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When do you look through your opera glasses?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Farrell Fan

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 06:58 PM

The answer to the interesting question by dancerscheese, "Where do you look?" in a way depends on where you're sitting. Since I'm usually not sitting in the orchestra at NYCB or ABT, I take along my opera glasses. I look unaided at the dancers and the dance, but when I want to see Darci's new shorter haircut or try to detect Marcovici's tattoo, I look through the opera glasses. Sometimes I view a favorite pas de deux that way, too. More shamefully, I occasionally zero in on a particular corps dancer and watch her or him through the opera glasses to the exclusion of everybody else.

I realize that I miss a lot in the moments when I raise the binoculars and focus, so this is probably not the best way to view ballet, but on those occasions when I forget to bring the glasses I feel I miss even more.

How do people know when to look through their glasses? Is it instinctive or something to be learned?

#2 BW

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 06:14 AM

FF, when I read this new thread, I had to laugh! Last night I sat in the dress circle at the Met. and attended La Bayadere with Alina Cojocaru. I used my "opera glasses" AKA Bushnell Xtra-wide's often. :)

I really don't like sitting that high up (I know, I know, it could have been higher and many people like having this angle of view) so I felt that I really needed to use them often. Although I knew it was important to see the big picture when Cojocaru and Corella were on stage together in the dream phase, I felt I had to see her in detail. She is exquisite and I couldn't bear to miss any aspect of her performance.

Normally, I do tend to look at the "main" dancers faces as they come on...or if someone is doing something in a solo, or pas de deux I also really do like seeing it "up close" for part of the time...

And I, too, have zeroed in on a corps dancer, myself, Farrell Fan. :)

P.S. Extra wide auto focus binoculars make a big difference.

#3 Giannina

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 06:45 AM

Extra wide focus....never heard of that but I think that's what I need. I use my opera glasses a lot. I usually get the best balcony seats available but still use the glasses for solos and pdd's. As I said in the "Where do you look" thread, I watch legs and feet and with my lousy eyesight I need opera glasses to see them well. The down side is that I miss seeing the entire stage. If there's more than one couple dancing, or if the couple dancing the pdd are saparated from each other I'll forego the glasses.

Using the opera glasses is not easy for me. I have them on a cord around my neck. I wear regular glasses which are also on a cord around my neck. If I need the opera glasses I whip off my regular glasses and have them dangle against the left side of my body as I pick up the opera glasses and use them. When I no longer need the opera glasses I reverse the process, but if I'm not careful I can get the cords entangled and miss a lot of ballet as I try to extricate myself.

Giannina

#4 Nanatchka

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 02:40 PM

This won't make me popular, but sitting behind opera glasses devotees can be maddening. Up go the glasses and the elbows. Down go the glasses and the elbows. Up go the glasses and the elbows. Etc. Of course I know Ballet Alerters always keep their elbows politely pressed to their sides, but others don't. I was thinking this week that I really am not an ideal audience member, since I am so easily distracted. I never use opera glasses myself, (but I see the allure). I kind of like to widen my eyes and aim for a trance state.

#5 Giannina

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 04:37 PM

Recently I've been aware of my elbows and I try to keep them in. I'm short so I'm hoping my elbows are way below everyone's eye level. None the less I'm glad you called my attention to the problem and I will try my best to keep myself contained.

Other than over-applauders my main gripe is people who lean forward in their seat, usually/seemingly wrapt in attention. While they're wrapt I can't see a darn thing.

But I digress.

Giannina

#6 Tancos

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 05:31 PM

When I'm in the balcony of a large venue, the question is, when do I not use the binoculars. Without them I can't see much detail. For large ensemble sections I take the binoculars from my eyes, but for dancing that doesn't occupy the entire stage, anything that helps me see more clearly helps. In small auditoriums or if I am close to the stage, of course, the binoculars stay in their case.

#7 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 06:17 PM

I don't usually use opera glasses, except for ballets I know pretty well. If I'm trying to pick out what the third girl from the end on the stage left line in "Serenade" is doing, then I'll go for the glasses. But you're right, wide-angle AUTO-focus is the very best!

#8 BW

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Posted 12 May 2003 - 04:47 PM

Point well taken about the elbows! I am pretty certain I'm not guilty of this due to picture taking habits of steadying the camera by holding my elbows in. :)

Giannina, the type of binoculars I bought for ballet, in particular are Bushnell Xtra Wide and if you click on Click on Model #13-0421 4x21 you'll get the details.

They actually sell them in the gift shop beneath Lincoln Center, but I'm sure you can order them from any good binocular/camera store. They're not expensive, and they're worth every penny. :)

#9 Giannina

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Posted 12 May 2003 - 05:05 PM

Thanks, BW.

Giannina

#10 Farrell Fan

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Posted 12 May 2003 - 07:33 PM

Thanks from me too, BW. I'm going to check those out.

I must say, I've rarely been bothered by protruding elbows on people looking through their glasses. And since I'm short like Giannina, I know my tucked-in elbows never appear above the level of my seat. As a matter of fact, anybody lucky enough to sit behind me really owes me a sincere thankyou. A couple of things bother me in people sitting in front of me, however, namely height and width. There are also people who literally put their heads together to talk over what they're seeing. Almost as bad are those who are so enthralled that they lean forward on the edge of their seats, thereby blocking part of the stage for the persons behind. And so on.

#11 Rachel

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Posted 12 May 2003 - 08:05 PM

Ocassionally, there will be a woman with a high hair-do sitting in front of me, and being age-appropriately short, I have to lean forward in my seat or lean a bit to the side to see between the window created by those in front of me. I suppose I wouldn't enjoy sitting behing someone like me, but the reason for my bobbing head is definitely the result of my enthusiasm and desire to see everything.

Rachel

#12 carbro

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Posted 12 May 2003 - 08:28 PM

Never, ever do I use my o.g.s during his (whoever he is) variation, because being able to appreciate how much space he covers is part of the hoped-for thrill. Others will surely tell me that his air turns did not finish in a perfect fifth.

First movement of Serenade, the glasses are always down, too.

During Alonso's few late Giselles in New York, I always, always trained in on her feet during the Act II entrechats. Gosh, they were so incredibly fast and neat, and hard enough to see magnified 7 times, they'd have been a total blur from the Family Circle otherwise.

When I know a ballet well, it's pretty easy to gauge the quiet moments to transition between direct vision and aided vision, as it were.

I like being able to see the corps as a whole, but I also like to know who's who beyond the front row. If I do a fourth Bayadere this season, I'll probably think, to hell with the stage design, I want to see this one and that one. Oh, and that one.

#13 Doris R

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Posted 17 May 2003 - 11:55 AM

What a great thread! I've never been distracted by others' elbows, so they must be keeping them at their sides as I do. But what do I use mine for? Well, I've admitted I enjoy facial expression, but I like to check out the details on the costumes!

#14 sissonne

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Posted 01 June 2003 - 04:07 PM

Not an opera glass user, myself. I tend to book orchestra level seats, so not much need. I'm rather particular on where I sit. However, there have been times in lodge boxes or higher (when I've booked my tickets too late) that I would occasionally use them. I really like to try to take in the whole stage as much as possible, though when higher up, opera glasses make watching fancy footwork much easier!

My fiance does always bring his and likes to occasionally look through them. He's newer to the ballet thing than I am, so he likes to check out all views....from super close-up to taking in the whole stage. We're both tall, so I'll be sure to nudge in his elbows at the next performance we both attend!:D


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