Its Glory. This isn’t the i rst time the company has wooed the Fringe with an all-male palette of different dance styles, mixing parody with homage. Back in 2007 they made a similarly colourful splash with Méli-Mélo II, a redux of the earlier Méli-Mélo. The Chicos formed in the 1990s in Barcelona, with French choreographer Philippe Lafeuille coming together with two dancers, one from Venezuela and the other Catalan. Though the lineup has changed over the decades, the demands on versatility have remained, and the current cast’s backgrounds range from internships with the Bolshoi to conservatoire degrees and aerial acrobatic training. Lafeuille’s CV is perhaps the most eclectic of all, having formerly danced for both Madonna and Rudolf Nureyev.

Ballet, jazz and contemporary were techniques already familiar to the show’s cast. Lafeuille also versed them in tango. ‘And we learned to do pointe work during the creation

of the show,’ explains Mercier. The pointe work section excruciating. Dancers, bent- backed, gurning, creep across the stage in


‘I still don’t feel comfortable,’ says Mercier, despite having danced the routine countless times. ‘But even girls who wear them all the time don’t feel comfortable.’

‘It’s OK for us,’ adds Queau, ‘we’re only on

them for a minute.’ This is a good point. The speed with which TUTU plays out has all the crowdpleasing chutzpah of a dance showcase or comedy sketch show. Segments are short, vivid, punchy, with those bizarre and mischievous costumes all variations on the theme of the


MEN AT Backstage at the Centre des Ten years after hit Fringe show Méli-Mélo II, Lucy Ribchester catches up with Chicos

block-toed pointe shoes of the kind usually worn by ballerinas, giving us a peek into a performer’s feelings behind the serene mask they are obliged to present to the crowd.

Bords de Marne theatre on the outskirts of Paris, dancers Guillaume Queau and Julien Mercier have made a quick turnaround. Though still slightly sweaty, with the happy exhaustion of performers who have just played to a packed and delighted house, their jeans and hoodies are a far cry from the extravagant banquet of tulle, lace and lycra they were sporting only minutes ago.

Vegetable headpieces came preceded by elephantine pantaloons, duck costumes were followed by leotards, l owing gowns, and some incongruously dull grey pyjamas: a costume favoured by contemporary dance troupes who take themselves a little more seriously than the Chicos Mambo. But if the variety of haberdashery the

dancers don is vast, it is more than matched by the variety of dance styles they’ve mastered in order to perform the Chicos’ latest show, TUTU: Dance in All

26 THE LIST FESTIVAL 3–10 Aug 2017