Ballet has a long tradition of male dancers performing female roles en travesti
, but usually in character parts like the overbearing mother in La Fille Mal GardÃ©e
or the comic ugly sisters in Cinderella
. Since 1974, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has taken that travesty tradition into new realms, with men dancing female roles en pointe
as well as the male roles in playful spoofs of ballet standards. The comic effect of Les Trocks, as the troupe is nicknamed, is heightened by the fact that these guys are truly fabulous dancers who are as serious about their dancing as they are silly about their send-ups of the classics. From their hysterical noms de dance - Tatiana Youbetyabootskaya, Velour Pilleaux, Ida Nevasayneva and Yuri Smirnov, to give a sampling - to their affectionate send-ups of the sacred cows of ballet and modern dance, it's easy to see why these iconic dancers are an audience favorite all over the world: the Harlem Globetrotters of ballet. Cal State Long Beach, Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 7-8, 8 p.m.; $50, $45 students & seniors. (562) 985-7000 or www.trockadero.org.