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
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.