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Bravo, Brava, Bravi

Farrell Fan

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I now sit on the main floor at Chicago's wonderful Auditorium Theater for the Joffrey season. But, I, too, have an excellent view of Mr. Arpino in his box at stage left. Harriet Ross, Artistic Manager, usually accompanies him. Harriet and I know one another from her tenure as assistant artistic director at the (now, alas, defunct) Joseph Holmes company, where I was, for a time, a board member.

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Many thanks for telling me who everyone is! I applaud Mr. Arpino for his enthusiasm! :) I think it's too bad that Mr. Kirstein held back so....at least, I hope he was holding back!

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I love to shout and applaud loudly when a performance warrants it. I learned bravo, brava, bravi at the arts school I attended when I was a student because of the music and opera concerts on campus, and by hanging out with my colleagues who were singers. We were educated to know the difference, just as Septime is educating those children who attend Washington Ballet's children's show. But does one have to be conversant in Italian or French to be a repectable ballet or opera fan? I think it certainly helps, but cheering in Italian may be a behavior that makes ballet a little scary or inaccessible to public who may be new to ballet (Not to mention the matter of incorrect usage of a wonderful language). I often whistle my approval when I like a performance (more to add to the clamour and general commotion during possitive ovations, and not, in the European sense, to show disrespect, dirision or disapproval. Some European audiences will stomp their feet, or clap in unison to show approval). I will sometimes shout out the performer's name when they take their bow (MARGOT!!! or RUDY!!) And when really excited, nothing suffices like a whoop or YOW! My assumption being that, the greater the volume of the general response, the more the performers will be aware of the audience approval. While I run the risk of appearing gauche, I wonder if there are means of showing approval in the theater other than applauding, that are uniquely American, and are even remotely acceptable. Do people need a course in ballet appreciation before going to the theater, or should I (and others) relax and be comfortable with our boisterous American cultural style?


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Oh, Rick, you should do whatever you want! Somehow, I think you already knew that.:)

The worst thing in the world, to me, would be to have someone feel stifled by cultural norms. ;)

As for what form of appreciation is typically American, I'm sure there will be others who will respond later... I, too, have be known to whistle at performances...but only those in which my offspring is dancing. :)

I also do stand up and clap very loudly with a big smile on my face if I really love something - I wonder if the "standing ovation" is considered universal?

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I love to show my support to dancers by yelling bravo at the end of a performance. I have to admit that I usually use bravo for female as well as male dancers. I don't know why, but I am most comfortable with that and I'm sure they know that I am saluting them.

I am okay with thunderous applause and even bravo after a variation. I am fine with applause for a spectacular scene revealing. But noise while the dancer is dancing, is distracting annoying to me.

I really enjoyed the unison applause, at the end of the night in Europe, Russia and Asia.

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