Posted 15 August 2013 - 03:16 PM
He night still feel the same way about the kinder, gentler version, but it must have been hellish to deal with one set on revenge.
Posted 15 August 2013 - 03:22 PM
I would be happy to start a clacque at PNB if anyone would like to join me. We could approach a few dancers and get free tickets, see how it goes. Any takers?
Posted 15 August 2013 - 05:22 PM
"....but the few audiences I have heard at the Mariinsky theater were pretty tepid."
Not tepid at all at the performances that I've been to, Drew.
Posted 17 August 2013 - 08:23 PM
There's legendary stories of certain opera singers entertaining groups of claques in their apartments with fine wine and food. I'm kind of surprised though that an old-fashioned claque still exists at the Bolshoi. I had thought in the age of the internet and youtube the "claque" has sort of morphed into a few select fans who will promote certain dancers in social media, upload private flattering films to youtube, and whatnot.
Posted 17 August 2013 - 08:34 PM
Social media can't accomplish some of the things only the physical presence of a claque can, i.e., prolonging the applause and bows to give the premier danseur time to breathe or help along a quick costume change, prompting the audience with the appropriate time to applaud, making the noise that is heard in the YouTube videos or HD broadcasts, etc.
If I were a fan of a Russian dancer and local, I would consider it a paid holiday to do what I'd do anyway. Then I'd go home, because being feted in a hotel room or apartment sounds exhausting. I'm sure there are the ballet equivalent of extroverts like Anna Netrebko who are wired, and many dancers speak in Q&A's of going home and taking a few hours to wind down over a steak, but If you listen to the Ballet Initiative podcast with Joy Womack, these dancers work exhausting hours, and they have to be at the barre the next morning, unlike opera singers.
Posted 19 August 2013 - 02:10 PM
I was interested by this:
This is especially relevant at the Bolshoi, which has been transformed by Russia’s oil-fueled market economy. The seats are now filled by people who can afford them, rather than by the well-versed balletomanes of the Soviet era. Those who approve of the claque say it transmits the sound of a vanishing generation, ordinary working people raised with a passion for classical ballet.
"In principle, yes, I was hiding, I was running away from them," she said. "They were trying to find me through my mother. They found my mother at the theater and said: ‘Why is she not calling us? Why is she not taking care of passes and tickets for us?’ "
In exceedingly rare cases, a dancer takes the step of challenging the claque in public. In 2004, a newly minted prima ballerina, Maria Aleksandrova, infuriated Mr. Abramov and his team by saying she did not need their support. (Ms. Aleksandrova would not comment for this article.) A legendary feud arose between Mr. Abramov and the dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who was quoted making similar comments. What ensued, both men agreed, was a campaign of revenge, mostly aiming to break the dancer’s concentration at key moments in a performance.
Sounds like a sleazy business, even if it is low on the sleaze scale. I tend to agree with Ratmansky on this one.
Posted 19 August 2013 - 02:26 PM
Certainly when harassment, threats, coercion, pressure, and retaliation is involved it's a very sleazy business, and not even on the low scale.
From the point of view of the people in the claque, who have been priced out of their love, putting myself in their shoes, it seems like a reasonable business.
Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:33 PM
I have every sympathy for them and they're certainly low on the corruption scale considering what the 1% is doing in Russia and elsewhere, but much of the behavior and activities described are dubious enough that I don't think passion for the art form is sufficient justification. It is too bad.
Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:36 PM
In regard to ballet audiences in Russia, Tala Lee-Turton (ninth UK student to be accepted to the Bolshoi school) has this to say in a very interesting and pleasant article.
“The atmosphere is incredible and Russian audiences [Bolshoi] are much less reserved than they are over here [UK]. They are pretty raucous [including claque?, the very few that I've experienced are quite loud] and they leave their seats in the stalls to go right up close to the stage to applaud the principle dancers."
(thanks to BalletcoForum for posting this)
Mariinsky audiences are also very enthusiastic, with almost no claque ever, but not 'raucous'. They will go to the front of the stage at the final curtain call to applaud. Also a phenomenon that I've only seen at the Mariinsky. With only a handful of applauding spectators left in the theatre, even the greatest of the stars will return again and again for a curtain call to show their appreciation.
[Smiley added later as to be in compliance with Truth In Reporting Codes]
Posted 31 August 2013 - 02:59 PM
I was sitting in a box at the Mariinsky at the Raymonda performance I attended in front of an English couple, and the man was extremely shocked and disgusted by the clapping during tour de force moments and the people taking pictures and videos with their phones constantly. So, I assume the audience is much more demonstrative in Russia than the English audiences (although I have not been to a ballet performance in England). I believe he said, "This is the worst behaved audience ever!" LOL I kept my mouth shut because I have seen much worse.
From my few experiences at the Mariinsky I did not feel like there was a loud claque helping or harming any one dancer at any given moment there, but that doesn't mean it doesn't ever happen, but I never felt any area of the audience directing the applause or trying to direct it in one way or another. I do think the audiences there are sometimes louder for the males just like what seems to happen here in the U.S. At the Mikhailovsky a huge group of female fans would not let Vasiliev leave and kept applauding for more curtain calls after Flames of Paris. But it seemed like genuine fans and not a claque.
Posted 31 August 2013 - 04:31 PM
Male dancers are flashier, Birdsall, which I think generates more audience response anywhere.
Confessions of A Loving Fan:
I try to compensate for that when I'm in St. Petersburg. Years ago one of our favorite posters here must have heard me and accused me of being a claque at this forum. If so I'm the least financially compensated claque that there is. My 'claquing' costs me a near fortune.
More often these days, I would rather remain stone silent after a great performance, so as not to break the spell, but human nature doesn't always work that way and artists, even ones casting 'ethereal spells', do seem to love applause, although I think that I might have jolted Viktoria Tereshkina once at a curtain call with my burst of enthusiasm.
Added added comment:
I was sitting next to an English gentleman once, Birdsall, who fit the exact description of the folks sitting behind you until the show really started rolling and then he was 'howling' louder than anyone. Stereotypes ain't always what they're supposed to be. Once again Viktoria Tereshkina was the culprit.
Posted 23 January 2014 - 10:23 AM
Since the Sochi Olympics are coming up I'd like to bring up that in figure skating, there is something similar. These fans are called "ubers" and they often follow their favorite skater from competition to competition, reporting back to skating forums if there's been any changes in costume or program. They're often allowed into practices and they'll tweet or instagram photos of their skaters in practice. They set up fan sites, and the fan sites more often than not include fan-fic about their skater. They'll throw flowers and teddy bears on the ice or try to cheer louder than the other skaters' set of ubers.
Being an "uber" requires so much energy and disposable income that I've often wondered if a portion of them are paid by the skaters themselves. I'd like to think not but I wonder.
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