Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo -- the Trocks, for short -- were up to their usual no good again last night, casting choreographic aspersions left and right, and letting the devil take the fore, mid and hindmost.
In a program at the Warner Theatre, seen first Wednesday evening and again last night, the all-male travesty troupe ran true to balletic custom by changing their program. Both "Quintessential Prairie" and "Spring Waters" were scratched, the latter, we were told, due to the severe indisposition of "ballerina" Nadia Doumiafeyva. In their place we were treated to the local premiere of "Marche Slave," set to the Tchaikovsky peroration of that title and danced by Zamarina Zamarkova.
This flaming solo vehicle lets poor old Isadora Duncan have it right in the loftiest of her artistic notions. A mop of red hair, an even redder dress and sash and bare arms flung high to the heavens introduced a perfect visual caricature. The dance had all the signature traits we've come to know from graphic records, mementos and reconstructions -- the bounding skips with bent knee, the rhapsodically flung torso, hands scooping upward from earth, the breathless circling with a scarf trailing in the body's wake. The performance had a minimum of mugging and mishaps -- the satirical effect was produced just by taking the original one or two funky steps toward derisive emphasis. Yet an audience which very likely contained zero members who'd ever seen the real Isadora found it, justifiably, hilarious.
The evening also had equally risible repeat performances of "Swan Lake, Act II," "The Lamentations of Jane Eyre" and "The Dying Swan." Bringing up the rear was a revival of another Trocks masterpiece, "Go for Barocco," which so deftly turns all of George Balanchine's neoclassic trademarks upside down.
In a way, watching the Trocks is a test of ballet connoisseurship -- the more things you find funny, the more aware you have to be of the platitudes, eccentricities and stylistic quirks of the art. On the other hand, the test always fails because those who know nothing at all about ballet are thrown into exactly the same hysteria.