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Clapping question


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#16 amitava

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 02:24 PM

There do exist times in ballet when there is no one thing that triggers applause, but the audience has been "whipped up" to it.  A case in point ....

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I don't deny that applause under certain circumstances seems appropriate, but I come across those special moments very rarely. But then I have not attended many live performances. I was more concerned about two factors (1) does the sound drown the music (2) does it break the concentration of the dancers and musicians. One of the responses was interesting that some dancers may actually worry if there is no clapping :P (3) Does it disturb other audience members?

Most times it does disturb my concentration and breaks the spell, primarily because the music is drowned. Also, applause, like laughter seems to be infectious/instinctive. Many people seem to clap because someone else if doing so..and from watching them, it is not that they are thinking about clapping...they just do it when they hear the sound.

During a rehearsal of a Balanchine Pas de Deux at Dance Salad, I was surprised to hear a loud clapping behind me when Zdenek Konvalina was doing his Manege thingies. Well upon turning back I discovered it was Maina Gielgud guiding the time of the leaps and landings :)

#17 brivagook

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 04:01 PM

Also, just a note in response to the Russians "milking" their applause.

I was able to see many performances at the Maryinsky in St. Petersburg last summer, and one clapping-related aspect that I noted was that often, especially if a dancer is struggling through something, the audience will try to "will" them through it with clapping in time to the music. This tended to happen specifically with foutee turns that were in danger of going awry. However, at the Vaganova Academy graduation performance, when the first shade was running towards the upstage left corner to begin those traveling releves in arabasque, the audience went ahead and started giving her their encouragement before she even got to the corner! Those guys know their classic choreography, and they know when something difficult is coming up. They really wanted this girl to deliver the goods on it.

And whoever said it before is definitely correct.... they bow until their mothers have stopped clapping... even if most of the theater has already emptied out! I guess they don't want to disappoint their die-hard fans, who are still screaming for more! :)

#18 Paul Parish

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 05:11 PM

Mel, you're totally right -- I've seen that too in Petrouchka -- it happens almost every time. The music is consolidating the big melody, but they keep playing scraps of it, parts of it, and you feel it winding up, building up like a thunderstorm but it WONT start raining, and then finally all the trumpets come together and the nursemaids start twirling their handkerchiefs, the big tune finally arrives, and the house is just going crazy.

Stravinsky had a hand in that.

There's a similar place in Alvin Ailey's Revelations, in the finale, Wade in the Water, when there's this incredible sense of having ARRIVED and the audience just goes crazy. Sure-fire. In fact, that's the one place where you KNOW the dancers are going to encore the whole piece..... they always do, and when you're totally delirious they invite you to come up onstage and dance with them, and lots of people go up and thrash around till they come to their senses and are ready to go home....

#19 carbro

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 07:33 PM

What Paul said.

First, on Revelations, I haven't seen that happen in New York. Perhaps City Center's stage cannot be mounted from the audience. But we've all wanted to be up there, part of it. Geez, I have to make a special trip to the Bay Area to experience one of my hometown companies!

Also, Petrouchka. I heard it performed by pianist Yakov Kasman, and in the Shrovetide scene, I thought I'd jump out of my skin with joy. I agree that Stravinsky has a big hand in the audience response there.

Early this season, Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes led a two performances of Ballet Imperial. At the end of the first performance's second movement, the audience was drenched in emotion, holding our collective breath. The house was pin-drop silent, and as Marcelo took his last steps into the wings, some vulgarian started the applause and broke the spell. The second performance did not attain that magical intensity (beautiful as it was), so applause was completely appropriate.

#20 bart

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:04 AM

Just thought of another. The audience anticipates the Spectre de la Rose's leap out the window, and the applause can start even before he disappears. (The musical build-up to the leap is unsubtle.)

This leaves the poor girl (and orchestra) to fiddle through her awakening and picking up of the rose. I always think that whatever she feels about her dream must be overwhelmed by her shock at finding several thousand noisy people in her room.

#21 amitava

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 10:15 AM

Just thought of another.  ...

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Thanks I like these examples where connoisseurs consider it acceptable..hell required clapping. Looking forward to other examples. I have not seen any of these pieces. So I need to make it a point to try and experience the scenes on video at a minimum. I have no idea when a "live" experience will happen! I know it is not the same.. but at least I will try and see if I get carried away a little..After all I can always clap in front of the TV.

#22 danceintheblood

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 05:04 PM

I am not a random clapper

I don't like to be in a theatre with random clappers

To everything, there is a season and a time to clap

#23 Helene

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 05:26 PM

To everything, there is a season and a time to clap

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That's a lovely way of putting it, danceintheblood.

#24 Skittl1321

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 07:14 AM

I am a little late on this topic, but I wanted to add my two cents.

I am used to live theatre, not live ballet, and the few times I have seen ballet I have felt rather bad that I didn't clap more, but at the same time, I didn't want to clap EVERYTIME the audience clapped, which seemed to me everytime someone moved. I am still getting used to the fact that the story of the ballet stops for bows in the middle of the performance. I clap when something is extraordinary, but the audiences I have seen a ballet with (my 3 live ballets...) have clapped constantly.

At the same time, backstage for our schools performance of Cinderella the jester was performing a mutliple turn sequence and our AD was quitely whispering "why aren't they clapping" to one of the company dancers. She was a former principal dancer and clapping in the middle of an impressive turn sequence was obviously something she expected.

#25 EvilNinjaX

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 08:52 AM

I do not get to see many live performances with an audience, and I normally watch during a tech/dress rehearsal.  But the few times that I have attended performances, I have noticed that many people start clapping during some "exciting" action on stage, before the sequence/section of choreography ends.  I do not know the technical terms for these movements, but usually these are moves that are repeated in succession ..and the clapping started 75% to 80% into the sequence.

Is this normal etiquette or are Texas audiences a tad on the rusty side?  Does this bother the dancers or encourage them?  I usually wait for a bow to show my appreciation, as I am not a premature clapper...hope that came out right :devil:

Also some folks have informed me that "Russian milk the applause".  What exactly does that mean?  Is this a stereotype? I don't get to see Russian dance troupes very often.

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i saw a video clip of Carreno and his sister(? or cousin?) performing in Cuba; i think this was in the ABT BORN TO BE WILD dvd. As they were dancing, the crowd was going crazy and I mean not just clapping but cheering and screaming like they were at a Soccer match. it was the coolest thing i've seen as you could even feel all that audience energy thru the tv!

-goro-

#26 Roach

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:05 AM

Being new to Ballet, I figured that a standard etiquette would be to wait until the music has stopped. On the other hand, I remember that in the 1989 Bolshoi performance of Swan Lake (Mikhalchenko) there are several instances where the audience applaudes in unison at moments that probably seem inappropriate to the sensibilities of some of these forum members. One would be when Odette first appears, another more obvious one is in the middle of the 32 Fouettés. In fact, it surprised me at first to hear that the general audience mood during any applause was more like excited soccer fans than prim and proper audience members concerned with formal applause etiquette. I am by no means inconsiderate or anti-etiquette, but I believe it bears mentioning that our ideas concerning this matter might be affected by our local cultures and not to be confused with some ideal of a universal etiquette. When the Tchaikovsky Ballet from Perm performed Swan Lake here last month, I was the lone applauder when Elena Kulagina first appeared as Odette. Realizing that my fellow locals were not familliar with the "Bolshoi Etiquette" :), I toned down my responses somewhat out of general consideration.

#27 Helene

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 09:18 AM

I am by no means inconsiderate or anti-etiquette, but I believe it bears mentioning that our ideas concerning this matter might be affected by our local cultures and not to be confused with some ideal of a universal etiquette.

And "local" can mean very local. Balanchine did not like the music to be interrupted for applause and bows, and while there has always been spontaneous applause at NYCB when a major dancer makes a first appearance in a ballet like Sleeping Beauty -- I've never seen this for Agon or Four Temperaments, for example -- at American Ballet Theatre across the plaza at Lincoln Center, this is much more customary.

When Russian touring companies appear in Berkeley, a large portion of the audience is Russian-speaking and observes Moscow/St. Petersburg customs. In Seattle, where there is a much smaller Russian-speaking population, the visiting performers from the Bolshoi must have thought we were zombies :)

#28 Roach

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 01:20 PM

Thanks for that insight, Helene. Since my hometown has been doing fairly well in bringing in more quality ballet to our new state-of-the-art facility (The River Center), I will plan to think in a more international way and clap when the music stops. However, when I do clap there will be at least one bellowing BRAVO in the Bolshoi style. :)

#29 oberon

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:24 PM

The first time I ever went to the ballet I was shocked when people began applauding during the dancing. I just assumed it would be like the opera - which I had been going to for ten years: applaud at the END of the aria, not DURING!

But I quickly adjusted. There are times when applause during a ballet ruins the mood, but other times when it is practically written into the piece. Bravura combinations and flashy exits often seem to be constructed by choreographers as an invitation to the audience to express their esteem for the dancer who's just pulled it off.

Dancers I've known have told me they LOVE to hear applause when they've done something difficult and nailed it. It gives them an energy boost and makes them want to push the level higher. During recent performances of Peter Martins' FRAINDISES at NYC Ballet, Tiler Peck & Daniel Ulbricht drew not just waves of applause but audible gasps as they executed turns and flying, whirling leaps that seemed beyond human possibility. The applause, as well as the music, clearly buoyed the dancers and kept the electric atmosphere of the piece on the ascent til they struck the final pose, unleashing a torrent of cheers.

#30 drb

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:57 PM

Years ago when applause got out of hand Mr. B. would have an insert placed in the program to the effect that one should not applaud while the music was playing. I was always grateful to find such an insert in the program because it meant, that night at least, one could fully enjoy his choreography. Obviously for certain show pieces, that rule would not apply. But for a great choregrapher working with great music it always should.


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