Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Edinburgh Festival Theatre ****
On this occasion, it was the stunning technique and boundless grace of Chinese dancer Long Zou performing the lead role in Paquita. His pirouettes, fouettés and leaps proved time and again that although the “Trocks” are best known for their slapstick wit, it’s the quality of the dancing that packs houses.
The joke would wear thin pretty quickly if all they ever did was fall over, whack each other in the face with a stray pointe shoe or absentmindedly lose their place in the corps de ballet line-up. It’s the knowledge that, if they desired, the dancers could execute each piece flawlessly that makes the comedy so impactful.
Most of the laughs on this recent visit came in a re-working of Les Sylphides, with the aforementioned falls, pushes and mishaps coming thick and fast. Comic timing is everything here, and these dancers are past masters in the art of the well-placed glare.
A suitably avant garde rendition of Merce Cunningham’s Points in Space (here re-named Patterns in Space), complete with bizarre live score, was respectfully tongue-in-cheek, and a complete contrast to the traditional over-the-topness of La Trovatiara. As always, the Dying Swan had the crowd in raptures, with dropped feathers littering the stage in amongst Robert Carter’s balletic beauty. - KELLY APTER