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Throwing flowers?


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#1 fadedhour

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 11:15 AM

I'm curious about the practice of throwing flowers and whether it varies by company/country &c.  I haven't done it myself but have sometimes thought, at curtain calls, it might be nice for a great dancer (if I was sitting close enough, that is).

 

At a performance of one European company, I noticed that the dancers in leading roles were all thrown the same type of bouquet from one or two people who rushed up to the front once the performance ended.  I then figured that the company must have some group that arranges the flowers and that's that.  But at the next performance of this company, all the leading dancers were thrown flowers except the dancer I thought was best (he was dancing the main role, too!).  This slightly confused me and I thought, "well, if I'd known no one was going to bring flowers for him, I would have got some, because it looks a bit strange to have 5 other dancers get flowers and not the lead dancer."

 

Can anyone shed some insight?



#2 Mashinka

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:30 AM

In London flower throwing is fairly common, usually small bunches thrown towards the principals at the end, but there are also major flower throws where a massive amount of flowers are thrown from the balconies, often to mark special occasions such as retirements and the debut in a role of a particular dancer, and sometimes at the end of the season.  I have never heard that any company arranges this, though of course for the big flower throws the theatre has to be alerted in order to facilitate storage of the flower boxes during the day.

 

The flowers are paid for by the fans in general, often through a collection, though sometimes they are bought at the expense of one individual.  The example you give of a dancer not having flowers thrown towards him my be either because he was the only dancer not performing a role for the first time or simply as the result of poor aim.  As you cite  people running to the front at the end it may be the latter as at ROH the practised throwers make certain they are sitting in the front stalls and their flowers seldom go astray.



#3 LiLing

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 06:51 AM

At a NYCB matinee a few years ago, I spotted a man with a HUGE gorgeous bouquet of red roses in the lobby and thought it strange he was carrying it into the theater, rather than leaving it at the stage door.  During the curtain calls for Afternoon of a Faun, he ran to the edge of the pit, and tossed the flowers to Alexandra Ansinelli.
 
The following Sunday in the NYT there was an article about a man who is a well know fan of both opera and ballet.  He travels internationally to follow his favorites, and throws large bouquets.  He sends a bottle of Champaign to the dressing room with a note saying that he will be throwing, so as not to scare them I guess!  It mentioned the recent performance of Afternoon of a Faun after which he had thrown to Alexandra Ansinelli.  
 
It said many of the opera stars found it annoying, but Ms Ansinelli was quoted as saying she was thrilled!  (It was a lovely performance BTW.)clapping.gif  


#4 Amy Reusch

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 07:23 PM

Thought this video belonged in this thread:



#5 sandik

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 09:51 PM

That is just charming -- thanks so much for posting it!  I'm curious, though, at their statement that it was Margot Fonteyn who started the practice of giving her partner a bloom out of her bouquet -- does anyone here know if this is actually true?



#6 abatt

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 12:33 PM

 

At a NYCB matinee a few years ago, I spotted a man with a HUGE gorgeous bouquet of red roses in the lobby and thought it strange he was carrying it into the theater, rather than leaving it at the stage door.  During the curtain calls for Afternoon of a Faun, he ran to the edge of the pit, and tossed the flowers to Alexandra Ansinelli.
 

 

Well, times and policies have apparently changed for NYCB re flowers.  A few years ago my husband and I were attending a NYCB performance, and he had given me a dozen roses before the show.  I was not permitted to bring the flowers into the theater.  I had to leave them in the lobby near an usher and pick them up at the end of the show.



#7 puppytreats

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:46 AM

Thought this video belonged in this thread:

What was on this account-terminated video?



#8 Amy Reusch

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:28 AM

Oh! I wasn't expecting that! It was a video segment on two retired dancers who opened a flower shop serving the opera house clientele in London...

#9 sandik

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:02 AM

Too bad -- it was quite sweet.



#10 JMcN

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 02:22 PM

If it is the shop I think it is, I remember them both as dancers!



#11 Nanarina

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:53 PM

At the Paris Opera  dancers are not given flowers on stage only for a special occasion. This is such a shame but it does stop the problem of some dancers not receiving anything.



#12 fadedhour

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 11:28 AM

Well, I finally decided to do the sensible thing and actually ask the venue of the company I mentioned in the original post about this.  They said:

 

-Audience members are free to throw flowers at the end of the performance, but because the orchestra pit is particularly large, the flowers sometimes don't make it to the stage.  But members of the orchestra usually retrieve the flowers and toss them up onto the stage if they fall in the pit (!).

 

-Alternatively, audience members can leave flowers with the ticket office before the show, but they should include a little card with the flowers if they do so.

 

I think I will try this sometime, but the size of the orchestra pit is putting me off - I'd be mortified if I wasn't able to throw them across!  I did actually go to one performance a few months ago where someone's flowers landed in the orchestra pit... sure enough, a few moments later they popped back into the air and landed up on the stage.



#13 kbarber

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 11:37 AM

If you're going to throw, my advice is: stems first. It's more aerodynamic that way. If you throw them blooms first there's too much wind resistance.
I have thrown many bouquets in my time!

#14 volcanohunter

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 07:08 PM

It was a video segment on two retired dancers who opened a flower shop serving the opera house clientele in London...

 

Which reminds me. The video is embedded in Judith Mackrell's story on flower-giving at the ballet, in case anyone missed it.

http://www.theguardi...t-flower-giving



#15 fadedhour

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 11:22 AM

What a wonderful video!  Looking at where the shop is located, I must have walked past it many times - I'll have to stop in someday.

 

Great article, too.  I didn't realize the Royal Ballet had so many rules for these things, though!  I feel bad for the male dancers not being able to get any flowers.

 

Oh, and thanks for the tip, kbarber!




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