent of ballerinas, known in French as danseurs, are every bit as flexible and graceful as their female counterparts. Tonight, they hold the first of three shows at the Mei Lanfang Grand Theater in Xicheng district.

The performances are part of the New York-based troupe's second China tour, following their first in 2004.

"It has been seven years. We will present a wonderful night for Beijing audiences," artistic director, Tory Dobrin, told the Global Times.

Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts for the purpose of presenting a playful, entertaining view of traditional, classical ballet in a parody form, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo first emerged during late shows in off-Broadway lofts.

"Our purpose has not changed. It is a company of professional male dancers performing a full range of ballet and modern dance repertoires, including classical and original works," Dobrin explained.

Known affectionately as "the Trocks," their interpretations and performances have gained popularity and support worldwide among theatergoers. Dancers hail from all corners of the world, including the US, Portugal, Germany, Mexico, Australia, Italy, Spain and Israel.

The troupe's comedy comes from exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of dance styles performed by the not-so-fair sex. Men dance all the parts, performing roles usually reserved to females.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to China mixing dance with satire. Photo: Guo Yingguang/GT

They also wear tutus and dance en pointe on their toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites and princesses. The result is a performance that enhances, rather than mocks, the spirit of dance as an art form.

"Each audience member will enjoy what we are doing on stage. They will have the pleasure of laughing and watching serious dance and we're happy to be a part of that," said dancer Robert Carter, who has been part of Trocks since 1995.

The 15-strong troupe will stage five ballet performances from Swan Lake, Death of A Swan, Pas De Quatre and Raymonda's Wedding at tonight's show.

Where: Mei Lanfang Grand Theater

When: September 28 to 30

Tickets: 120 yuan to 880 yuan

Contact: 6551-6930/6906