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#46 Hans

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 04:37 PM

As a dancer, I can confirm that we definitely can tell the difference between attentive and inattentive silence.

#47 Golden Gate

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 03:10 PM

There are times when applause during a ballet ruins the mood, but other times when it is practically written into the piece.



Oberon, I agree completely. I think that it's more 'production specific'... the rules change according to the show.
This subject came up recently with Colorado Ballet's triple bill 'Choreographers Showcase'. The three productions were very well received by every audience that saw them; the first was Paul Taylors 'Company B', and the last was Twyla Tharp's 'Nine Sinatra Songs'... and during both of those the audience was whipped into a screaming pitch by the time the curtain fell - and had clapped and yelled continuously during, and the dancers loved it. However - the second piece was designed for CB by Jessica Lang (just stunning), but it was different... it's very unusual... dark and curious, very contemporary. The only music is live accompaniment (the piano was situated in front of the stage, just off to the side, under spotlight), and the mood is one of introspect... observance and silence. During this piece there was intermittant scattered applause that grew into thunderous applause and the dancers REALLY didn't like it, they said it was distracting and annoying because it ruined the mood. And it did, to a point. When the audience wasn't clapping, there was a definite pin drop silence and at the end a collective witholding of breath throughout until the final moment.
I'd say that it depends on what production one is seeing as to whether or not it's appropriate, as there are so many different variations and styles on stage... I don't think it's a 'one size fits all' kind of question and answer - it can't be, with such a vast array of productions offered up in so many different places. Location has a big role in it, as does production - which usually determines the ilk of patron... there are different patrons for Cinderella than there are for Dracula... than there are for a triple bill... and each group is expecting different things from the talent onstage, and each group responds differently to their respective situation.

#48 SandyMcKean

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 12:32 PM

Here's a different but related issue.

As I've said here before I think the audience is the audience, it will applaud as it does. There ain't much right or wrong about it. However, I will admit to something that can annoy me, and that is standing ovations (SOs).

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.

#49 Helene

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 12:47 PM

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.

For music, it happens on a regular basis when there's a guest soloist with the symphony, for Visiting Orchestras, and for at least some of the pianists in the President's Piano Series. For dance, just about everything in World Dance seems to get one, with lots of hooting and whistles, and often at On The Boards.

I believe that the recent symphony performances with Rostropovich deserved it, but even he had put an end to it. To get the symphony off stage, instead of going offstage by himself again, he started the Rostropovich Conga Line, where he grabbed the concertmaster and the next nearest musician and proceeded down the opening to backstage, while the musician at the end of the line grabbed another, until the first violins had made their exit.

#50 carbro

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 01:16 PM

What SandyMcKean said, but add the Bravo, Brava, Bravi business.

If it happens six times a night, what's the big deal anymore? When the response to dancers is out of proportion to the level of performance, I tend to applaud less -- or not at all -- in an effort to equalize things. One versus 3,000??? Ah, well!

#51 richard53dog

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 02:49 PM

.

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

#52 YouOverThere

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 03:33 PM

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.

#53 sandik

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 01:23 PM

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.

#54 Hans

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 09:09 PM

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!

#55 bart

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 06:24 AM

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. :)

#56 SandyMcKean

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 06:56 AM

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.

#57 Helene

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 08:28 AM

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.

#58 sandik

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 09:05 AM

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.

#59 SandyMcKean

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 10:33 AM

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 :))

#60 tchaikovskyfan

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 09:56 PM

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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