Men in tights perform ballet classics
When ballet fans watch the dance of the dying swan, there are expectations of a lithe woman, gracefully leaping and pirouetting her way around the stage on Pointe shoes.
But when ballet fans watch the same dance performed by Les Ballets Eloelle, those torture-device shoes are about the only thing that remains the same.
Members of the New York-based troupe are all highly trained ballet dancers, but they are also all men, dancing female roles, dressed as women, making it funny.
And they are bringing their comedic take on the classics to New Zealand for a series of mind-boggling performances as Men In Tutus.
Artistic director, and company founder, Victor Trevino says the company was formed with a vision of entertainment and fun, all the while sharing the company's love of dance.
"It's a group of men from all over the world, all trained dancers, and it's a fun, funny show. It's a lot of classic and contemporary ballet, done with a twist, hopefully to make you laugh."
The dancers, who come from celebrated companies including the New York Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet and English National Ballet, perform some of the most recognisable routines in ballet.
But Trevino says of course there are some twists.
"They are all comedic, they are not done the traditional way, and we've taken them and altered that way. But the steps are the same, the same steps you would see a ballerina do.
"And we are dancing on our toes, in the same shoes a ballerina would wear, so it's kind of hard and painful for us, but we'll continue to smile if you will."
The troupe first toured New Zealand with the Men in Tutus show five years ago, and while dancing on the shores of the Western Springs pond on a chilly winter's day, five dancers, fully decked out in tulle, feathers and make-up, still can't help but attract a crowd.
While some passing children don't seem to understand why "they are using boys instead of girls", a spot of chest hair and some unshaven faces apart, for all intents and purposes, these are just some wonderful dancers, with a bit of a different take on things.
And Trevino thinks this helps break down the barrier of ballet.
"[To enjoy the show] you don't actually need to know anything at all. Because of the comedy, it makes it very easy to understand and it's a very simple show. It's good for everyone, and if you have never been to the ballet before, it's a great show to start with."
Les Ballets Eloelle's Men in Tutus
New Zealand tour starts in Tauranga on July 10 and ends at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre on August 25.
For full tour dates and ticket information, visit www.menintutus.co.nz
- © Fairfax NZ News