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Summer 2014 NYC & Saratoga Tour

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In modern times, it's obvious that we haven't innovated much in terms of creating entirely new artistic concepts, at least not anything near the sophistication or complexity of the forms created in the past.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Exhibit 1 is hip hop, both music and the exquisite specialized dance forms. And hip hop artists didn't need a Renaissance court to birth the art form. Opera was once a popular art form and considered just as accessible as hip hop, but that doesn't make either of them any less complex.

So I guess the question is, do we as a society want to be desperately focused on "learning" culture from the past or do we want to be focused on "creating" culture, or is modern society just so devoid of "culture" that we can't think of anything else (we've gone from creating to evolving/improving/changing to imitating).

I don't accept this "either/or" argument as relevant.

People have been reinterpreting Shakespeare's plays -- and abridging them, changing the endings, adding in pieces that were current and popular or specific to the performer, etc. -- for hundreds of years. I don't see a compelling reason to stop or to stop interpreting "Giselle."

I won't debate the merits of hip/hop or other current popular music forms outside the usual criticisms (AutoTune, formulaic verse-chorus-bridge/hook, Rebecca Black's Friday at its peak before it got removed and reposted had hundreds of millions of views -- the most popular ballet video on YouTube has less than 15 million with a 7-year history). People study classical ballet, music performance, music theory, drama, voice and opera, for years at institutions like the Vaganova, SAB, Juilliard, Curtis just to name a few, whereas anyone with a synthesizer, a studio mic, and some software all for a few thousand dollars can pass off as a pop singer, anyone who dedicates a few weeks/months on YouTube can figure out some basic moves like the dougie or pop and lock among others and pass off as a hip-hop dancer. I can become proficient at the Macarena or any other similar pop choreography by watching MTV or YouTube in a few minutes/hours, whereas I couldn't do entrechat six like Roberto Bolle or perform Rach 3 like Horowitz even if I practiced for months and years. Now that doesn't mean everyone can make a living out of art forms with low barriers to entry, marketing and public perception makes a difference, if I take a canvas and paint some random squares on it and call it art nobody will care but if Piet Mondrian does it then it's a masterpiece worth millions.

Also, I never said we should stop interpreting "Giselle" or Shakespeare. My point was, there were many sophisticated art forms and mediums developed during eras of patronage, and had hundreds of years of derivative works based in those mediums, many of which became masterpieces. What is sad is that since roughly around the mid-to-late 20th century, we've stopped creating new derivative works in these mediums originating in the Renaissance that are widely performed or considered masterpieces. This also happens to coincide with the greater global democratization of political systems partially due to population growth, in which "pop" and other easily accessible culture becomes more economically relevant, rather than "refined" art paid for by a few. For an example, let's just look at Western orchestral music, we've gone from the likes of Scarlatti/Bach/Handel/... -> Mozart/Beethoven/Schubert/... -> Mendelssohn/Chopin/Verdi/Bizet/Tchaikovsky/Mahler/Strauss/Rachmaninoff/... -> Bartok/Prokofiev/Shostakovich/Gershwin/... -> ??? You could create a similar timeline for canvas painting which also ends in ??? somewhere in the mid-late 20th century.

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Now that doesn't mean everyone can make a living out of art forms with low barriers to entry, marketing and public perception makes a difference, if I take a canvas and paint some random squares on it and call it art nobody will care but if Piet Mondrian does it then it's a masterpiece worth millions.

Mondrian a painter of "random squares"? I don't pretend to any profound understanding of his art--and even when it comes to crudely knowing-what-I-like, Malevich is my "square" guy--but Mondrian was hardly working at random and I'm dubious about the idea that his artistic importance is a matter of "marketing and public perception."

How the art market got so inflated is a different topic--or whether it's all over with canvas painting; for sure, I don't believe it's all over with classical ballet.

To go back to a much earlier part of this discussion: Whether or not Grigorovich created a "masterpiece"--my own tastes were formed on far other lines--he certainly put his stamp on Soviet and thus, too, on Russian Ballet and has to be reckoned with--by the Bolshoi if not really by 'Westerners,' at least not in the same way. That's the company's very real problem on all kinds of levels.

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I won't debate the merits of hip/hop or other current popular music forms outside the usual criticisms (AutoTune, formulaic verse-chorus-bridge/hook, Rebecca Black's Friday at its peak before it got removed and reposted had hundreds of millions of views -- the most popular ballet video on YouTube has less than 15 million with a 7-year history).

Petipa ordered his music by the yard. Stravinsky wanted to know exactly how many seconds the pas de deux in "Orpheus" should last. There is plenty that is formulaic about the best classical ballet, the best opera -- da capo, anyone? -- sonnets, mythical and religious themes in painting, etc. There are conventions in all types of artistic forms, including masterworks.

People study classical ballet, music performance, music theory, drama, voice and opera, for years at institutions like the Vaganova, SAB, Juilliard, Curtis just to name a few, whereas anyone with a synthesizer, a studio mic, and some software all for a few thousand dollars can pass off as a pop singer, anyone who dedicates a few weeks/months on YouTube can figure out some basic moves like the dougie or pop and lock among others and pass off as a hip-hop dancer. I can become proficient at the Macarena or any other similar pop choreography by watching MTV or YouTube in a few minutes/hours, whereas I couldn't do entrechat six like Roberto Bolle or perform Rach 3 like Horowitz even if I practiced for months and years.

And most of the dancers on SYTYCD who attempt hip hop look are better-trained versions of you trying to do entrechat six like Roberto Bolle, and are about as believable and authentic. There's a reason why SYTYCD rarely has anyone but tap dancers assigned tap -- like it's counterpart jazz music, another great, complex art that didn't spring from the well of the Renaissance courts -- and anyone but animators assigned to animation. Tap dancers and animators spend years perfecting their forms of dance.

Now that doesn't mean everyone can make a living out of art forms with low barriers to entry, marketing and public perception makes a difference, if I take a canvas and paint some random squares on it and call it art nobody will care but if Piet Mondrian does it then it's a masterpiece worth millions.

Is Mondrian revolutionary or evolutionary, even if you don't respect the skill or vision involved?

My point was, there were many sophisticated art forms and mediums developed during eras of patronage, and had hundreds of years of derivative works based in those mediums, many of which became masterpieces. What is since roughly around the mid-to-late 20th century, we've stopped creating new derivative works in these mediums originating in the Renaissance that are widely performed or considered masterpieces.

I must have misunderstood your earlier argument: I thought you were saying that we were missing the great patronage that would cause a revolution in the arts, not that we were talking about evolutionary works -- here described as "derivative" -- in the classical arts. I'll happily address mid-to-late 20th century and beyond "derivative" works.

Stravinsky (d. 1971), Shostakovich (d. 1975), Barber (d. 1981), Ives (d. 1954), Carter (d. 2012), Glass, and Adams, to name just a few, wrote masterworks late in life or continue to do so today and are widely performed. Ashton (d. 1988), Tudor (d.1987), Balanchine (d. 1983), Robbins (d. 1998), Forsythe (when he was still choreographing ballet and stretching it to the limit), Wheeldon, Ratmansky all choreographed masterworks and the latter two are still creating them, and all but the first two are widely performed. These are just the obvious suspects.

This also happens to coincide with the greater global democratization of political systems partially due to population growth, in which "pop" and other easily accessible culture becomes more economically relevant, rather than "refined" art meant only for the consumption of a few.

The "refined" arts had continuity partly because of three phenomena: the academy and subsequent professionalization of ballet, which is why it didn't die out as court performance, churches, which kept "refined" music going without dependence on private orchestras, and the primarily 19th century practice of public concerts, where "refined" music moved from castles and estates, where Beethoven and Mozart were popular composers and soloists, and if their stuff, or Verdi's or Puccini's, weren't popular, they didn't get to present many of their works. Organ grinders churned out Verdi melodies in the street, and people rushed to the shows if they pleased. The Paris Opera Ballet churned out new work and saved almost nothing. Had Lucien Petipa not brought "Giselle" to his brother in St. Petersburg, it would have been lost, because the French weren't even thinking that there was a "refined" legacy to save.

For an example, let's just look at Western orchestral music, we've gone from the likes of Scarlatti/Bach/Handel/... -> Mozart/Beethoven/Schubert/... -> Mendelssohn/Chopin/Verdi/Bizet/Tchaikovsky/Mahler/Strauss/Rachmaninoff/... -> Bartok/Prokofiev/Shostakovich/Gershwin/... -> ??? You could create a similar timeline for canvas painting which also ends in ??? somewhere in the mid-late 20th century.

Now we're simply in the realm of taste if you dismiss everything painted or composed after the mid-20th century. There's closer to critical consensus about early-to-mid 20th century works, because there's distance to their staying power, and no time to reconsider, as, for example, Mozart fell off the map until revived by Mahler and Mahler fell off the map until revived by Bernstein.

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-SYTYCD often asks trained dancers to learn new art forms within a week. Of course a trained dancer is going to be better than an average Joe or me doing entrechat six. However, a trained professional ballet dancer can most certainly pick-up hip-hop dancing and be just as proficient as a well-trained hip-hop dancer within a reasonable amount of time. The vice versa is not true. SYTYCD never asks its dancers to learn ballet in a week - it's impossible. Tap dancing I view as a very limited exception, and because I have absolutely zero expertise to opine on it, I'll say nothing except to point out it's nowhere near as popular today as the other classical Renaissance arts (at least not since the 80s), and even less popular than "pop" art a la Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, and the like. And I never said "all" when it came to patronage, I said "most".

-Conventions do exist in all art forms. The conventions in classical music are complex/sophisticated and require years of study, "pop" music conventions require a day to understand.

-My fault for opening the can of worms with Mondrian. But I will say that there are many who find certain schools of abstract art to have less merit than representational art, and many who disagree, simply based on the effort and barrier to entry involved. The better analogy was Rebecca Black or even more extreme, the man who put a toilet bowl in an exhibit and called it art (and I'm not insinuating that Mondrian in that same category), maybe someone appreciates it, but it's no Michelangelo. If we can't even agree on Rebecca Black or the toilet bowl in terms of its merits as art then we'll just have to agree to disagree. If everything can be considered art, then "art" has no value.

-If we bring the topic back to ballet, practically all the largest European/Russian ballet schools and theaters which ensured the continuity of the art came into existence under royal patronage, so I'm not sure why we are disagreeing on the influence of patronage. If there wasn't patronage, ballet wouldn't even have existed

-Kirov/Mariinsky + Bolshoi - both came under Catherine the Great

-Paris Opera Ballet - Louis the XIV

-Royal Ballet - Queen Elizabeth II

-La Scala - Empress Maria Theresa of Austria

-Finally, for anything painted or composed for orchestra after the mid-20th century, I'm sure you could come up with artists (I could as well with a search), but my argument has absolutely nothing to do with personal taste. Rather, I am arguing that there are simply none that are "household" names, which reflects the shift in popular taste away from these media. Everyone knows Mozart, Monet, da Vinci, Picasso, fewer people know Mondrian, and even fewer people know of any late 20th century painter or composer. People on this forum are clearly well-versed in these topics and extremely well-educated in the humanities over decades of experience (many clearly much more so than me), and we can sit here in our ivory tower bubble debating this and that, but what does the average YouTube viewer think and what does he know about, is my point.

I also worry that we are starting to conflate arguments/different issues and open new, irrelevant cans of worms now. I stand by my assertion that in the modern era we've become mostly imitative of prior artists in the "classical" arts, with performance taking more precedence than composition, which limits innovation within these media. I also stand by my assertion that "popular culture" (that which is represented by YouTube videos with hundreds or billions of views) has been "dumbed down" and has a much lower barrier to entry than in years past reflecting changes in economic, political, and cultural trends and attitudes, especially notions that "everyone should be a winner" or "everyone should be equal regardless of their merit in whatever endeavors they pursue" or "everyone should get points for effort and participation irrespective of the result".

By the way, since you mentioned the church, the church was indeed a significant patron in and of itself and also has much declined in influence and wealth over the years. And so I stand by my third and final assertion that modern democratic governments are most certainly not patrons of the arts in the same ways the church, royal courts, and other similar institutions were. (Or Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, etc. for that matter)

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I am not arguing that the origins of ballet did not stem from court patronage. The evolution of ballet in the 19th and 20th centuries did not require always require court patronage. By 1669 the Paris Opera was privatized, eight years after Louis XIV established and patronized the Academy. La Scala was built to replace the Royal Ducal Theater, which burned down, and was paid for by the box owners at the old theater, even if Empress Maria Theresa was the patron founder. And the Royal Ballet existed as Sadler's Wells, a private company, for the first 25 years of its existence until it was granted the name "Royal Ballet" by Royal Charter. Queen Elizabeth is the company's patron, but not remotely in the sense that the Medicis or Catherine the Great were patrons. New, complex art forms like jazz and hip hop (which you deride) have evolved without any type of royal patronage.

No one is arguing that classical arts are not less popular now than they were in the past. The past, as far as the height of popularity of ballet (and other dance) in North America was the '70's, which was well into the latter half of the 20th century.

You are arguing "household names" as a criteria for the first time in your last post. It's rather difficult to follow an ever-moving argument.

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Agreed on the Royal Ballet in that its patronage was different from the other houses.

So aside from that, what exactly are we still arguing about, i.e. which of the three assertions I made towards the end of my last post do you disagree with.

And no, not all evolution required patronage, but the "origins" did, is my point, it takes tremendous effort and imagination to invent a sophisticated dance form and codify words to describe the basic elements within the dance form (fouette', port de bras, grand jete', five positions, and so on). Influence/power also helps to make a particular form canon. Most of the earliest formal definitions I would presume came out Louis XIV's Academie Royale de Danse. It takes less effort to choreograph a new cohesive work once the basic elements have been codified and the musical score is available. It takes even less effort to imitate and re-interpret Swan Lake or Giselle. And it takes miniscule effort to do the Macarena. And so we have scores of kids wanting to become Miley Cyrus, fewer kids wanting to become the next Odette-Odile, even fewer kids wanting to become the next Petipa, and so on. Does our free-market economy or democratic government incentivize anyone who would even think to go down the road less traveled in the same way influential patrons did in the past, absolutely not. Free-market dictates that in the digital age the best and brightest, even those with tremendous artistic talent, go into technology, finance, etc., the former of which caters to the lowest common denominator (billions with smartphones, Facebook/Twitter/..., also contributing to increasingly sedentary unhealthy lifestyles) and the latter of which participates in "efficiently allocating capital to the most productive destinations" (i.e. mostly tech these days).

I saw this from personal experience when I graduated in 2009 from a "prestigious" college and a large majority of graduates irrespective of their majors or interests got shepherded into doing the same things after graduation under economic considerations. It's just a joke, really.

As for bringing up "household names" for the first time, I thought I was already clear when I had put "masterpiece" in quotes as meaning something that is not only widely known by the general public but also widely critically accepted as having high artistic merit, as opposed to being related to personal taste.

I am not arguing that the origins of ballet did not stem from court patronage. The evolution of ballet in the 19th and 20th centuries did not require always require court patronage. No one is arguing that classical arts are not less popular now than they were in the past. The past, as far as the height of popularity of ballet (and other dance) in North America was the '70's, which was well into the latter half of the 20th century. And the Royal Ballet existed as Sadler's Wells, a private company, for the first 25 years of its existence until it was granted the name "Royal Ballet" by Royal Charter. Queen Elizabeth is the company's patron, but not remotely in the sense that the Medicis or Catherine the Great were patrons.

You are arguing "household names" as a criteria for the first time in your last post. It's rather difficult to follow an ever-moving argument.

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And please tell me when I have derided hip hop. I can't say I respect all aspects/schools of it depending on its subject matter/content (twerking? we can agree to disagree), but there are most certainly very respectable elements in some hip-hop schools. But it's a fact that professional ballet dancers can and have been noted to transition into hip-hop but never vice versa which reflects the relative differences in complexity. Tap/jazz I never opined on except to say yes it is as complex as any other Renaissance art but hasn't as of yet had the lasting global impact the Renaissance arts have, the influence being restricted more to the states and pre-1980s. I will say I have no respect for Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, and the like, but that has nothing to do with hip-hop/tap/jazz.

And sure, a lot was privatized afterwards as you edited your post, but where does the initial impetus come from, unfortunately arts can rarely be separated from the politics of the time, before the Renaissance much art was dictated by the church, later on it was increasingly dictated by secular tastes among the wealthy and politically powerful and gradually the culture filtered out by osmosis into the general public, nowadays the tastes are dictated by the lowest common denominator (since we're all "equal", right?), and it shows in the ad-revenue driven media we consume today.

For all the merits of democracy and free markets and what these institutions have done for broad segments of people and their standards of living and acceptance in society, we must also be able to admit that it has many fallacies. We should not deride the very historical institutions that gave birth to the art form "ballet" that we all love on this forum. And it's a fact that the U.S. hasn't generated nearly as many globally known "household names" and artistic output as the European monarchies with all of its conflict over its past 300 years. And Europe has obviously also shifted to become more like the U.S. over the past 100 years.

I don't want this to devolve into straw man arguments -- from my perspective you seem to be unfairly and repeatedly reading my arguments differently than I intended them, so I propose we just let it go since we've both already made our points several different ways.

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I just finished my 10 days of "Mad about Bolshoi" NYC trip. From July 19-27 I watched 3 S.W.s, 3 D.Q.s and 2 Spartacus. Although I can only describe very few ballet techniques and performance skills, I enjoyed all the shows so much, getting so excited that I failed to sleep some night during the trip.

I would like to post some of my impressions and thoughts, though immature, even ignorant, however, I have been benefited from your discussion all the time, I am hoping to get more educated.

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Here are some pictures I took during my Bolshoi week. To take the pictures in the David Koch Theater, I had to play guerrilla game with the service ladies, and not very successful.

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The pictures are great--I especially liked the one copied above. Would enjoy hearing your impressions of performances too...

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Glad you enjoyed your Bolshoi marathon, but taking pictures during a performance is really a "no no". I'm just saying......

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Glad you enjoyed your Bolshoi marathon, but taking pictures during a performance is really a "no no". I'm just saying......

I didn't take picture during any performance.

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The pictures are great--I especially liked the one copied above. Would enjoy hearing your impressions of performances too...

thanks.GIF

The three Swan Lakes:
7/19/2014 2:00:00 PM
Anna Nikulina
Artem Ovcharenko
7/19/2014 8:00:00 PM
Ekaterina Krysanova
David Hallberg
7/20/2014 2:00:00 PM
Olga Smirnova
Semyon Chudin
Nikulina and Ovcharenko both young and tender, and in relatively petty sizes. On stage they looked like pure teenage Princess and Prince. In Act II , there was a scene that Odette and Siegfried were in the center, surrounded by 24 'bigger' swans which tutus ruffling synchronously. What a fairytale scene!
I could not see the same visual effects in Smirnova and Chudin's S.W., because I was completely attracted by two of them, trying to figured out why some people say Smirnova is a ballet prodigy, and paid no attention to the corps simultaneously.
In Act II when Smirnova just came out to meet Chudin, I suddenly had delusion that they were dancing in the Diamonds. When Smirnova moved her head, neck, back, arms, bending her up body, she looked almost the same as in Diamonds. Moreover, Smirnova is a more sophisticated sad swan in S.W., other than a happy swan in Diamonds, she has more complex face expression for her Odette/Odile. Smirnova is a very beautiful and competent swan, though, she is not as virtuoso as Krysanova.
I found Smirnova is an intrinsic dancer, that I mean, when she dances, her body moves and communicates with the music, but not audience. Probably, that is why some people think she is "cold".
As I wrote earliear :
Krysanova was spectacular as Odette/Odile. Her fouette sequence with straight hight leg, multiples, wings/arms brandish, plus the straight traveling from the back to the front of the stage, all in breathtaking speed, made a very strong aggressive and forceful Odile. After her impressive fouette, the applause burst out like thunder.
I don;t know what was happening about Zakharova and Hallberg's S.W. during the opening night. Also, frankly speaking, I could not tell what is the chemistry between partners. When Hallberg danced with Krysanova, he was a very sweat, warm and careful Prince, he and Krysanova danced the PDD in act II very beautifully, very moving, which made me tearing and crying. Their S.W. is the best among S.W.s I saw in theaters ever.
Ok, for the boys. They were all very good. They all did light and high jeté, stable and beautiful Pirouettes, having handsome and graceful stage manner. Was there some difference? Chudin is more serious and earnest, Hallberg more natural and genuine, Ovcharenko more pure and boyish.
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Yudi, your picture of the young girls in front of the theater (#4) is so true to the ballet environment that I’ve experienced, whether it be NYC or Saint Petersburg. I love it.

I've been highly impressed for almost a half year by video clips of Olga Smirnova’s Diamonds, considering it her finest effort until NYC. I do have to say, having seen two Olga Smirnova NYC Swan Lakes, that I think she’s Grown Immensely since those Diamonds performances, especially as an Actrice-Expressionist ‘prima level ballerina.’

Please continue loving what you see, as you seem to, and don’t worry about how knowledgeable you should be or whether folks like myself agree with you. Your opinions are as worthwhile here as anyone’s.

(spelling correction made)

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Yudi, your picture of the young girls in front of the theater (#4) is so true to the ballet environment that I’ve experienced, whether it be NYC or Saint Petersburg. I love it.

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About swan's arms.
Every time when I saw Krysanova dancing, either on stage or in YouTube, I would think of that Maya Plisetskaya had said: I have bigger hands, so I dance not only using my arms, but also my hands.
Krysanova has very beautiful arms and long hands. She dances with expressive and fluid arm and hand movements.
When I watched Smirnova dancing in S.W. I also paid attention to her "swan arms". She certainly has different style of arm movements, pretty much like some of other Mariinsky swans, e.g., Lopatkina. But, her arms are too boney, elbow joints are too big. Sometimes I feel very funny and uncomfortable to look at them that swan wings are not supposed to be so skeletal. I truely hope that ballerinas should not be getting too skinny.
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But, her arms are too boney, elbow joints are too big. Sometimes I feel very funny and uncomfortable to look at them that swan wings are not supposed to be so skeletal. I truely hope that ballerinas should not be getting too skinny.

That indeed is one of Smirnova's main problems and is going to be even a bigger problem for her in the future: her heavy bones and big joints are so distinct that they inevitably affect the purity of lines. This is particularly visible in the upper body (her arms, her neck) yet it also applies to her legs.

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Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives. I snapped a pic of the auditorium before many people arrived years ago just as a memory of the theater (something I do at theaters I visit), and the usher told me not to take pics. So I didn't bother to try for curtain calls. What is funny is that the same usher who would not let me take pics of the auditorium before the performance allowed people to enter long after the performance had begun disrupting everyone. So apparently it is okay for her to disrupt the performance and let latecomers in but it is not okay to take pics before and after performances which bothers nobody. Really strange logic.

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Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives. I snapped a pic of the auditorium before many people arrived years ago just as a memory of the theater (something I do at theaters I visit), and the usher told me not to take pics. So I didn't bother to try for curtain calls. What is funny is that the same usher who would not let me take pics of the auditorium before the performance allowed people to enter long after the performance had begun disrupting everyone. So apparently it is okay for her to disrupt the performance and let latecomers in but it is not okay to take pics before and after performances which bothers nobody. Really strange logic.

I saw flashes going off around the theater at virtually every performance during the curtain calls. Down in the front of the orchestra during curtain calls, it seemed that at least a dozen people were taking pictures with smartphones, many with flash. Perhaps because there were so many, the ushers didn't try to intervene.

At one Swan Lake, a young girl (9, as she proudly told everybody) pulled out her iPad during the performance and started snapping pictures. I scowled at the mother and shook my head, to no avail. A retired teacher (I later learned) reached over and pulled it out of her hands, saying "no"! At the first intermission, an usher came to talk with the mother, who was incredibly rude about it. "She's only taking pictures!" Add this to the list of rude audience behavior.

I did see a lot of late arrivals being seated during the overture, but not later.

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Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives. I snapped a pic of the auditorium before many people arrived years ago just as a memory of the theater (something I do at theaters I visit), and the usher told me not to take pics. So I didn't bother to try for curtain calls. What is funny is that the same usher who would not let me take pics of the auditorium before the performance allowed people to enter long after the performance had begun disrupting everyone. So apparently it is okay for her to disrupt the performance and let latecomers in but it is not okay to take pics before and after performances which bothers nobody. Really strange logic.

I was reprimanded quite severely (and rudely, I would say) by an usher at the Kennedy Center for taking a picture of my group sitting in the auditorium during an intermission! "Didn't you hear the announcement?" she snarled at me, and when I said "Oh sorry, I thought that meant not to take pictures of the performance", she snarled again "Didn't you hear the announcement? [you blithering idiot, implied]". Seriously, it's outrageous that people who pay good money for tickets are treated in this way.

The Sydney Opera House is also strict about no pix ever.

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The ushers at David Koch and KC would probably faint and die if they worked at the Mariinsky. Tourists AND Russians alike are snapping pictures of the theatre like crazy before a performance, and quite a few DURING the performances (and even iPads held up), and many, many snap pics during curtain calls.

Kbarber, it is bizarre they don't let people take a group pic during intermission with nothing happening on stage. Very strange. It is like they are stuck on a rule and not thinking logically anymore. The whole point of forbidding picture taking is so the performance is not interrupted or disrupted and everyone can enjoy the performance. What on earth is the reason for no pics before, after and during intermissions????? How does that hurt anyone????

The irony is that the places that are that strict are actually not very beautiful theaters, so it is like, "Fine, I won't take a pic of your ugly theatre!" LOL

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Yudi, I love to take pics during curtain calls also. What is strange is the ushers at the David Koch theater seem to be the only ushers in the world who stop people from taking pictures before and after. I totally understand why they would tell people to stop DURING a performance, but the David Koch ushers don't even want a pic taken of the auditorium before the orchestra even arrives.

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Actually, I saw iPhone-camera, DC flashing, ..., all over the theater from Orchestra to the Fourth Ring during the curtain calls after every show.
Logically and lawfully, I don't see the reason not to allow the audiences to take pictures before and after the performances. Maybe, the costume designs are copyrighted?
The ushers at David Koch treat people differently. When I took the pictures after Krysanova & Hallberg's S.W., I tried different settings on my camera to get good results. Had few trying, an usher behind me told me FRIENDLY: no more. ... OK, I put my camera in my bag.
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For Smirnova & Chudin's S.W., I observed that the usher lady standing nearby door looked very harsh and intolerant. I didn't bother to take my camera out at all. When I walked out the theater, I saw and heard that usher and a big man, tall and fat, yelling and fighting loudly for shooting during the curtain calls.
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After the performance of Krysanova and Chudin's D.Q., I run to a location in the front so that no usher could reach me easily and I took quite few pictures.
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That indeed is one of Smirnova's main problems and is going to be even a bigger problem for her in the future: her heavy bones and big joints are so distinct that they inevitably affect the purity of lines. This is particularly visible in the upper body (her arms, her neck) yet it also applies to her legs.

I feel so sorry for her.

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The ushers at Bayeriche Staatsoper in Munich are also very strict about taking pictures. They don't allow people to take pictures of the interior of the opera house during intermissions and are quite rude.

And no theatre in Japan allows taking pictures at curtain calls, they are really strict about that so no one dares to take any.

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Kbarber, it is bizarre they don't let people take a group pic during intermission with nothing happening on stage. Very strange. It is like they are stuck on a rule and not thinking logically anymore. The whole point of forbidding picture taking is so the performance is not interrupted or disrupted and everyone can enjoy the performance. What on earth is the reason for no pics before, after and during intermissions????? How does that hurt anyone????

My reasoning exactly. Meanwhile, in Munich I was reprimanded by an usher for taking a picture of my group in the LOBBY during an intermission! Katherine Barber, reprimanded by ushers on three continents..

On a tour of the opera house in Stuttgart we were told we couldn't take pictures of the stage because the sets and costumes were copyrighted and it would be ok if we were just going to look at the pics ourselves but then they get posted on the internet with no attribution etc and they said it was just easier to say "no pics of whatever's on the stage". We were told in Denmark not to take pictures of the kids on the stage for a school performance but I don't know if that was because of privacy issues concerning pictures of children or the aforementioned copyright issues.

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We were told in Denmark not to take pictures of the kids on the stage for a school performance but I don't know if that was because of privacy issues concerning pictures of children or the aforementioned copyright issues.

I sort of understand the whole not taking pictures of kids thing. As a person who works in the public schools you have cases where a custodial parent is fearful that a non-custodial parent (who attempted to run away with the child in the past) will see his/her kid on a social networking site or website and figure out how to find the child and abduct the child. So we have to always get parental permission to use any photo of a child for anything to do with the school's website or social media or when the news media wants to do a story about the school.

But I would think a costume or scenery pic posted on some social networking site would not really harm anyone. It might get people asking, "Where did you take that pic?" and give some word-of-mouth publicity.

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After the performance of Krysanova and Chudin's D.Q....

:yahoo:

I loved this picture too...

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