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Alexandra

Applause During Works Of Religious Significance

58 posts in this topic

Political views are often held with the same kind of intensity and personal identification. But leaving that aside, if a work is presented for appraisal by critics and public, it should expect the treatment of any other work so presented.
I have to go along with dirac here. Further, far too many people, in my opinion, consider themselves to be "more special" than others. Claims like this can be resented and often turn out to be dangerous, as we see in so many conflicts throughout history and today.

Putting it in the form of a metaphor: it's one thing to say "my children are the most special kids ever born." It's quite another thing to demand that the people around us behave as though they agree with us.

Having said that, I have no problems behaving with careful public respect towards the religious sensibilities of anyone, provided that I am not ordered to do so or punished for not doing so.

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Let me just say that I think we're right to give religious views special consideration because they are special to most people who hold them. For many they lie at or near the very base of identity.

Political views are often held with the same kind of intensity and personal identification.

They may be strongly held, but I think religious views precede them, or at least logically should for any thinking person. And by "religious views" I mean views on the matters religion concerns itself with, which everyone has, skeptic, agnostic, or believer. That said, while I tend to be liberal, I respect both principled conservatism and principled liberalism.

But leaving that aside, if a work is presented for appraisal by critics and public, it should expect the treatment of any other work so presented.

I'm not sure we're actually in disagreement here. As I've indicated or tried to indicate, I think music, choreography, sets, costumes and dancing are all fair game for criticism. Going back to Sandy's question, "If I am to take this complain seriously, does this mean then that I ought not to clap during a performance of The Rite of Spring?," I just wouldn't clap if I'd been asked not to in deference the company's or choreographer's or presenter's feelings. To my mind, that doesn't seem like a lot of them to ask.

far too many people, in my opinion, consider themselves to be "more special" than others. Claims like this can be resented and often turn out to be dangerous, as we see in so many conflicts throughout history and today.

Putting it in the form of a metaphor: it's one thing to say "my children are the most special kids ever born." It's quite another thing to demand that the people around us behave as though they agree with us.

bart, I couldn't agree more.

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Further, far too many people, in my opinion, consider themselves to be "more special" than others. Claims like this can be resented and often turn out to be dangerous, as we see in so many conflicts throughout history and today.

BINGO......(especially in the realm of religious belief).

......I think religious views precede them (political views), or at least logically should for any thinking person.

I find this a fascinating point of view. kfw, I'd like to understand more about what would have you feel this way. BalletTalk is chock full of some of the smartest and most informed people I've ever run into. I don't often get a chance to get enlightened by a group of this calibre on issues that I've puzzled over for many years.

Just so this discussion doesn't go too far afield....kfw, in your world, how do you justify that religious views precede something like philosophical inquiry. Should I give "special consideration" to a ballet that contains religious themes which explore the fundamental aspects of human existence, but give lesser consideration to a ballet that contains philosophical themes which explore fundamental aspects of human existence?

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They may be strongly held, but I think religious views precede them, or at least logically should for any thinking person. And by "religious views" I mean views on the matters religion concerns itself with, which everyone has, skeptic, agnostic, or believer.

Religious views take precedence for some. They may not for others.

Going back to Sandy's question, "If I am to take this complain seriously, does this mean then that I ought not to clap during a performance of The Rite of Spring?," I just wouldn't clap if I'd been asked not to in deference the company's or choreographer's or presenter's feelings. To my mind, that doesn't seem like a lot of them to ask.

Sandy’s comment also speaks to the question that started this thread. My own feeling is that I may or may not clap as the mood takes me. If I am specially requested not to clap, I may well do so depending upon the circumstances, as a matter of courtesy. I might not, however, refrain from clapping or other audible expression merely because I’m told that I’m about to see something of “religious significance.” That's something that should come out in performance and not as a program note or admonition....

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Sandy’s comment also speaks to the question that started this thread. My own feeling is that I may or may not clap as the mood takes me. If I am specially requested not to clap, I may well do so depending upon the circumstances, as a matter of courtesy. I might not, however, refrain from clapping or other audible expression merely because I’m told that I’m about to see something of “religious significance.” That's something that should come out in performance and not as a program note or admonition....

I just read the whole thread, finally, and I think kfw also said "If I am to take this complain seriously, does this mean then that I ought not to clap during a performance of The Rite of Spring?," I just wouldn't clap if I'd been asked not to in deference the company's or choreographer's or presenter's feelings. To my mind, that doesn't seem like a lot of them to ask."

I think I've been asked not to clap at certain dance performances in the last few years, but can't remember for sure. I always believe that you should never clap under any circumstances if asked beforehand, no matter what the work is, whether or not religious. I can't for the life of me remember what performance it was, but I don't think it was religious. But if requested, there is obviously a serious reason for it in terms of what the performance should or should not include--especially in terms of sound. I remember the spiritual leader (for lack of a better term) and speaker J. Krishnamurti always asked his audiences to never applaud, and he would stop them if they started, but humourously, by saying 'please don't applaud, it's not worth it'.

I never thought about applause or not for 'works of religious significance' or other. I just see what the traditions are in any given circumstance, and if applause is occurring in some religious ritual, I guess I do a bit of it politely, just like I sometimes did the other day at NYCB even when I didn't think 'it was worth it', unless I thought it was so not worth it, that I just didn't anyway.

Isn't an announcement the appropriate thing to make if one wants no applause to bring unwanted sound into any kind of piece? If that is asked for, one should respect it always, and I always do. Unless I'm missing something here, I don't see how this is very complicated (I may well be missing something.) I would really prefer no applause after arias or stupendous ballet variations personally, but I accept that most do. As for booing, I once went to a reading in which I nearly went much further than booing, but didn't. I thought the reader deserved to be roundly shouted at, but somehow didn't, even though others were hissing (this wasn't religious, of course.) As for clapping for the Pope and such things, that always seems a bit curious to me to clap for the mere appearance of a notable figure, which I first noticed when the queen of England and Prince Philip and then-mayor Beame came out at the New York State Theater, and everybody applauded (I doubt it was for Mayor Beame, but then that's the breaks.)

Those wonderful Taiwanese I saw last fall at the Joyce Theater may have said not to clap, but I can't remember. I think we either were told not to or automatically didn't do so, because you don't usually get inspired to clap at something so serene. But if asked beforehand, I think it is never appropriate to clap. If it's just in the programme notes (I don't know if this happens sometimes), people wouldn't all even know not to, if expected. I would imagine that if it appears in the programme notes, there would also be an announcement beforehand, so people would be sure to know. If one then clapped, it wouldn't be showing appreciation, because the 'not clapping' had actually been indicated as a part of what the performance must consist of for its mood, atmosphere, sense of serenity and continuity, etc.

I still think I may be missing something, though, because I can't figure out why it's complex. If not told, I think clapping is always fine if you figure out that that's the tradition. It told not to, then one mustn't, whether or not one dislikes the proceedings. Now if it comes to unruly behaviour, the term itself goes without saying: Youse takes youse chances, and sees if youse don't get arrested, or whatever. I'm now glad I didn't scream at that reader, though, and I guess I might have been thrown out at most. There was that 'tazing' incident some years ago at a john Kerry speech, and I suppose those political protests are another subject (even when it's the long-ago fury at 'Rite of Spring' but I think we're not talking about determined uncivil behaviour, when protesters know what the consequences are.) Apologies if I really am missing something, which might have to do with knowing beforehand about a religious performance, etc. I wouldn't think about it at the ballet, I think, ever automatically. If I were hearing a Bach Oratorio, I would probably by nature never clap for any of it unless I saw others did, in that case it must have been appropriate. But I think somebody said something about Verdi Requiem, I don't know if there's tradition to clap during parts of it, so I'd just clap if I saw that was what other people are doing.

I wasn't sure if the issue of 'that you'd paid for performance' meant that you should be able to clap--well, no, not if expressly asked not to, no matter what the nature of the performance, ritual, etc.. I don't think anybody said that, so at La Scala, even if some of us wouldn't boo, it's certainly accepted to do so, as is all manner of rude behaviour at Amateur Night at the Apollo (if that still exists.)

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......I think religious views precede them (political views), or at least logically should for any thinking person.

I find this a fascinating point of view. kfw, I'd like to understand more about what would have you feel this way. BalletTalk is chock full of some of the smartest and most informed people I've ever run into. I don't often get a chance to get enlightened by a group of this calibre on issues that I've puzzled over for many years.

Just so this discussion doesn't go too far afield....kfw, in your world, how do you justify that religious views precede something like philosophical inquiry. Should I give "special consideration" to a ballet that contains religious themes which explore the fundamental aspects of human existence, but give lesser consideration to a ballet that contains philosophical themes which explore fundamental aspects of human existence?

Sandy, speaking just for myself, I'd want to honor the feelings and the honest thinking -- distinguishing these again from the actual content -- of the philosophical work just as much as the religious one. And I don't think religious views precede something like philosophical inquiry -- a lot of theology is essentially religiously informed philosophy, after all, and philosophy is serious work. I do think they logically precede political views, because they purport to tell us what sort of universe we live in, which obviously impacts the way we choose to live not just individually but as a polis (if I'm using that correctly, but I'm sure you know what I mean anyhow). For example, religious liberals and conservatives both root their stance on certain social issues in their understanding of certain Biblical passages, while atheists put no truck in those passages at all, and often disagree because of it. Educated atheists can only take certain stands because they reject religious views, while educated believers can only take theirs because they reject the arguments of atheism.

That's all I meant.

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In addition to the examples in my long post, I think I remember being asked not to applaud in certain performances of Bharatya Natyam, the classical South Indian dance, although the kiddies are often brought to these affairs and that sort of family rowdiness is accepted in a way that isn't at Western dance perfs.

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I wasn't sure if the issue of 'that you'd paid for performance' meant that you should be able to clap--well, no, not if expressly asked not to, no matter what the nature of the performance, ritual, etc.. I don't think anybody said that, so at La Scala, even if some of us wouldn't boo, it's certainly accepted to do so, as is all manner of rude behaviour at Amateur Night at the Apollo (if that still exists.)

I would be grateful if there were more, not fewer, requests not to clap. In particular a general ban on standing ovations, which seem ever more frequent these days, would be appreciated. :P

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:P

In particular a general ban on standing ovations, which seem ever more frequent these days, would be appreciated.
No disagreement here. Near the end of Israel Ballet's Don Q a few nights ago, quite a few people in the audience somehow got the idea that the ballet was over at the end of the next-to-last scene. They stood up and applauded towards the closed curtain. One of them was the man to my right. He seemed rather annoyed when nothing happened and he had to sit down AND watch another full scene. At the end he asked, "Is this the end?" When I said "Yes" he stood up ... but only to push his way out while others applauded (about half standing). I hope he was able to beat the crowd to valet parking. :dunno:

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The night after Balanchine died, Suzanne Farrell danced the Second Movement of Symphony in C as if in prayer. I don't remember whether the audience applauded, but I know I couldn't.

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The night after Balanchine died, Suzanne Farrell danced the Second Movement of Symphony in C as if in prayer. I don't remember whether the audience applauded, but I know I couldn't.
carbro, you are fortunate to have had such an experience. Your story suggests that a performance can be "religious" in spirit, even if not in content. Thank you for posting it.

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Actually, this reminds me of a possibly related item -- I've read, that at hte ballet -- Royal Opera House -- so many of the audience are getting drunk and rowdy that there's difficulty controlling THEM, andthey make a lot of noise that doesn't seem to have anything to do with responding to the ballet....

"O tempora, o mores" is a complaint that comes from antiquity -- but mores seem to be shifting really fast in the UK as well as of course in the USA -- everything was more staid in ENgland when I lived there myself -- you really could not get food except at meal-times -- really, I mean breakfast could not be bought anywhere after 10 MA, and lunch was similarly something they only at at lunch time.... and dinner could not be had after9:30 PM, and convenience was frowned upon as a motivation. It was much stricter htan anything I was used to, and yet there was no policeman, it's just he way "everybody" felt about it.... of course, that was at Oxford, which was and still is pretty conservative.

When I was a kid in the American south, christians observed a religious hush in the "higher" churches -- Catholic, Piscys, etc -- but hte evangelicals were said to carry on quite a lot -- and hteir music really rocked. but nobody applauded ever.

now Catholics applaud when people get married....

......but to ask the audience to respond to the piece as he did, or at least to publicly limit their response to the piece -- a piece they've had to pay to see -- to his, seems a lot to ask. Personally, I'd favor honoring his intentions anyhow. That seems only respectful. But I still wonder if the request is appropriate. Isn't it MacMillan's job to elicit the response he wants instead of demanding it?

I'm inclined to agree. I’ve seen only bits and pieces of MacMillan’s “Requiem” on video and can’t really make a judgment in this instance (I’d also want to read the text of the program note). However, I wouldn’t think that a ballet audience would need admonishments from the stage or program notes for guidance, and depending on the circumstances such measures could be seen as a tad presumptuous. If the performance conveys a sense of the sacred, no matter if the music or subject matter is formally designated “of religious significance” – a sensitive audience will react appropriately. One hopes. :P

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Omega West is a real liturgical dance company. THe company founded by Carla da Sola, first performed at St John the Divine in NYC and is now affiliated with a seminary, hte Pacific School of Religion. I have danced in a funeral procession with them myself, for the great iconoclastic divine Doug Adams, who introduced sacred dance into their curriculum.

There are also MANY churches that have "praise dancing" as part of hteir liturgies. THere will be a festival of praise dancing in Berkeley in a few months -- I went last year to their concert (all African-Americans, in this case, but there are Evangelical Anglo churches that dance as well) and was pretty amazed by hte technical and expressive level of the dancers. Many are in hte tradition of Revelations, but they're using hip-hop to spread the word, too.

Whatever one thinks about Dawkins' point (and I tend to agree with him on this particular matter), it would perhaps be better if ALL persons -- whether religious or non-religious -- did their damnedest to treat other persons (including those of different belief and value systems) with "special respect."

The setting, of course, makes a difference. Behavior in a church (or equivalent) would obviously be more restrained and respectful than in a public theater. In a church, one is a guest. In a theater, one is a patron.

We also might be expected to behave differently in a performance that merely reflects religious faith and a performance which is aitself intended as act of worship.

Are there dance companies in the United States that actually treat their performances as worship? Would Ballet Magnificat! fall into this category? If so, I would hope to be told this ahead of time by the presenters.

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And I don't think religious views precede something like philosophical inquiry -- a lot of theology is essentially religiously informed philosophy, after all, and philosophy is serious work. I do think they logically precede political views, because they purport to tell us what sort of universe we live in, which obviously impacts the way we choose to live not just individually but as a polis (if I'm using that correctly, but I'm sure you know what I mean anyhow).

I suppose it depends on what you mean by “precedence.” My original point in raising the matter of political convictions was that they can be held just as fiercely, and be as significant to the identity of an individual, as religious views. (In some cases they can be a substitute.) If you’re saying that religious views are more central and more important to the way we live, that’s defensible, if certainly disputable. We may be wandering too far afield from our topic, however....

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Sandy, speaking just for myself, I'd want to honor the feelings and the honest thinking -- distinguishing these again from the actual content -- of the philosophical work just as much as the religious one. And I don't think religious views precede something like philosophical inquiry....

Thanks for the thoughts. I presume we can agree to disagree.

Like Dawkins, I still can't logically (to use your word) understand why society (including ballet audiences) seems to give the realm of religion special consideration. Reading your words above, I see you are comfortable adding "philosophical inquiry" into that "special" category. Frankly, I can't see why once you add philosophical inquiry into the privileged group, you could logically exclude the realm of politics, or almost any other discpline. I see no logical way to draw a line that makes some subjects more worthy of silent respect than others. None the less, I certainly agree with you that some subjects are more serious than others; for example, I might well laugh during Robbins "The Concert", but I find it hard to imagine that I would ever laugh during "Agon". My only point has been that, like Dawkins, I see no logical reason why societies (or ballet audiences) should give special deference to religious pursuits (excepting them from taxation being a good non-passionate parallel).

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Your story suggests that a performance can be "religious" in spirit, even if not in content.

A good point, worth emphasizing. Thanks, bart.

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but I find it hard to imagine that I would ever laugh during "Agon".

But someoe might, finding it pretentious, old-fashioned and even campy. People laugh and make fun of things I hold 'sacred' as art all the time.

My only point has been that, like Dawkins, I see no logical reason why societies (or ballet audiences) should give special deference to religious pursuits (excepting them from taxation being a good non-passionate parallel).

It's somewhat too complicated and off-topic to debate taxation of religious organizations, since it's hard to see that one of the most charitable organizations in the world (if not THE most), viz., the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities is not somehow compensating by all that giving (which it does do) for being tax-exempt whereas Scientology isn't, which is also tax-exempt. Bu that's as :sweatingbullets: as I'm going to get on this.

As for ballet audientce, they should not automatically know to give special deference to any kind of progrom, religious or not, unless they are told to, which is always a matter of just being asked not go applaud. And if they ARE told that they are being asked to not applaud because it is of 'religious significcance', that's okay too, it's not the audience's business to determine how a work is to be performed, and in this case, then one should just not go to a 'religiously significcant' work, but if one does, and even if told that that is why by those who have made and are presenting the production, that is enough. By agreeing to the Terms & Conditions, you are 'not showing special deference' by not applauding, you are doing what those who are presenting expect in terms of respect of what you've come to see. They have the right to ask this for whatever reasons, religious or otherwise. If they don't ask, then you don't have to even think about it. I don't think either religion or philosophy are things that you should know to 'treat with special deference' beforehand, if you're talking about just performance, which presumably this discussion is about--not the whole domains themselves.

But I definitely think that if a performance of a specifically religious work is presented and those presenting and performing say we don't want applause (which is the specific word in Alexandra's topic title), they have the right to ask for it and have it be observed, including if they specify 'because or its special religious significance'. It would be equally fine to ask for no applause because 'the mood of the piece will be interrupted by the sound of audience applause', I think I now remember a soloist doing a piece called 'Stones' at the Japan Society, and we were asked to not applaud in order to allow the piece to sustain its peaceful and tranquil nature.

So that my point is that just because you agree to observe someone else's request that you do not applaud because sometning is, to them, 'or religious significance', does not mean you are giving 'special deference' to that. But that may not be what is being discussed. I just see that, if asked, for whatever reason, not to applaud, including being told why, you just shouldn't. Because, what would you then do, applaud? No, because you probably hadn't liked the 'religiously siginificantly piece' anyway, although one could do some catcalls and hissing if one felt strongly.

It's just that it's simple: Some people are going to give religious works more 'special deference' than others think they deserve. They do not have the right to enforce this, but they can request at least no applause, and expect it that to be observed. I don't give religious works more deference than other kinds, and frankly am not interested in many of them, no, it's worse, I'm not seriously interested in any of them for the religious content itself, although I love much Christian art, Hindu art, Buddhist art, etc.. It's like if you go into a Hindu temple, and they ask you to take off you shoes: You may not feel any reverence for the Hindu religion if you are a tourist, but you certainly do take off your shoes if they tell you to.

A ballet audience member should know how to refrain from normal audience behaviour only if instructed; he should not even think of it otherwise unless he is somehow moved by the work itself to remain silent--but that is never going to happen collectively, even if we have 'total silence anecdotes about all Carnegie Hall quiet as they were hypnotized by Horowitz and his piauissimo', so if a choreographer or theater director wants to have the best chance for silence during a performance, he does need to tell the audience. It may be possible that the audience was asked not to applaud during the play verision of Didion's 'Year of Magical Thinking', with Redgrave. That would have been appropriate, although I didn't go, so I don't know for sure if that was done.

If this has only to do with performance, I don't see that it is a religious or philosophic matter, it is an artistic decision (even if they call it 'religious' or whatever else). Frankly, if DeFrutos asked the audience not to applaud becuase his 'naughty dance' was so delicate it would be ruined by audience applause, I'd either do it, or just give in to unruly behaviour, or leave, according to my predilections. I think both Dawkins and Hitchens have good things to say, but I don't see what they have to do with perofrmance applause and what ought and ought not to be observed, according to what they or anybody else feels about religion.

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Patrick, you and I may be interpreting this issue differently. The question by the OP'er was whether an audience ought to observe a note in a program not to clap because the performance had religious significance.

My interpretation of that request is that an audience is presumed to agree and to understand such a request, and is being asked to observe such a request by virtue of the presumed deference inherent with religious subjects. It is that presumption that I am questioning (and why I posted my rhetorical question of: "Should I therefore not clap at the Rite of Spring"). I have no problem if a company, choreographer, or performer requests that no clapping occur, but I do object to the underlying presumption that somehow a religious theme should be given special consideration simply by virtue of the circumstance that the theme is religious in nature.

You are misunderstanding my position in another way. I am not saying that it is the audience member who is giving 'special deference' (each member can do so, or not, at their whim), but I am saying that when the organizers of the performance ask that you not clap because the theme is religious, it is the organizers who are giving the religious theme 'special deference'. You have put my cart before my horse :sweatingbullets:. Now, if the organizers were to say: "Please don't clap because the choreographer (or the perfomers) has a strong religious commitment which forbides clapping during a ballet with this theme", I would not feel that would be giving 'special deference' to a religious themed ballet (and each audience member could decide whether or not they wished to observe that request). In my world, it is all about what is presumed (it is on that question of presumption that Dawkins has something relevant to say).

P.S. I agree with you that someone just might laugh during "Agon". I certainly have no problem with that (as long as the reaction was genuine and not done with some agenda). OTOH, I can't imagine that **I** would ever laugh. Each member of the audience can make their own choice.

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My interpretation of that request is that an audience is presumed to agree and to understand such a request, and is being asked to observe such a request by virtue of the presumed deference inherent with religious subjects. It is that presumption that I am questioning (and why I posted my rhetorical question of: "Should I therefore not clap at the Rite of Spring"). I have no problem if a company, choreographer, or performer requests that no clapping occur, but I do object to the underlying presumption that somehow a religious theme should be given special consideration simply by virtue of the circumstance that the theme is religious in nature.

Well put, Sandy.

It's like if you go into a Hindu temple, and they ask you to take off you shoes: You may not feel any reverence for the Hindu religion if you are a tourist, but you certainly do take off your shoes if they tell you to.

It isn’t quite the same because a temple is an actual place of worship and the “When in Rome....” adage most certainly applies. A theatrical performance is different, although one may decide as a matter of courtesy to do as requested.

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In Clement Crisp's review of the Royal Ballet's current triple bill, he writes this, after a mention of MacMillan's "Requiem."
One complaint: the audience must be asked, before curtain-rise, not to applaud during a work of religious significance. On both Saturday and Tuesday, clapping and baying “bravos” ignored a programme note to this effect.

I wondered how American audiences might react to such a program note, and such a custom (and this may well vary by region). This was once common custom, but in our "anything goes" age, I was curious if it were still generally known, or if things have changed.

That's the original post, and the part that I'm responding to primarily is just that Crisp is saying that there needed to be an announcement made, because the clapping and bravos 'ignored a programme note'. They probably just didn't see it. As for 'American audiences reacting do such a programme note' diffently, they clearly do. While not being religious at all, I can't see that there is anything in this except whether the audience knew how they were asked to react or not, and I think Crsip was indicating just that they probably hadn't read the notes.

Patrick, you and I may be interpreting this issue differently. The question by the OP'er was whether an audience ought to observe a note in a program not to clap because the performance had religious significance.

My interpretation of that request is that an audience is presumed to agree and to understand such a request, and to observe such a request, by the presumed inherent virtue of religious subjects. It is that presumption that I am questioning (and why I posted my rhetorical question of: "Should I therefore not clap at the Rite of Spring"). I have no problem if a company, choreographer, or performer requests that no clapping occur, but I do object to the underlying presumption that somehow a religious theme should be given special consideration simply by virtue of the circumstance that the theme is religious in nature.

It doesn't matter if the audience presumes or agrees with such a request, and they are not 'presumed to'. If they are, it doesn't matter. The presenter might wish that there was a presumption of 'inherent virtue of religious subjects', but he knows perfectly well that there is not. He is satisfied that the performance go as he wanted, and he has that right, no more.

You are misunderstanding my position in another way. I am not saying that it is the audience member who is giving 'special deference' (each member can do so, or not, at their whim), but I am saying that when the organizers of the performance ask that you not clap because the theme is religious, it is the organizers who are giving the religious theme 'special deference'. You have put my cart before my horse. :sweatingbullets: Now, if the organizers were to say: "Please don't clap because the choreographer (or the perfomers) has a strong religious commitment which forbides clapping during a ballet with this theme", I would not feel that would be giving 'special deference' to a religious themed ballet (and each audience member could decide whether or not they wished to observe that request). In my world, i9 is all about what is presumed (it is on that presumption that Dawkins has something relevant to say).

No, I am not misunderstanding your position. I completely and fundamentally disagree with it, primarily because if the organizers want to say 'it is of religiious significance', they mean obviously that they think so for themselves, and that comes first. They only ask the audience not to applaud, not to become 'prayerful' or even submit to anything. The performers have the right to present whatever they wish to, and warnings about the DeFrutos piece were sufficient as per Simon's succinct descriptions of the London performances, just as a 'programme note' was indeed NOT sufficient in this case, because the audience didn't observe it. The organizers should not be expected to 'overexplain' their position. If an audience member is sufficiently independent-minded, he can ignore it in all ways except applauding. I don't believe that this Royal Ballet story 'presumes' that anyone must 'give special deference to something because they surely must also feel that this is as important as the organizers do', just that they show the respect that the organizers have the right to demand in not applauding, they are not being told what to think, no matter how the programme is worded.. By the same token, DeFrutos's buggeries, etc., let you know what you're getting beforehand, and they have done that as a courtesy and a safeguard. Either extreme gives you enougyh information for the basic policies that ought to be observed. MacMillan's piece just deserves to be respected as instructed, it cannot be that he nor anyone else, cared that much about what 'special deference' beyond not applauding came into it.

Now, I do respect your interest in all these philosophical matters, and we probably agree on most of them. I just think either a saint or a pervert who's got the stage, having met all legal obligations, should be the one to call all the shots. If he 'would rather' you 'show deference' to religious subjects, he knows as well as you and I do, that that's his problem, and that's not even on his mind. He just doesn't want the performance interrupted by applause, any more than Suzanne Farrell would have wanted something she did in 'Mozartiana' to be applauded, as the 32 fouettes in 'Swan Lake'. But that kind of tradition was understood to some degree in Balanchine's day, and not everybody will know. The big issues are not what Clement Crisp was talking about, but Alexandra's original query does show we feel differently about these performance practices, whether or not we're religious. I'm not, but I do feel MacMillan is absolutely right to demand silence, and don't disagree with dirac that he should 'try to elicit it' so much as just that that's unrealistic. For religious and artistic reasons of his own, he wants quiet during the piece, and he has the right tio ask if for those reasons. You can disagree with all of if you know he wants this, except for the applause itself. And I'm sure he could not have been less than fully aware of this.l

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It isn’t quite the same because a temple is an actual place of worship and the “When in Rome....” adage most certainly applies. A theatrical performance is different, although one may decide as a matter of courtesy to do as requested.

It is not a matter of courtesy to do as requested by the artists. It is an insult to go against it. It means that the audience should have power over what is considered quite fundamental by the creators.

'one may decide to do so as a matter of courtesy tto do as requested'.

No. If you do not do as requested by the artists, when it is clear that they have a strong commitment to making the performance go a certain way and need your cooperation, you are being actively discourteous to go against their request. it is not some whim of the audience to decide they can be disrespectiful if the spirit moves them in some other way.

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It isn't quite the same because a temple is an actual place of worship and the "When in Rome...." adage most certainly applies. A theatrical performance is different, although one may decide as a matter of courtesy to do as requested.

It is not a matter of courtesy to do as requested by the artists. It is an insult to go against it. It means that the audience should have power over what is considered quite fundamental by the creators.

'one may decide to do so as a matter of courtesy tto do as requested'.

No. If you do not do as requested by the artists, when it is clear that they have a strong commitment to making the performance go this way, you are being actively discourteous to go against their request. it is not some whim of the audience to decide they can be disrespectiful if the spirit moves them in some other way.

I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree, Patrick, not that I think we're actually that far apart. The creators may regard something as fundamental and I may differ with them. I know of very few artists who lack a strong commitment to the performance going in a certain way. I doubt I would ever clap when I've been specifically requested not to do so, but the objection in principle in regard to refrain from doing so on the grounds of religious significance was outlined very well by Sandy.

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And I don't think religious views precede something like philosophical inquiry -- a lot of theology is essentially religiously informed philosophy, after all, and philosophy is serious work. I do think they logically precede political views, because they purport to tell us what sort of universe we live in, which obviously impacts the way we choose to live not just individually but as a polis (if I'm using that correctly, but I'm sure you know what I mean anyhow).

I suppose it depends on what you mean by “precedence.” My original point in raising the matter of political convictions was that they can be held just as fiercely, and be as significant to the identity of an individual, as religious views. (In some cases they can be a substitute.) If you’re saying that religious views are more central and more important to the way we live, that’s defensible, if certainly disputable. We may be wandering too far afield from our topic, however....

We are wandering afield, alright. :sweatingbullets: I believe in showing people respect for their deeply held views. (I won't claim to always live up to my own standard). I am saying, for reasons I've tried to explain earlier, that religious views are behind political orientations, even though many people may have spent more time thinking through, and may feel much more deeply, their political views.

Like Dawkins, I still can't logically (to use your word) understand why society (including ballet audiences) seems to give the realm of religion special consideration. Reading your words above, I see you are comfortable adding "philosophical inquiry" into that "special" category. Frankly, I can't see why once you add philosophical inquiry into the privileged group, you could logically exclude the realm of politics, or almost any other discpline. I see no logical way to draw a line that makes some subjects more worthy of silent respect than others.

I hope what I wrote to dirac above will clarify my position. I guess it's true that for some people, political activism stands in the same place that practice does for religious believers, as a way to express deepest convictions, as the most responsible and charitable way to live. I guess it's because, as I wrote above, I think religious views in practice precede political ones, that I privilege them.

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I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree, Patrick, not that I think we're actually that far apart. The creators may regard something as fundamental and I may differ with them. I know of very few artists who lack a strong commitment to the performance going in a certain way. I doubt I would ever clap when I've been specifically requested not to do so, but the objection in principle in regard to refrain from doing so on the grounds of religious significance was outlined very well by Sandy.

Ok

Okay, but the final point about that part is that, if you do clap when you're asked not to, it could neve make any sense. Because applause is always supposed to mean appreciation, but if you do it against the Artist's will (whether or not he's religious or anything else), the clapping is tantamount to booing. I am sure you personally would not do it, but that is the fact of what iw would mean. If your appreciation is sincere, then clapping when it is not asked for is no different from booing: And that is okay in my book, I do NOT have anything against booing, and think plenty of performers deserve it.

The whole point of not clapping for MacMillan's Requiem is to respect him as an Artist, if he is also religious, then that is a part of his Artist Persona, and should be respected like the rest of it. You could not applaud 'in protest to his absurd religiosity', but you could applaud against what he asked as an important Artist. And that would be a form of booing,. So one can do this. I thought Susan Sontag deserved MUCh MORE when she was boasting after her infamous 9/11 essay in the New Yorker, which made everybody furious here in its supercilious tone.

Please don't take offense at this, i don't mean any, and am not trying to 'get the last word' (if you have one, go ahead and say one.), nor am I trying to make you agree with me (you can't make people do that anyway) I just wanted this last time to point out the strange oddity of hoow clapping, which is always meant to show apprecaition (unlike booing, which never is), could be seen to become the reverse of its own function. But no big deal. I think Sandy and kfw and you all made good points, and kfw explained how he feels religion precedes, I guess I am this 'the Artist precedes' of sometning, and so that, if one doesn't abide by there requests, then one ought to just go ahead and be uncivil, There's a contradiction in terms of using a form of appreciation that is also unasked for, as if one knew better than the Artist how you could show the appreciation. It's like sometimes hugging and kissing and beyond may seem like affection from the one 'giving it', but the receiver may want none of it.

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