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puppytreats

Where to Sit at the Met

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If you're going to spend that money, however, you're always better off in Center Grand Tier. Yes, the tier is a bit further back than those side boxes, but you do get a full view of the stage. You see patterns and certainly the feet! It's just a much better choice. And if you really have $$$, go with Center Parterre Box (again, try for the front seats). And when you sit in the Grand Tier, you are on the level where the "action" is during the intermissions! The refreshment bars are there, as well as the wonderful balcony overlooking Lincoln Plaza. Good luck and welcome to "Summer with ABT"!

FWIW, I didn't find too much of a difference between Center Parterre and the front row of the Grand Tier, certainly not to justify the price difference. Both views were unobstructed but too distant from the stage to be ideal for me.

Also, regarding Parterre Box seating: front seats are the best, of course, and the middle row seats are totally useless. But in the back row, there's a section of 2 seats and a section of 1 seat divided by an aisle. If you sit in the "1 seat" section in the back row, you can (VERY subtly) kind of scooch your chair a bit toward the aisle, giving you an unobstructed view.

I've had good luck in the orchestra -- the middle of row K center was fine for me (I'm 5'9"), and P1 (a released house seat) was great. But I think generally the orchestra can be a minefield.

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A minefield! My point exactly, Simone!! I'm but 5'1" and to sit in the orchestra for me is a terrible choice. I even get the kiddie booster seat and I can't see. Some people's "big hair" are just too much! And I've tried the "scooching" trick in a box seat, only to have a Met usher reprimand me for moving a seat! Minefield indeed!! It's a crap shoot at the Met, for sure. I can't wait for ABT to move over to the State Theater come their Fall Season, where almost any seat in the house is a better deal than the Met. But of course that theater was actually designed for dance. I do think that most ballet watchers will usually prefer to "sit up" (even if a bit further back), as opposed to an orchestra seat, but sometimes the cache' of the orchestra wins out. I even see many of the critics sitting up now as compared with their usual "house critic seat". It's just better. Many nuances of choreography are obliterated or missed by sitting on a flatter plane. If one wants to see the sweat (and sometimes blood), then sitting down is the way to go. Me, I prefer some of the 'mystery' to be intact.

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I totally agree with mimsyb that the Met is unfriendly for ballet seating. Almost every seat is a compromise of one kind or another. I think that one's choice of where to sit depends on whether one goes to see dancers or ballets. As for me, I go to see dancers (I choose performances more by the casting, not so much by the ballet), and I want to see them up close. I try to sit in the center orchestra, rows H-N, where the floor begins to rake, and not directly behind the conductor. If I sit in the center of the Grand Tier, I will, of course, see the patterns, but I will feel too distanced from the dancers. I, too, like side parterre seats, first row only, for the same reason, although you do miss what goes on upstage on one side. If you go to see ballets, then your priorities will be different, and I should think that the center of the Grand Tier would be ideal. I wouldn't pay all that money for Center Parterre for the same reason as SimonA.

And mimsyb, you are fortunate to be able to get a kiddie booster seat because I have seen them turn away adults, no matter how petite, saying that the booster seats are only for children. When we were there last season, you had to have the child with you to get the seat.

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And mimsyb, you are fortunate to be able to get a kiddie booster seat because I have seen them turn away adults, no matter how petite, saying that the booster seats are only for children. When we were there last season, you had to have the child with you to get the seat.

I agree I'm also around 5'1'' and orchestra seats are tricky for me. One of my worst experiences in the Met was when I was sitting behind a rather tall adult who proceeded to put the child who was with him on his lap, instead of having her stay in her own seat with a booster seat. Talk about a blocked view, and the man and usher wouldn't help me at all.

I've also been in the first row of the orchestra in the Met and the dancers feet were out of view if too far downstage. I usually try to get dress circle or balcony as close to front and center as possible.

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Angelica, I am confused by what you write. Are you saying you would prefer to see "the dancers", no matter the ballet? But isn't the point of going to the ballet to see "ballet"? Otherwise we could stay out on the Plaza and see "the dancers" walk in the stage entrance. Or better yet, go to "Indie" for a glass of wine. You'll frequently see many of the dancers there. Ballet is a performance art that involves not just music and moves to music, but there's the decor, the costumes, sometimes a story, etc. etc. Oft times a very good dancer is totally mis-cast in a given ballet and thus the entire performance comes to naught. Other times an understudy or second cast dancer goes on as a replacement and knocks our socks off! Do we really enjoy a dancer, even though he or she is reading the phone book? Should we adore some dancers even though we could care less about what else is happening on stage? For me , the totality of a work speaks for itself and on it's own terms. While I would agree that many ballets are poorly presented or get short shrift in the production values department, even these can rarely be saved by any one dancer. I've seen many great dancers in lesser productions and wished I hadn't. And seen many ballets little known to me with lesser known dancers in the cast and come away pleased and surprised. The work should always come first, then the casting...be it a star or not. Another reason to sit in a seat that reveals as much about a work as possible.

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I think I understand what angelica means by going to see the dancers, not the ballet. I always search for a ticket that I can afford that is as close to the stage as possible (without losing the feet), too. I LOVE to watch a dancer intensely. Of course, I love the music of the ballet, especially if it's Minkus or any of my other favourites, but I care little whether I see the "tableau" at all - not if I have to sacrifice seeing a dancer's every movement and expression up close. The decor and costumes also take a back seat to seeing the dancer - for me. I'm sorry, mimsyb, that you can't conceive of this, but there are a lot of us who go just for the dancer!

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I think I understand what angelica means by going to see the dancers, not the ballet. I always search for a ticket that I can afford that is as close to the stage as possible (without losing the feet), too. I LOVE to watch a dancer intensely. Of course, I love the music of the ballet, especially if it's Minkus or any of my other favourites, but I care little whether I see the "tableau" at all - not if I have to sacrifice seeing a dancer's every movement and expression up close. The decor and costumes also take a back seat to seeing the dancer - for me. I'm sorry, mimsyb, that you can't conceive of this, but there are a lot of us who go just for the dancer!

Thank you, Marga. mimsyb, Marga's explanation is exactly what I mean about going to see dancers rather than ballets. From what you write, mimsyb, it would appear that you go to see ballets rather than dancers. There is no right or wrong. These are preferences that one cannot argue--neither side will convince the other. To take the distinction to the extreme, I would rather see Veronika Part do a single arabesque penche than see an entire performance of Firebird. Realistically, I will go to every ballet in which Veronika is dancing the leading role, whereas I will avoid my favorite ballets if they are cast with certain dancers (no point in naming them here, I'm told that many dancers read this forum and I don't want to hurt feelings).

I put this question out to the forum: Do you think it has anything to do with whether you're a dancer or not? I'm a would-be dancer, although I never pursued a professional career because of parental objections. I stopped dancing for 37 years and have been back at it for six, so I'm acutely aware of every detail in a dancer's performance, e.g., whether the dancer "wings" in arabesque, whether she does glissade by pushing off the standing leg, how she uses her upper body. I do prefer the full-length ballets to the one-acts because the development of the characterization is also important to me. But whether the borzois cross the stage obediently or, as I've seen in a dress rehearsal, refuse to follow their master, is completely immaterial to my particular sensibility.

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Thanks, again, Angelica, for your thoughts. Is the view substantially better one box over (3 and 4), or do I need to go further back in the side parterre?

SimonA, I apologize for not responding to your post last May (!), which I came across just now reading back through this thread. My favorite side parterre seats are boxes 5 and 6 (first row only), although in a pinch boxes 3 and 4 will do. I try to avoid boxes 1 and 2. These days, I've opted for the Orchestra, as I wrote on March 19th (of this year!)

Note to posters: If you ask a question, it helps to quote the post that prompts the question, because then I get a notice in my email that someone has quoted a post I've made.

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Angelica, while I can certainly agree about your preference of seeing Part in penche' arabesque vs "Firebird", still the totality of a ballet is for me the most pleasing and satisfying aspect of going to "ballet". As an ex dancer and now a choreographer, I look at how a ballet is put together. What makes it interesting? Would a costume of a different color work better? What about the use (or not) of scenery? Did the choreography suit the music or the music suit the theme? Was there any coherent structure to the work? Was it just about the main dancer? And the dancer's ego? Was it just about that arabesque penche'? Does the choreography reveal anything I don't already know and appreciate about a given dancer? How does this particular ballet (be it "Don Q" or "Manon") suit or not suit a particular dancer. And does the dancer relate in any way to whatever else is happening on stage? Or is it just about them? Few dancers would attempt to just dance solos all their career. (unless you're Isadora!) They become a part of a whole when they step into a role. They become the character with the help and assistance of costume, scenery, music and everyone and everything around them. They are good, not so good, great or breathtaking because of whatever else is going on around them. Some of the most beautiful penches' have been destroyed by a poor partner. Imagine if the corps dancers in"Don Q" never related to Osipova dancing Kitri. If they never snapped their fingers at her or raised their arms in celebration at her triumphs in winning Basilio! Osipova could be out there dancing incredibly well, but if the rest of the ballet (the dancers, etc) was not a part of what's happening, she looks foolish. In order to excel and be great, one must "become the ballet". Be in the ballet. This is also true with a more abstract ballet. One can't just "dance" "Symphony in C". Trust me, I've danced this ballet and there is nothing more exciting than being a part of the totality of this work . The final spiral fall of the lead dancer in the 2nd Movement is a glorious moment, not only for the ballerina dancing it, but for the corps dancing in support of that final moment. To see just the ballerina do this movement wouldn't have the same impact it has without other dancers there to complete the picture. Any truly great dancer relies on and respects every aspect of the ballet they are performing. It is in the end about the work. The whole work. and for me, it's simply more interesting to see that "whole work"

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Angelica, while I can certainly agree about your preference of seeing Part in penche' arabesque vs "Firebird", still the totality of a ballet is for me the most pleasing and satisfying aspect of going to "ballet". As an ex dancer and now a choreographer, I look at how a ballet is put together. What makes it interesting? Would a costume of a different color work better? What about the use (or not) of scenery? Did the choreography suit the music or the music suit the theme? Was there any coherent structure to the work? Was it just about the main dancer? And the dancer's ego? Was it just about that arabesque penche'? Does the choreography reveal anything I don't already know and appreciate about a given dancer? How does this particular ballet (be it "Don Q" or "Manon") suit or not suit a particular dancer. And does the dancer relate in any way to whatever else is happening on stage? Or is it just about them? Few dancers would attempt to just dance solos all their career. (unless you're Isadora!) They become a part of a whole when they step into a role. They become the character with the help and assistance of costume, scenery, music and everyone and everything around them. They are good, not so good, great or breathtaking because of whatever else is going on around them. Some of the most beautiful penches' have been destroyed by a poor partner. Imagine if the corps dancers in"Don Q" never related to Osipova dancing Kitri. If they never snapped their fingers at her or raised their arms in celebration at her triumphs in winning Basilio! Osipova could be out there dancing incredibly well, but if the rest of the ballet (the dancers, etc) was not a part of what's happening, she looks foolish. In order to excel and be great, one must "become the ballet". Be in the ballet. This is also true with a more abstract ballet. One can't just "dance" "Symphony in C". Trust me, I've danced this ballet and there is nothing more exciting than being a part of the totality of this work . The final spiral fall of the lead dancer in the 2nd Movement is a glorious moment, not only for the ballerina dancing it, but for the corps dancing in support of that final moment. To see just the ballerina do this movement wouldn't have the same impact it has without other dancers there to complete the picture. Any truly great dancer relies on and respects every aspect of the ballet they are performing. It is in the end about the work. The whole work. and for me, it's simply more interesting to see that "whole work"

mymsib, you make a good case. Nevertheless, I think this is something that is a matter of personal aesthetics and neither position is right or wrong. For example, one of the most magnificent performances I have ever seen of OdettelOdile--and I have been attending ballet performances for more decades than I care to admit--is on the DVD of Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeyechev dancing with the State Ballet of Perm. She is magnificent; he is a cipher. And yet I could watch her over and over (and in fact, I do). Using your reference to Don Q as another example, for me the performance depends on who is dancing Kitri and Basilio. Yes, the costumes, the corps, the scenery--all of this makes the production marvelous--but the bottom line for me is who are dancing the leading roles. And I want to see them close up.

As a choreographer, you will be more attentive than I to the totality of a ballet. And I agree that the costumes can make or break a ballet. But to me, most of all, ballet is about "line," it is moving sculpture, a presentation of the human body in all its magnificence. Without that ballet "line," I am bored, no matter what else may be going on onstage.

But this is merely something that we have different "takes" on. All I'm saying is that some people like to sit up close because they want to see every detail of the dancers' bodies; some people like to sit further back for the entire panorama before them. It's a matter of opinion, of taste, of interest. I think we need people of all stripes because all opinions regarding the merits of either position can be respected. And anyway, otherwise we'd never fill the house.

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Does anyone know which row does the parterre overhang the rear orchestra at the Met? Thanks!

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