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#16 bart

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 05:00 AM

This is a good addition to a previous thread on Clapping styles: http://ballettalk.in...p...=19989&st=0

I'm a loud-and-long applauder and a producer of bravos. (Especially with performers I've seen often and have come to feel that I "know.") I've never thought about it, abut I guess I do hope that my applause will be "infectious". It's fun, and I always assume that the dancers appreciate it.

In fact, in the old movie musicals, there are pauses after the big numbers, such as Fred and Ginger's dances, to allow the movie audience to applaud the dancing and not drown out the dialogue. Of course, there was no bowing in the films.

When movie audience responses petered out over the years (probably around the release of the "That's Entertainment" series? :beg: ), directors stopped including pauses, and studios began editing out the ones in older fiilms.

Carbro, your post made me think of something. This season the Met did a series of live simulasts in movie theaters. These were in real-time, but also on a screen. Kind of like a hybrid: part live, part film.

About 2/3s of the audience in the theater we attended acted as though it was a movie and showed no reaction during the times when action stopped so that the live audience in NYC could applaud. The rest of us applauded. I found myself so entranced by the idea that so many thousands of us around the world were experiencing a "live performance" at the same time that applauding seemed quite natural. Others, obviously, did not feel the same, even though just about everyone -- clappers and non-clapperst -- seemed to have been thrilled and moved by what we saw.

It was odd to be making noise in the midst of others who were sitting there, snacking on popcorn, immobile and soundless. :D

#17 4mrdncr

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 12:25 PM

I once read an interview article with a dancer who had experienced very different audience reactions in different countries. Paraphrasing: Some applauded at the entrance of the principals, some didn't. Some were mostly silent for the entire performance, and then applauded continuously at the end through numerous curtain calls (behind and before the curtain), finally waiting in "thousands" at the stage door afterwards. In short, national temperament/culture and experience with the art form itself were all factors. For example, NYC audiences applauded at entrances because they recognized and appreciated a dancer, whereas in Japan they were more restrained. The surprise was that a European audience which did not have that much experience with classical dance was as vociferous and enthusiastic as an American audience.

And yes, the Russians were notorious for mid-performance stops to bow--whether they deserved it or not, and I have seen in the past, shameless attempts to "milk" the audience's applause. Not having seen the Kirov or Bolshoi recently I don't know if this is still the case.

#18 Helene

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 01:09 PM

Just this Sunday in a post-performance Q&A, General Director of Seattle Opera Speight Jenkins told us that he warned the singers in the current production of La Boheme that the response of Seattle audiences was more Germanic -- i.e., wait to the appropriate stop in the music to applaud -- vs. the Italianate -- i.e., clap and applaud at all the big moments, even if the music is still playing. An example he gave is that Italian audiences will burst into applause at the conclusion of Musetta's Waltz, while we listened to the transition out of it and waited until the blackout before applauding. He didn't want them to think if we were silent after a scene, we didn't like them. (Or as he put it, to paraphrase, a tenor who didn't get an ovation after "Che gelida manina" would run offstage crying.)

He did mention that German audiences often have huge, long ovations at the end, with rhythmic clapping and stomping. Seattle audiences are, by contrast, obedient: when the curtain goes down and/or the lights come up, a full-fledged ovation peters out in seconds, and we all file out. (Except when Rostropovich was in town, and then we wouldn't stop until he took the hand of the concert-master and led a conga line of musicians off stage.)

#19 Klavier

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 03:53 AM

[font="Trebuchet MS"][size=3]Not a ballet story, but my oddest "applause" incident occurred in Prague, where I had gone to see Puccini's Tosca (performed in Italian with Czech supertitles). This was in 1996 as I recall, prices were dirt-cheap, and the theater was maybe half full. I remember the sets being utterly meaningless, as if the producers just had three or four sets to choose from and plonked the first one they could think of onstage. The oddest thing was that the tenor got no applause. He was no more horrendous than anyone else that night, but they didn't applaud his aria in Act I, they didn't applaud his aria in Act III, and he got no applause at the end.

Years later I described this bizarre incident to an acquaintance, who remarked, "Was he German?"[/font][/size]

#20 bart

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 04:20 AM

Not a ballet story, but my oddest "applause" incident occurred in Prague, where I had gone to see Puccini's Tosca (performed in Italian with Czech supertitles). Years later I described this bizarre incident to an acquaintance, who remarked, "Was he German?"

Bizarre! I can't resist asking: WAS he German?

#21 JMcN

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 04:57 AM

From my ballet-watching experience, the major classics (Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia and some productions of Giselle) seem to have included breaks for the dancers to take a bow. Many more contemporary works do not.

When the late Christopher Gable was artistic director of Northern Ballet Theatre, who specialise in narrative ballets, we were not encouraged to applaud during the performance because it could break the flow and mood of the story line. We could, of course, show our appreciation at the end. It is very hard for me now to applaud mid-performance because I just got used to not applauding.

I would agree with him that it can interrupt the mood. Last time BRB performed Giselle, Chi Cao was performing such a wonderful set of entrechats in act 2 as he was dancing towards his death that many in the audience started spontaneously applauding. As I had the tears streaming down my cheeks at the time, I could not understand how other people were not so wrapped up in the story as I was and, to an extent, it did ruin the mood for me. When I commented on this on another website, I discovered from the responses that I was very much in a minority in my opinion.

At one matinee performance of David Bintley's Galantries in Birmingham some years ago, everyone (including myself) started rapturous applause at the end of the pas de trois and it did ruin the flow. I noticed at the evening performance the orchestra did not even have a nano-second pause between the sections so there was no hint of an opportunity to applaud.

When I have seen Kenneth McMillan's Requiem performed there has usually been a note in the programme asking the audience not to applaud till the end.

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 06:58 AM

I'm a loud-and-long applauder and a producer of bravos. (Especially with performers I've seen often and have come to feel that I "know.") I've never thought about it, abut I guess I do hope that my applause will be "infectious". It's fun, and I always assume that the dancers appreciate it.


Same here bart ! What can i do?, I can't contain myself to do it, specially after the succesful completition of a certain difficult step even before the variation ends... :)

#23 Ostrich

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 10:27 AM

It's fun, and I always assume that the dancers appreciate it.


Certainly I've heard many dancers express this. I'm sure Ivan Vasiliev mentioned this in one of his interviews.

I'll never forget watching a ballerina(don't know who she was) of the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre performing the fouettes from her Le Corsaire variation. She was outstanding and very, very fast. The audience started clapping enthousiastically, upon which she gave us just a hint of a smile and doubled her speed!

#24 angieballerina

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 09:56 AM

mnclimber, I just came across this as it is over a year old (your original post). I just want to say that I was on stage that evening; I was the queen. I am no longer performing. I danced with CBC for 10 years. I'm glad that you enjoyed Sleeping Beauty, and yes, it is difficult when there is no one in the audience. I am happy to tell you that not all of the performances were so poorly attended. :)

It is customary for principals and soloists to take a bow after their variations in a classical production. However, it's got to be a Russian thing for these long, drawn out (sometimes over dramatic) bows. I must say, during may of the performances when we had a packed house with many regular ballet-goers in the audience who were not conservative with applause, it felt appropriate. However, there were many times that the rest of us (meaning the entire company) really felt uncomfortable with the excessive bowing. The king and I started counting per performance! Gotta have something to do while sitting on that throne! LOL! :P

They really are quite good, and I must admit Tatiana's extensions are amazing! I've taken class from her many times and I find myself forgetting the combinations because I am just in awe of her legs. :bow:

I hope that you get a chance to see more ballets and I hope that you enjoy yourself.

#25 MJ

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 03:35 PM

Angie, I was in two different productions of Belle this year, one as the King, the other as courtier. Each had very different bows. In one production the king and queen sat in their thrones and gestured to the audience.

#26 angieballerina

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 05:43 PM

MJ, I goofed up when I replied. I did not quote the original post from mnclimber, who was inquiring about dancers stopping the show after their variations to take these long, dramatic bows. I was in that production that mnclimber was referring to, so that caught my interest. As the queen, I did get to take my own bow at the end. :) After all, I deserved to for my dramatic acting during the "prick" scene! :)

MJ, Where do you perform?


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