Jump to content
mnacenani

Wild Applause, Secretly Choreographed (!)

Recommended Posts

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/arts/dance/designated-cheering-spectators-thrive-at-the-bolshoi-theater.html

Reposting link posted by Canbelto (profound thanks) under the Vaziev thread, in case anyone missed it. Do remember reading this at the time - claquemaster Roman was also featured on "Bolshoy Babylon" wasn't he ??  Does one need to travel to Moscow to witness a claque in action ?? Weydaminit ....... no one doesn't ..... if you know what I mean !  :clapping::clapping::clapping:

Share this post


Link to post

Bolshoi Babylon describes ‘Roman’ as a fan who comes every night to the Bolshoi with no mention of the claque or his role in it. I thought it was very dishonest to present him and his comments that way. I know the claque is a traditional phenomenon in more than one great theater...it still offends me.

Edited by Drew
Grammar/typos

Share this post


Link to post

Apart from Russia, the major European ballet centres are London, Paris and Copenhagen and no claques exist it those theatres.  The antics of the claque in Moscow are disgraceful. 

Share this post


Link to post

Beyond the extortion aspects, I think that the next worst aspect of claques and of vociferous factionalism and uber-fan behavior is the tendency for audience members and potential ticket buyers to start to dislike dancers based on these external behaviors that have little to do with the dancers.

I have to remind myself of this every time a perfectly fine and appropriate technical feat is greeted by shrieks from the teenagers in the audience.

Share this post


Link to post
10 minutes ago, Helene said:

Beyond the extortion aspects, I think that the next worst aspect of claques and of vociferous factionalism and uber-fan behavior is the tendency for audience members and potential ticket buyers to start to dislike dancers based on these external behaviors that have little to do with the dancers.

I have to remind myself of this every time a perfectly fine and appropriate technical feat is greeted by shrieks from the teenagers in the audience.

LOL, no fear of that in my neck of the woods, the uber fans are mainly geriatric but can still produce the odd feeble 'bravo'.

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, Helene said:

Beyond the extortion aspects, I think that the next worst aspect of claques and of vociferous factionalism and uber-fan behavior is the tendency for audience members and potential ticket buyers to start to dislike dancers based on these external behaviors that have little to do with the dancers.

I have to remind myself of this every time a perfectly fine and appropriate technical feat is greeted by shrieks from the teenagers in the audience.

For some reason, teenage shrieks are something I'd more readily associate with audiences in America. In a way it's a good thing, it means that ballet audiences are getting fresh blood in, and this art form may yet have a new lease on life.

Edited by Fleurdelis

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, Helene said:

I have to remind myself of this every time a perfectly fine and appropriate technical feat is greeted by shrieks from the teenagers in the audience.

I sometimes sit near a bunch of students, and they can be very demonstrative about technical skills.  But my favorite times are during the Next Step program -- the audience is very invested.

This also happens at Seattle Theater Group's "Dance this" program -- the young dancers on stage all have friends and family in the house who are not the least bit shy.  It can be quite thrilling.

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

For some reason, teenage shrieks are something I'd more readily associate with audiences in America. In a way it's a good thing, it means that ballet audiences are getting fresh blood in, and this art form may yet have a new lease on life.

I think about this too...even if part of me is irritated by shrieking of any kind, sometimes irritated even at the end of a performance...

I once attended a July performance of Giselle with ABT at the Met and the audience applauded at a completely unexpected and, in some ways, inappropriate time at one of the corps de ballet patterns--the circle they make around Hilarion when they are preparing to destroy him. I inferred that there must have been a lot of people there that night who hadn't seen Giselle before, perhaps a large number summer tourists in New York who didn't "know" that wasn't one of the pause-and-applause moments, though I can't be sure. And they did just spontaneously start to applaud as the corps de ballet women ran faster and faster in their circle.  I must admit I was rather charmed by this response even if caught by surprise.  A friend of mine commented after the performance that the reaction reminded you "how good" Giselle is, as it showed one of its theatrical effects hitting home for a not particularly ballet-savvy audience who were definitely NOT following the lead of the old-time ballet fans in the audience but themselves taking the lead in deciding when to applaud.  I'm hoping a few of those people came back to see more ballet in the future, but who knows?  (I did tell this story to someone else who just rolled his eyes at the naivete of the audience, but...uh...that was not my reaction. And the applause didn't really spoil the moment for me either. Though I can imagine similar situations where it would.)

 

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post

I'll chime in a minute about the Mariinsky Festivals. I've been to thirteen in a row. The first few years there was a large guy who seemed to be a claque. He demonstrated noisily only for one or two particular artists at a time, whether the performance merited it or not, in my opinion. It was usually way overdone and stood out as totally inappropriate, again in my opinion. I have not seen him in about eight years or anyone else like him since, except in one other instance. There may have been some claquish like instances since, but they were minimal and I really don't recall any specifically. 

Edited by Buddy
spelling correction

Share this post


Link to post

There's got to be a clever snark about what a one-person claque sounds like...

I think there are always going to be individuals whose demonstrations sound weird out of context, but unless it's a claque leader being hung to dry by their fellow claquers, that is usually recognizable as a different phenomenon.

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

In a way it's a good thing, it means that ballet audiences are getting fresh blood in, and this art form may yet have a new lease on life.

Thanks to the Russians it's also attracting stale blood like mine ...... no guarantee of any new lease on life !  :P:D:D

Share this post


Link to post

I think that having designated claques in the audience is a good thing. It makes the audience more engaged and more inclined to shout "bravo" and applaud as well. As long as claques aren't doing anything horrible to dancers behind the scenes, it seems to be a good institution. 

Over the summer I did study abroad in St. Petersburg and had the opportunity to watch performances at the Mariinsky, Mikhailovsky and Bolshoi. The claques at the Bolshoi made the performance much more interesting. No one around me ever seem disinterested or bored. It was a lot easier to work up the courage to cheer "Bravo" when people around you already were cheering. 

At the Mariinsky, without claques, you could hear a pen drop at the end of variations. At some performances, I made it my duty to applaud loudly. Only a performance of Swan Lake with Victoria Tereshkina had a lot of true ballet fans in attendance. Tereshkina was the only Mariinsky performance I attended which had multiple curtain calls.

At the Mikhailovsky the case was worse. The entire audience were tourists from cruise ships who had no idea what they were watching. I saw a performance of Nacho Duato's Sleeping Beauty and I had to start applause for Princess Aurora's (Angelina Vorontsova) entrance. I had never been more upset. Only at the Bolshoi did I feel like the audience truly enjoyed the ballet, and that was probably due to the claques. 

Share this post


Link to post

At one end of the spectrum we have claques, whose "purpose" is to applaud or stir up acclaim for certain dancers, and at the other end, we have trolls, whose business it is to cause unnecessary dissent and mischief.  Trolls, of course, ARE more prevalent on the internet than in the theatre itself, but it's hard to say which activity is the more offensive...  Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two behaviours.  I remember once sitting next to a Mr Bravo at MT (during a performance of Paquita) and not only did he bellow "Bravo" after the variations of his favourites, but he also muttered under his breath and gesticulated while those he did not favour were dancing.  He also sat forward in his seat and applauded thunderously, continuing to applaud the variation of his favourite over the entrance of the next ballerina who he did not favour and rolling his eyes during the applause for those he did not like.   Extremely bad manners and disrespectful , both to the ballerina in question and to those sitting near him, who were deafened.  By the end of the performance, I felt like throttling him!  So, in the theatre, as well as online of course, there can be a thin line between claques and trolls...

Share this post


Link to post
18 hours ago, Helene said:

There's got to be a clever snark about what a one-person claque sounds like...

 

I had a dog named Snark
What he loved to do was bark
So I said one day
Let’s go to the ballet

Now Snark just prances
And loves graceful dances

Share this post


Link to post
23 hours ago, mtthwbrehm said:

I think that having designated claques in the audience is a good thing. It makes the audience more engaged and more inclined to shout "bravo" and applaud as well. As long as claques aren't doing anything horrible to dancers behind the scenes, it seems to be a good institution. 

I thought about this too. Come to think of it, in all the time I went to the theater, and it is a very long time, not once did I witness anyone try to disrupt a performance (if one does not count various protest groups in Western Europe whose agenda typically have nothing to do with ballet). I only witnessed people talking during a performance and voicing their displeasure with certain dancers, but this disruption only affected those sitting immediately around them. Maybe someone can share a different story, but it seems that today's claques are a distant cry from the ones in horror stories from 19th century France.

23 hours ago, mtthwbrehm said:

At the Mariinsky, without claques, you could hear a pen drop at the end of variations. At some performances, I made it my duty to applaud loudly. Only a performance of Swan Lake with Victoria Tereshkina had a lot of true ballet fans in attendance. Tereshkina was the only Mariinsky performance I attended which had multiple curtain calls. 

Mariinsky audiences are very fickle, but if they get going, it can be very rewarding.

23 hours ago, mtthwbrehm said:

At the Mikhailovsky the case was worse. The entire audience were tourists from cruise ships who had no idea what they were watching. I saw a performance of Nacho Duato's Sleeping Beauty and I had to start applause for Princess Aurora's (Angelina Vorontsova) entrance. I had never been more upset.

Nacho Duato's Sleeping Beauty is a puzzling piece that is hard to get excited about regardless of who dances it. Try Flames of Paris or Laurencia with Ivan Vasiliev there, that small theater house gets so rowdy, you'd be scared for your life.

Edited by Fleurdelis

Share this post


Link to post
4 minutes ago, Fleurdelis said:

Nacho Duato's Sleeping Beauty is a puzzling piece that is hard to get excited about regardless of who dances it

There is no drama in SB to start with, it's a "spectacle", and in Duato's version there is no spectacle either - "Sleeping Beauty Light" !

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×