By BRUCE DENNILL
Men In Tutus / Ballet Eloelle Artistic Director: Victor Trevino / Teatro, Montecasino, Fourways, Johannesburg
Entrenched perspectives can be hugely problematic. There is an audience that enjoys classical ballet and another that doesn’t – possibly for exactly the same reasons (traditions, technique and more). And there are audiences that, while they generally like comedy, prefer satire to parody, or subtlety to slapstick. This makes for some tricky moments for less open-minded onlookers or potential audiences who can’t quite decide how they see the piece.
Men In Tutus is a show that features men – and often large, muscular sorts – dancing the intricate, precise routines generally reserved for ballerinas (including plenty of pointe work). The choreography takes the structures of much-beloved originals and adds a great deal of affectionate silliness, raising a smile from even some of the darker themes in the classical canon.
Is the show simply a novelty? No. It is evident from the opening Pas de Quatre that both the dancing and the choreography is of superb quality and indeed, that adding physical comedy to the mix has made each setpiece more complex and difficult to perform and thus a more impressive overall achievement.
Fans of good technique will find much to delight in, with the tall, statuesque Eugene Obille (six foot and muscular, but flexible enough to nearly touch the back of his head with his pointe shoe) and Walter Battistini (a full foot shorter, but with an explosive power to size ratio) perhaps the most eye-catching of the…
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