erpollock

Ballerinas and Candy Wrappers

34 posts in this topic

I'm glad you raised the point that throwing candy wrappers on the floor caused no discomfort or annoyance to others. It has really helped me understand my negative reaction. The incident caused discomfort to me because I realized that just because a person is a beautiful dancer does not mean she knows or cares about throwing litter on the floor. Why is throwing candy wrappers on the floor objectionable? Isn't it a matter of live and let live? In New York State Theater, a beautiful theatrical space, it is inappropriate to make a mess, and a mess for others less fortunate than you to clean up, namely, the cleaning people. You are spoiling the beautiful space, you are creating an unfortunate impression on others who see what you do, and if you are a dancer with NYCB, you are making subscribers think that dancers are merely a beautiful image, not necessarily good people.

I agree, erpollock, and I think you handled the situation well. (And welcome to Ballet Talk!) I can only imagine what Balanchine, who didn’t even like to see anyone leaning on a piano or using it as a barre, would think of dancers littering the floor. Littering is plain bad manners, not to mention illegal in many circumstances, and has no place in a theatre or anywhere else. Not only can it cause discomfort to others but it makes a public space ugly and unpleasing.

I don't think dancers are any better or worse than anyone else – they’re just people, after all. Throwing your trash on the floor doesn’t make you a bad person, though – only a rude and/or thoughtless one.

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I don't think dancers are any better or worse than anyone else – they’re just people, after all. Throwing your trash on the floor doesn’t make you a bad person, though – only a rude and/or thoughtless one.

Amen! :(

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Thank you for gently making a point. Now, if you could find a way to discourage the noisy unwrapping of candies, that would be a great help. (I have been known to suggest, during an applause break after a divertissement or variation, "Now would be a good time to unwrap your candy," usually to no avail :( )

When I used to have season tickets to the opera, someone sitting a few rows away began unwrapping candy (or whatever) the second -- I mean the nano-second -- the curtain went up. The beginning of every performance, after every intermission. I have no idea what it was or what happened to the wrappers, but the noise, the NOISE went on for a good ten minutes every single time. Many an intermission was spent consulting with the other patrons in my row trying to figure out who the guilty party might be -- triangulations were involved -- but we never determined the offender (lucky for him/her: proposed solutions ranged from a quiet word before the next performance to BB guns under cover of darkness).

Yes, the candy wrapper issue is relatively trivial, but learning/teaching respect for the environment, be it national park or theater, is not. In a perfect world, the complainant would have politely confronted the miscreants and explained their crime, they would have been eternally grateful for the enlightenment and forever ceased dropping candy wrappers on floor, street or meadow. However, on this planet erpollack's response seems reasonable given the possible consequences of confrontation. Maybe they learned a lesson, maybe not. At least nobody resorted to BB guns. :(

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Apparently, very little changes in audiences over the years. Robert Benchley complained of similar behavior in his Vanity Fair and New Yorker articles, and those were in the teens and '20s. In Chinese archæology, a mummy from about 200 BCE showed up of a wealthy woman who had apparently been immobilized by a spinal injury, and spent her final years simply enjoying "the good life", being entertained during all her waking hours. They were able to get a little better idea of what her activity was like from the remains of her last food which were found in her stomach. There were melon seeds. She had been scarfing sweet goodies while she watched the show.

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I have redirected my and Helene's OP from the Mark Morris forum because it really belongs here.

In the meantime I decided to fight my neghbours...one lady in the front texting compulsively, another on my right eating non stopping out of a cellophane bag and a third one on my back holding a baby who decded to play...WTH A RATTLE!!!..yes, mid-performance. I wanted to shoot myself, but that, my friends, goes to that other forum on theater behaviors.

I'm sorry that your neighbors were behaving like they were at the circus.

At one point as was so sick of the whole situation that I stood up in a rage and went out to call the usher on the lady with the cellophane bag-(yes...not one candy, but a whole bag). Once I got his attention and explained the situation, I got the shocking news. This is the dialogue that went on between the usher and me. You be the judge.

"C-Hi.I need your help for a second please...

U- How can I help you?

C- I need you to come with me and tell the lady sitting in front of me to please stop making noises. She has spent the entire performance compulsively eating candy from a cellophane bag. I understand that the theater policy calls for not allowance of food and drinks during performances...

U- I am so sorry I can't help you. For this particular performance food and drinks have been allowed.

C- Since when did the Arsht Center changed the policy...?

U- It s not the Arsht Center, Sir...The Mark Morris company, who rented the theater, has the right to institute specific policies for their performances, and we were advised that they would allow drinks and food inside the hall during their performances.There's nothing I can do about it"

I was-(still am)-in complete shock...so

SHAME, SHAME, SHAME ON YOU, MMDG...!!!

Sans comments after this...

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The Mark Morris company, who rented the theater, has the right to institute specific policies for their performances, and we were advised that they would allow drinks and food inside the hall during their performances.

That sounds like perhaps the company wanted audience members to be allowed to bring in refreshments bought in the theater. They don't sell candy wrapped in cellophane there . . . do they?? Sorry for your rotten experience, but I'm glad it at least occurred during a performance you weren't excited about. Next time, whack that lady with the baby rattle! ;-)

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Does dropping a wrapper make one "bad" and holding a door make one "good"? I know white collar thieves who would steal your last dollar while you were starving and they were feasting, or sue you for decades merely for pleasure and vindictiveness, who always smile to your face and say "please" and hold the door open when you pass. Manners are welcomed and supported, and they permit smoother interactions in society, but having them does not lead to any conclusion regarding one's ethics, morals, or character. Con men are always charming and mannerly. Sometimes poor manners are called for, as well, as a manner of sending a message nonverbally.

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Does dropping a wrapper make one "bad" and holding a door make one "good"? Manners are welcomed and supported, and they permit smoother interactions in society, but having them does not lead to any conclusion regarding one's ethics, morals, or character.

My experience has very little-(actually nothing)- to do with high, complexes theories and deep moral thoughts. I don't really care, nor do I now, if the woman texting, or the other one eating candy or the third one shaking the rattle are beautiful human beings. For that matters, the three of them could have been as amazing as Mother Theresa and I still would find their behavior totally disruptive, disrespectful and invasive. Gosh...seriously...it's really time to stop being so over condescendet and remind people of which basic principles of manners-(those we're all supposed to learn at home, as kids)-are to be applied once you step in a Opera House. The other stuff about murder and stealing and the rest of the commandments is certainly subject for endless discussions, but honestly, I don't think they would be appropriate stuff for this thread. As for the rest, as Helene says, there's always the circus.

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I think Kander & Ebb summed up the whole idea of class, or lack thereof, pretty well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq4VtQQ00XI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nZ7nKh8zHg

Does dropping a wrapper make one "bad" and holding a door make one "good"? Manners are welcomed and supported, and they permit smoother interactions in society, but having them does not lead to any conclusion regarding one's ethics, morals, or character.

My experience has very little-(actually nothing)- to do with high, complexes theories and deep moral thoughts. I don't really care, nor do I now, if the woman texting, or the other one eating candy or the third one shaking the rattle are beautiful human beings. For that matters, the three of them could have been as amazing as Mother Theresa and I still would find their behavior totally disruptive, disrespectful and invasive. Gosh...seriously...it's really time to stop being so over condescendet and remind people of which basic principles of manners-(those we're all supposed to learn at home, as kids)-are to be applied once you step in a Opera House. The other stuff about murder and stealing and the rest of the commandments is certainly subject for endless discussions, but honestly, I don't think they would be appropriate stuff for this thread. As for the rest, as Helene says, there's always the circus.

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