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Clapping question

65 posts in this topic

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Here in "polite, nice" Seattle, I think we give too many SOs. To me a SO ought to be a bit rare and reserved for truly great performances. Too many SOs destroys the meaning in time. There seems to be an unfortunate habit that if after a performance, during the applause, 1 or 2 people stand up, then everyone somehow feels the need to stand up. I refuse to do this......and it ain't easy I can tell you to sit there with your vision blocked when all around you are standing! I just feel it is disrespectful to those future and past artists to whom I do give a SO to "water it down" by giving a SO at 50% of everything that is ever performed.

To be fair to the Seattle audiences: I see this mostly at plays (Rep, ACT), and less often, but a bit too often, at the ballet; OTOH, it does not seem to be much of a problem at the opera.

Sandy, I share your frustration and trust me this is not just in Seattle. The SO has become so devalued in this TV age, audiences often fell they are not honoring their performers by merely clapping.

You're not alone, I stubbornly say seated unless I feel it's appropriate to hop up.

Richard

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Here in "polite, nice" Seattle, I think we give too many SOs. To me a SO ought to be a bit rare and reserved for truly great performances. Too many SOs destroys the meaning in time. There seems to be an unfortunate habit that if after a performance, during the applause, 1 or 2 people stand up, then everyone somehow feels the need to stand up. I refuse to do this......and it ain't easy I can tell you to sit there with your vision blocked when all around you are standing! I just feel it is disrespectful to those future and past artists to whom I do give a SO to "water it down" by giving a SO at 50% of everything that is ever performed.

In Denver, there is a joke that CSO stands for "Customary Standing Ovation" rather than "Colorado Symphony Orchestra". SOs are the rule rather than the exception at the symphony but are very rare (IMHO, too rare) at the Colorado Ballet for some reason.

I think some of it is competitive. People feel that if other performers are getting standing ovations then their favorite performer deserves one as well.

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As a relatively short person in Seattle, I often wind up standing myself, just so I can see the stage since almost everyone else around me has stood up.

Tangentially, I've noticed at performances of PNB that they have started bringing the principal dancers out in front of the main curtain at the end of the company bows, to take one more bow. If I remember correctly, they started doing this regularly last year, and have continued this year, but the audience hasn't figured this out yet, and regularly stops clapping when the curtain comes in, only to have to start back up again when the first dancer appears. You can tell if this is going to happen (the spotlights stay on the curtain, and you can see it moving as the stagehands get it set up) but very few people seem to anticipate this. What usually happens is that people have started getting up to go out to the lobby, and are either stepping over each other or are stooped over picking up their belongings before they leave -- I imagine that the artists on stage come out in front of the curtain to a sea of backs and bottoms.

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I've actually been in that circumstance as a dancer--the curtain dropped and I and a few other soloists were to go out front to bow, partly so that the corps girls had time to change for the next scene. Well, the second that curtain hit the floor, no matter how quickly we ran out, even if we nearly collided in our attempts to get out front as the previous dancer was leaving, the audience always stopped applauding in between, and I must say it was rather difficult to endure even though once I'd stepped out they were always very enthusiastic!

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To be fair to the audience, no one wants to sit (or stand) applauding a blank curtain when it's unlikely that the curtain will rise again.

Companies need to be consistent in their curtain call policy for principals. If the principals appear in front of the curtain on a regular basis, I'll bet the audience will learn to keep up the applause. :)

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To be fair to the audience, no one wants to sit (or stand) applauding a blank curtain when it's unlikely that the curtain will rise again. Companies need to be consistent in their curtain call policy for principals. If the principals appear in front of the curtain on a regular basis, I'll bet the audience will learn to keep up the applause.

If my memory serves, this practice has started only this year at PNB (with perhaps the occasional exception previously). I have assumed it is something Peter Boal initiated, and it has been done consistently this year. In my observation, the Seattle audience is slowly figuring this out. My guess is that next year the audience will be "trained".

I agree with you that it is quite awkward with so many audience members standing up and gathering up their belongings (some actually "sneaking" out before the applause even gets rolling, even with the full curtain still up -- very rude I have always thought). My guess is that the problem is the Seattle Center parking garage. The way it is designed, one can end up a long line waiting for all the cars exiting to merge into traffic. Folks want to beat that line-up. I simply refuse to park in that facility for this reason. Indeed, by the time these newly instituted individual curtain calls come around, half the folks are milling around, distracted, not knowing what to do.

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My guess is that the problem is the Seattle Center parking garage. The way it is designed, one can end up a long line waiting for all the cars exiting to merge into traffic. Folks want to beat that line-up. I simply refuse to park in that facility for this reason. Indeed, by the time these newly instituted individual curtain calls come around, half the folks are milling around, distracted, not knowing what to do.

I agree with this. I only park there when I'm planning to attend the post-performance Q&A's. I should have realized that with the length of the ballet there wouldn't be any for Sleeping Beauty, but I didn't, and parked there on Opening Night. 45 minutes after the performance ended, I just about made it to the exit. I do understand the women next to me yesterday who ran out the door as soon as the final curtain dropped.

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When I was a kid we had season tickets to the Seattle Opera, and my father was a master at getting out of the theater during the final bows, to avoid the backup at the garage. Now, I don't park there unless I can't find a space anywhere else in the neighborhood.

I seem to remember some "in front of the curtain" calls last year with PNB, though I could certainly be mistaken.

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I seem to remember some "in front of the curtain" calls last year with PNB, though I could certainly be mistaken.

Might have been. But I'm pretty sure that doing it on a regular basis after every performance began just his year. (But then I too could be mistaken :))

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I think that it's appropriate in different situations. For example, whenever i see the Nutcracker in Columbus, OH, it never fails that after the last note of the GPPD has ended, the audience is on their feet. Unfortunately, last year when I went I didn't end up standing. It had been a while since I had been up to the Ohio Theatre to see Nutcracker and I do remember seeing some pretty spectacular PDD, but this one, eh,lackluster to say the least. And not to mention the CSO (Columbus Symphony) sounded out of tune in a few places. It may have been that the seats we had were higher than where we usually sat. And I don't care if it was the last show of the Nutcracker season. I expect PERFECTION on that GPPD in Act II. But I digress. Usually, with applause, it has become a sort of tradition to clap along with the Trepak, encouraged of course by Clara, Nutcracker and Drosseylmeyer. And any dance that has kids in it in Act II, they do anything cute or funny or amazing (one year our Mother Ginger got replaced by kid clowns, and they did some awesome acrobatics. Again, personal taste is the key here. If the audience is wowed by something, I say, why not applaud. The ONLY reason I get upset is when the audience FAILS to applaud. Unless we've all be drawn into the story, I've assumed everyone is asleep and I clap! Regarding curtain calls, if I remember correctly the curtain drops, the stage clears, and, in the case of Nutcracker, we're back in the land of sweets and the cast comes out one by one and we applaud and then the curtain goes down and we continue clapping because we know that immediately after it drops the first time, it's going back up. Full cast bow again, usually accompanied by the Conductor who also gives props to the orchestra.

All in all, I do think that there is a time to clap and a time NOT to clap, but as a lot of you have said, the dancers feed off the audience energy. Whether it's by the enthusiastic clapping or seeing the audience on the edge of their seats wanting more, wondering what's going to happen next, I think that if the performance blows you completely out of the water and just completely brings a new perspective of ballet to your life, I think that as long as you're ok with it, it's fine.

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The other day I spoke to a woman who spent several years in Stuttgart in the early '70's. She was able to see Haydee and Cragun many times and attended the first performance of "Romeo and Juliet" after John Cranko died. She described how at the end, for 2-3 minutes the audience sat in silence, before someone began to applaud, and how after that, the ovation lasted 10 minutes.

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At the moment of Giselle's death In the attached link I would expect the type of silence where you can hear a pin drop. This doesn't happen, but I'm sure the audience is intensely moved. I guess different cultures have different ways of expressing their emotions:

http://www.youtube.com/user/kabaiivansko#p/u/2/5_mA32Tzh_A

...so imagine when Mme would still dare to die onstage...! :sweatingbullets:

I still remember...it used to be pandemonium...so magical...

The :clapping: and screaming start around 5:25 all the way to 6:43...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vALJHzZBSiA&feature=related

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Yes it's magical. The clapping starts just as she's falling to the ground.

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At the moment of Giselle's death In the attached link I would expect the type of silence where you can hear a pin drop. This doesn't happen, but I'm sure the audience is intensely moved. I guess different cultures have different ways of expressing their emotions:

...so imagine when Mme would still dare to die onstage...! :sweatingbullets:

I still remember...it used to be pandemonium...so magical...

The :clapping: and screaming start around 5:25 all the way to 6:43...

This video (the Alicia Alonso one) is exactly what popped into my head when I read the title of this thread. If I'm ever lucky enough to be in a situation where stellar dancers inspire my fellow audience members to go nuts like this and I'm feeling it too, I will enthusiastically join in, even shaking my fist at Albrecht for doing Gis wrong. This clip gets me every time.

Please believe it wasn't my intention -- it's not a competition or anything -- but on one occasion so far, I'm 100% sure I started the clapping. Kind of a cool feeling.

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