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Etiquette: Posting about rehearsals


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for this, Leigh. I'm going to make it a sticky, and move it into the Rules Forum.

(But please, everyone, feel free to discuss it here.)

We've addresed this before, but no one can be expected to read, much less remember, all our discussions. I think a good rule for a discussion board -- at least this one :P -- is that any PUBLIC performance, which could include a master class or an open rehearsal -- can be commented upon. But if it's a private rehearsal open to donors, or "friends," or if you get in because you know a dancer, or are family, etc. I think it's better not to comment, for all the reasons Leigh has mentioned. Also, if what's posted causes a problem, the person who smuggled you into the rehearsal could get in trouble -- and you may not get invited back! :)

In the future, posts about private rehearsals and classes will be edited to delete that material, and the poster (gently) notified :)

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 01:57 PM

This is Your Friendly Board Host :P

On another thread someone posted a comment that a dancer had problems with turns that had not given him problems at the dress rehearsal. It's really a benign comment, but it does make a perfect lead-in to talk about the issue of commenting on non-public rehearsals or information, so with apologies to the poster, I'm going to use it.

I recently had an opportunity to ask a dancer if there was anything about Ballet Talk that made dancers uneasy. This dancer responded that one thing that made them uncomfortable was reporting what happened in class or rehearsals. Even though a few members of the public (such as donors or occasionally press) are allowed into them, they do not see them as performances and the dancer I spoke to felt that reports of them are a breach of privacy.

We all love ballet and access to "insider" information is incredibly tempting. I'm sure my own posts have included it. But try and remember that Ballet Alert is not a private conversation - anyone can read it. "Insider" information has consequences (an example - finding out that X is learning a lead role. X might have been learning it on his or her own. Having that reported can put both X and the company in an awkward position). Because of situations like this, the editorial position of the Board is to discourage "insider" or "backstage" posts.

Saying that someone had less trouble with a step at rehearsal than in performance isn't harmful. But when posting information about a rehearsal or any other "backstage" matter, try and think of it like a private conversation. Was it meant to be repeated? There are times (like my conversation with a dancer that lead to this post) when it was, and also times it wasn't. If you're in doubt, run it by us or leave it out.

#3 Doris R

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 06:27 PM

Leigh and Alexandra these are both good reminders. I think its even more important to watch what is said and how its phrased when writing than in verbal conversation. Having a daughter and son-in-law who are dancers I know how much something said "out of turn" has the potential to cause a problem. Bottom line, don't gossip.

My mother always said, "don't put anything in writing that you wouldn't want everyone to read." (Wise woman, my mom.)

#4 Sonora

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Posted 27 June 2002 - 10:26 AM

I strongly agree. It seems to me to be extremely inappropriate to make perjorative remarks about individual dancers' performances, body types, etc. Not only is that something that would certainly unnerve a dancer, along with reading reports of what took place in class or rehearsal, but I think that sort of commentary is disturbing to non-dancing contributors as well and to nonmembers who might be just starting to follow the discussions. I don't think anyone in the insular world of ballet deserves to be described online (and anonymously) as a 'cheerleader'.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 27 June 2002 - 11:10 AM

Just a quick comment on Sonora's last comment, only because we recently did have someone refer to a dancer as a "cheerleader," but it was of a performance and it was not anonymous. Sonora may well have just been using that as a hypothetical example, but I didn't want there to be a misunderstanding. There's probably something in every post that could offend someone else. If we all wrote realizing that anything we say could, and will, be misunderstood, and read giving the poster every benefit of the doubt, this would be a happier networld :(

I don't think we want to censor comments or metaphors, but I do think we can make a rule that says private moments should remain private. That's the distinction I meant to make.

#6 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 June 2002 - 11:40 AM

As Alexandra implied, I think we're getting into a different area of etiquette.

For what it's worth, I'll say my own personal guidelines, but I agree with Alexandra that there's a difference between what we see as unkind and what should not be said. And every guideline I'll state, I can think of a time I have broken. No one is perfect.

There's a difference between a negative comment and a personal attack.

Assume that any comment about weight, age or physical attractiveness needs to be handled carefully. There's a way of stating a fact without an extra twist of the knife.

My own checkpoint is to ask myself, "If the person I'm writing about came up to me upset and said, 'DID YOU WRITE THAT?' could I look him or her in the eye and say 'Yes, I did'?"

#7 sneds

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 07:15 PM

I was the person who commented about the turn, and the dress rehearsal in question was open to several hundred NYCB guild members and all the students from SAB- a yearly event.
In this case the dancers were clearly aware that they were being watched by a large number of people (it's amazing how many people will talk during rehearsal even when each person is given a sheet clearly stating NO talking..but that's whole different issue!) and were reacting accordingly.
Kate

#8 dancermom2

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 07:51 PM

I was there at that rehearsal for Midsummer and no one in their right mind could have thought it was a private moment. They even have ushers who seat the people who are attending. The theater was full...and there was way too much talking.

#9 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 08:07 PM

My apologies, Sneds -

I wasn't trying to single that mention out as a transgression (as I said, it was a benign comment) but to use it as a lead-in for the topic.

As we mentioned, a public performance or public rehearsal with an audience (this is basically any situation where the dancers know they are "on-duty") can be reported on.


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