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Ballet Rage


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#16 The Bard's Ballerina

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 12:52 PM

Let me just say that I have absolutely nothing against bringing children to ballets (or other cultural events) that are appropriate for their age and attention span. In fact, I think it's wonderful to expose children to the world of "high culture" at an early age (but only when they're old enough to have some understanding of what they're seeing). My problem is with the parents who (1) don't pre-assess the program for its child-appropriateness, and (2) don't instruct their children on proper etiquette. The mother I wrote of above did neither and, as a result, the child was bored and ill-behaved.

Changing the topic: another "ballet rage" pet peeve of mine would be the women (and men) who insist on dousing themselves with cologne until they absolutely reek.

#17 Giannina

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 01:56 PM

Most people know my pet peeve is applause during the performance. I won't even start on that subject; I'm tense just mentioning it. However, there are others. The people who lean forward in their seats; this blocks the view of those behind them for several rows. At one performance a man seated 2 rows ahead of me did this and I was so @#$%&!! angry that I told the person directly in front of me to ask the man to sit back, which she did (probably as annoyed as I) and it worked.

I've also had my come-uppance. A lady snuck into the seat in front of me, which irked me (OK, I've done it too). What made me angrier was that she wore a rather large hat. One insult was bad enough but 2 were more than I could handle so I politely asked her to remove her hat. She did, and unleashed the wildest, long bouffant head of hair I've ever seen...much larger than the hat! How I wished I had the nerve to ask her to put her hat back on.

Giannina


[This message has been edited by Giannina Mooney (edited June 26, 2000).]

#18 Natalia

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 02:07 PM

My pet-peeve is not so obvious and, in fact, probably reflects an unfair intolerance of 'new audiences' on my part:

I tend to get upset when a fellow audience-member sitting near me (usually behind me...easier to hear) makes it known that s/he is in attendance only because of corporate or family obligations. Especially guilty in my mind are corporate big-wigs who are in attendance at a cultural event only because their corporation is a major sponsor & they "have to make an appearance." Case in point: at a recent ballet in a major European opera house, two Yankee male corporate big-shots sitting behind me kept asking each other what was going on in the Super Bowl back in the US! They couldn't wait to run back to their hotel rooms to turn on cable TV. It drives me nuts to think that those choice-location seats would be better-appreciated by more intelligent lovers of the art of ballet, who could never afford them.

#19 Inna

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 02:20 PM

I had a great lough (though it is not funny when you are experiancing such distructios first hand) while reading the posts.

Ed, the way you have described the look your wife is capable of... I was loughing for 10 minutes. Great job!

Giannina, that hat story was very funny Posted Image!

#20 eabock

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 04:17 PM

Query for Leigh and ballet teachers:
Are children who have taken ballet quieter
and better behaved when in the audience
than children who have not?

#21 Dale

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Posted 27 June 2000 - 05:34 AM

Well, I have experienced many of the above distractions and, have to admit, that I'm the type that gets really annoyed. I always say something. My friend who attends the ballet with me always says, "Who are you going after tonight?" or "They always sit next to you." Posted Image

Just last week during of the first night of the new Mahdaviani at NYCB, two couples with two daughters were sitting behind me. During the first ballet, the teenage girls were laughing throughout. I tried to ignore it. From their conversations during the intermission, I gathered they were tourists who came to the ballet just so they could say, "Well, we saw something at Lincoln Center. We experienced culture." Nothing wrong with that but during the premiere, the girls started up again, and added sluping noises to their repertoire. I had thrown a few polite shhhes their way but finally during a break in the action turned around and said, "You might not be interested in what goes on stage but I am. Could you please tell your daughters to be quiet." Well, that was the kiss of death. Now all six of them were giggling and snickering and making comments. Happily, two ballets were enough culture for them and they left before Fearful Symmetries. The point is, if you forget yourself and somebody has to ask you to be quite, just do it. Everybody slips. But the comments and the fights are just irritating and make even more noise.

And I wish people would investigate before going to something like the ballet or opera. An evening of Episodes, Sonatas and Interludes, Summerspace, and Chaconne might not be the program to take very young children, or ballet neophytes.

Oh, I'd also like to add toe-tappers, whistlers, and hummers to my list of enemies at the ballet. Along with those who undo wrappers during the pas de deux (if they must, do it quickly and possibly during applause for a solo or something). And those who have a comment for every new tutu they see.


[This message has been edited by Dale (edited June 27, 2000).]

#22 Guest_Gelsey_*

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Posted 27 June 2000 - 07:42 PM

Some people at performances are so annoying!!!
It was my birthday and as a present from my parents i went to see ABT's world premiere of Swan Lake. I wanted my first performance from a big company to be perfect, but alas that was not the case. There was this guy sitting in front of me and his girlfriend kept getting upset like the ballet was hurting her or something and he kept talking to her to calm her down-- aaahhhhh it was sooo annoying! Then during intermission i really wanted to get a souvenir so i was looking at this book at the gift stand and this fat ugly guy came up to me and was like " Why dont you move other people want to buy stuff to so get out of the way" except it was much worse i cant remember exactly what he said--- my dad almost exploded he was so angry at the man-- and when i finally got back to the table after being pushed aside there were no books left.


But there is a happy ending!! i was sitting before act three and looking around when all of a sudden i recognized a face- that of former prima with the kirov Irina Kolpakova!! i got her autograph --- it totally made up for everything else.

#23 Guest_BeastieGrrl_*

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Posted 27 June 2000 - 11:10 PM

I think that there should be separate performances for serious ballet-goers and people who want to bring the family along. Or perhaps an age limit...nobody under 12 admitted without leash and muzzle... However, I would not take offense to Mel's "attaboy"s and such...I actually enjoy seeing (grown) people enjoying the experience to the point that they can't hold back their exclamations of joy!

#24 Jane Simpson

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Posted 28 June 2000 - 07:01 AM

I'm very happy to see children at the right ballet, and quite enjoy schools matinees (except for the 2 teenage boys who talked all the way through Les Sylphides recently), and direct my rage at the parents of children who make a nuisance of themselves because they're too small to be there in the first place; but when it comes to those who are Old Enough To Know Better... one of these sat behind me at Ashton's Cinderella once (an evening performance) and insisted on telling her mother the story as it happened; I put up with this through one and a half acts till she started giving a running commentary on the big pas de deux, at which I turned round and gave her a Look. I heard no more from her till the interval, when she said to her mother 'Mummy, that lady has ruined my evening'. Did I feel guilty? No, I felt we were about quits.

#25 Mike

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Posted 28 June 2000 - 11:22 AM

In my experience adults are by far the worse offenders. I can't think of one instance where my enjoyment of a performance was ruined, or anything even close to it, by a child talking. Talkative adults, on the other hand, are all too common. There was a cartoon in, I think, The New Yorker some time back that showed a couple leaving Avery Fisher Hall. The man says to the woman, "The music was so loud I could barely hear myself talk!" A lot of people who should know better go to performing arts events with just that attitude.

And I'm glad Giannina mentioned people who lean forward in their seats. Sitting properly is so important a part of theatre etiquette that I think it should be mentioned in the pre-performance announcement. Or maybe written on the back of the seats in really small print. Something like, "If you're close enough to read this, you're blocking the view of the person sitting behind you. Sit Back!"

#26 Giannina

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Posted 28 June 2000 - 11:56 AM

Good news! In the Bolshoi program booklet last night there WAS an announcement asking patrons in the balcony to please not sit forward as they will block the view of those behind them. Bad news! It was on the last page, hidden among the "For Your Information" tidbits. But it's progress.

Giannina

[This message has been edited by Giannina Mooney (edited June 28, 2000).]

#27 Mike

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Posted 28 June 2000 - 08:08 PM

Do you think you could fax a copy of that page to The New York State Theater, The Metropolitan Opera House, and City Center?

Seriously, I'm glad that this at least has shown up on the radar screen. I don't even take my seat anymore at NYCB unless I go with someone. When I'm alone, I buy my seat through my Fourth Ring Society membership (cheaper than standing room) and grab one of the seats at the very top (the last few rows are usually empty), partly to avoid this problem. If I do have to sit in the seat I bought because the theater is sold out, and I get a leaner in front of me, I ask them politely to sit back in their seat. But I'd rather avoid the situation entirely.

#28 Michael

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Posted 28 June 2000 - 08:25 PM

The recent worst, for me, was sitting next to an englishman in the front row of the orchestra for Dvorovenko's Swan Lake, and the guy had a fancy little camera with one of those self focusing lenses, and he literally shot five roles of film during the performance. Every time Irina would do anything, "whirr-sha-dup," "whirr-sha-dup," "whirr-sha-dup" -- It was continuous. I mean, in one variation he would shoot ten shots.

Of course, ingrained New Yorker that I am, I suffered in silence. Groaning and fantasizing about tearing him limb from limb, or stamping on that camera.

Finally, at the curtain calls, when ABT's ushers all crowded down to shout and throw roses, they spotted him doing the same thing for the bows and told him, "no cameras, please." And he still didn't stop.

Shameless guy.


[This message has been edited by Michael1 (edited June 28, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Michael1 (edited June 28, 2000).]

#29 Guest_DancingQueen_*

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Posted 28 June 2000 - 08:52 PM

when im performing and i look out into the audience and all i see is EVERYONE fanning themselves with the WHITE program. Such a rude distraction for the performer.

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~*~MEAGHAN~*~
"Whatever you feel, just dance it." -Charlie, Center Stage

#30 Guest_dancewriter_*

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Posted 29 June 2000 - 02:52 PM

I can wholeheartedly agree with everyone who's commented thus far: I attended a performance of Stomp in May and I counted half a dozen people showing up late or leaving early, a small child talking incessantly, two cell phones going off, and two flash photographs being taken from BEHIND me in the balcony! This after the audience was told to "please turn off all cell phones and children under the age of 4". What is this world coming to that people cannot respect the work of great artists?


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