Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all-male ballet travesty troupe that presented the second of three programs at the National Theater Saturday night, gives signs of developing a cult audience. The laughter starts before anything has happened on stage, even before the curtain has gone up. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it does raise the question of whether the company's present sucess is a function of what they do or who they are.
The fact is that there have been significant changes since the troupe was last in Washington, including a change of leadership. In a technical sense, the dancers are conspicuously stronger than ever. Some of them toss off multiple pirouettes or double air turns to the knee that are no laughing matter. On the other hand, the repertoire seems to have taken a hazardous turn toward the campy. The humor is less dependent on stylistic parody than on mugging, eyelash batting and coy posturing. At least, that's how it seemed Saturday night, which might be summed up with the observation that the dancing wasn't good enough to be good, but was no longer bad enough to be funny.
"Carnaval," the newest repertoire addition, takes off on a Fokine ballet (1910) that simply is too little known today to serve as a meaningful butt for contemporary satire. "Corsair" and "Don Quixote" were the best of the program, because here the wit still derives from the latent silliness of balletic tradition.