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can you stay 'til the curtain goes down?!?


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#1 Brooke

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Posted 16 January 2000 - 08:11 PM

Has anyone else noticed that a good number of the audience gets up to leave before the bows are over? Does anyone else think it is incredibly rude to head for the car while the dancers are still taking their bows?What is wrong with these people?!!!?

#2 Guest_Laura C. Cutler_*

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Posted 16 January 2000 - 10:09 PM

This is an unfortunately frequent problem. Funny you should mention it now, as I was annoyed just last night when much of the audience at the Dallas Opera's production of Janacek's "Cunning Little Vixen" started streaming out, even before the curtain had risen for bows. Awfully rude.

#3 cargill

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Posted 17 January 2000 - 09:19 AM

Here in New York (where everyone is in such a hurry!), if Dances at a Gathering is the last ballet, abut half the audience starts to get up as soon as the last piece (the gorgeous walking piece) starts, utterly ruining the mood. I think Robbins noticed this, because for the last few years Dances was not programmed last, which does help a bit. I can understand people leaving quickly to catch trains, but even matinee audiences stream out--someone called it a walking ovation. It seems incredibly rude to the performers.

#4 Ilya

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Posted 17 January 2000 - 06:04 PM

I always thought that it was my personal decision as a viewer: how much to applaud at the end, and whether to applaud at all. I agree that it is rude to other viewers to leave before the end of the performance--unless you are sitting right next to the exit, but I see no problem with people leaving during the curtain calls. If I liked what I saw, I applaud; if I didn't, I leave. (For the record, I myself have very rarely left before the end of the curtain calls.)

#5 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 17 January 2000 - 06:17 PM

Unless it is a really bad performance, and you have no desire to applaud the dancers, then it is indeed extremely rude! Many times I have not liked the ballets, but the dancers have done their best and worked very hard, and I feel that they at least deserve to take their bows. When you are on stage, and see lots of people leaving while you are bowing, that is not a good feeling. Out of respect for the dancers, I just cannot do that.

#6 Ilya

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Posted 17 January 2000 - 09:21 PM

One doesn't usually pay $30-80 for a ticket to see just "hard work": for that, one could go to a construction site and look at bricklayers for free. If it is polite to applaud just for an effort, why don't the artists on stage applaud me for driving four hours to New York to see them and four hours back home?

Why is it that, in all other professions, if your clients are dissatisfied, they are encouraged to voice their disapproval, but suddenly if you are an artist, disapproval is equated with impoliteness?

#7 Guest_Laura C. Cutler_*

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 03:28 AM

Ah, now we're into the thick of it! I am one (of the probably few) who relishes a real, vocal response from an audience, whether I'm in it or onstage. Europeans seem more willing and ready to voice strong approval or disapproval (in my limited experience) than do U.S. audiences. I miss being in a concert hall full of thrilled music lovers, all stomping feet and crying, "Encore!" or "Zugabe!" And, yes, I miss experiencing the strange thrill of an audience in disagreement over a piece, evoking the legends one grew up reading, of the premieres of "L'Apres-midi d'un Faune" and "Le Sacre du Printemps." Of course, one rarely sees performances interesting or strong enough (in any direction, good or bad) to elicit such responses. So, assuming at least a reasonably well-performed, not offensive presentation, I'm with Victoria--stay, applaud loudly, lightly or not at all, and leave when it's over. It's not so much a tit-for-tat exchange of effort (although it's true both sides have given effort); it's more a meeting amongst people and, at special times, a magical one. Oh dear, must go (but I'm not turning my back and scurrying up the aisle).

#8 Dale

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 05:36 AM

Both sides have a case. My feeling is that if you decide to leave during the curtain calls, get out fast. Don't get up (blocking someone else's view), slowly put on your coat, then realize there is a curtain call and just stand there. If your leaving do it and get out of everybody else's way.

#9 Estelle

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 07:24 AM

Dale, I agree with you. It's really annoying when you wish to see the dancers' bows on stage, and some people stand right in the middle, rushing to their cars...

Ilya, I find you a little bit too severe. It's not just a matter of "hard work"... Disapproval might come from the dancers' performances, but also from the choreography or the production. It often happened to me to dislike a performance because of a bad choreography,
but the dancers aren't responsible for it, so if they did their best in it, I think they deserve applauses. (By the way, it reminds me of a POB performance when the dancers were applauded and the poor pianist, who was mistaken for the choreographer by a part of the audience, got booed...)

#10 wjglavis

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 10:10 AM

I have to confess to having left the ballet early myself once or twice. Occasionally when a performance is running late (or isn't very good!) I decide to catch the last `good' train rather than get home at 2:00 a.m. At such times, however, it's important to plan ahead. During the last interval, I find someone in standing room who looks tired, swap tickets, wait by the door until the moment I have to leave, then creep silently away. (Though I HAVE had people in standing room tell me my tickets aren't good enough!)

#11 E Johnson

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 03:32 PM

I am surprised by the vehemence on this topic. I have both gotten up to leave during curtain calls (although pretty much only if I am sitting on the aisle or the people between me and it are gone, and I wait until I'm out in the lobby to put on my coat, etc.) and have sat in my seat and read during intermissions (and I don't mean the Stagebill). Only the latter of these behaviors seems to disturb my fellow audience members, although of course they don't say anything - but if they did, here's my answer, and I'm sticking to it: The only way I can get my job done and see this ballet is to work in the intermissions and leave as soon as I can. Sorry. I'd rather be here than not.

#12 Ilya

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 06:20 PM

All I meant to say was whatever I do to express my opinion is polite, as long as I do not inconvenience my fellow audience members. Examples:
Getting up in the middle of a performance and telling everybody what I think about the dancers or the choreographer is impolite.
Quickly leaving right after the end of the performance (without walking on my neighbors' feet or blocking their view or causing them
to fall from the gallery into the orchestra) is NOT impolite.

Estelle, I perfectly agree that if you think that somebody deserves applause, you should stay and applaud. I'm arguing, however, that if you think that no applause was deserved, you should not be obliged to stay, and should
not be called rude if you don't.

#13 Natalia

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 06:38 PM

Ilya - I agree; paying members of the audience are free to choose to stay & applaud or leave quickly without applause, if they did not enjoy the performance. However, I believe that Brooke's topic of discussion is about average audience-members who dash to the garage or subway, despite having enjoyed the performance. It's a lamentably common occurrence at the Kennedy Center in DC. Mary, I have not noticed it to such a high degree in NY; my yardstick is Washington, & I have yet to see an audience that is more restless to dash to the garage. I feel like asking such people, "Didn't you come to the ballet to relax?"

Estelle, Europeans do not dash-away during applause that way; I've rarely noticed such a thing, or maybe I've been in the company of the most laid-back & polite audiences in Europe.

I've often wondered: Are American ballet audiences in the Southeast, Midwest/Central and West Coast states as restless as those in the big cities of the East?

#14 Brooke

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 07:05 PM

Yes Jeannie - that's what I was talking about - i've seen Miami City Ballet perform at several of their venues, and it seems that in some cities where parking and traffic leaving a performance (West Palm Beach) is heavy, the audience members leave as soon as the curtain drops on the end of the ballet! Would it kill them to stay and show their appreciation and get home 15 minutes later? I appreciate the four hour drive and all of that, but what about the 6 hour rehersal days the dancers are putting in? They're not doing it for the money you know!!!

#15 Ilya

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Posted 18 January 2000 - 07:39 PM

I don't know anything about the traffic in West Palm Beach, but if hurrying to the exit means that you avoid a two-hour traffic jam, I can sympathize with the audience. This opens up a whole host of issues about people who build these venues and the infrastructure that goes with them, and whether they think about the viewers' convenience.

A very prosaic example--pardon me--are the ladies' restrooms in the MET building, whose (the restrooms') capacity is probably about three times smaller than it should be. (Some people have argued that the MET's capacity is about three times larger than it should be, but that's a topic for another discussion.) As a result, the curtain before any intermission at the MET signals the start of a race to the restrooms, with many female members of the audience participating. The losers spend the whole intermission standing in line, and some don't even make it before the end of the intermission. It is in situations like this that one feels lucky to be a man.


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