I'll never forget seeing George Balanchine's "Prodigal Son" performed by Dance Theatre of Harlem for a mostly black audience. At one point in the ballet, the dancers unexpectedly form a human merry-go-round. I'd seen it happen a half-dozen times without incident in the past, but that night the audience let out a huge whoop of delight at the sheer cheekiness of Balanchine's choreography. And did I join in? You bet. It felt as though I were watching that classic dance for the first time in my life.
The indelible memory of that wonderful whoop is one of the reasons why I keep on going to live performances night after night. Sure, it's easier to stay home and fire up your television or stereo—but you'll probably be the only one whooping. It's a lot more fun to do it in a crowd.
I have to say I really enjoy the more emotional audiences at ballets. Watching a ballet done in a Latin country is a very emotional experience - they don't hold back on their appreciation - or disapproval. I'm really not opposed to the figure skating type of crowd that cheers for excellent dancing, and hisses their love to hate the evil characters. It just makes the whole experience more fun!