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Sitting near to someone who "just can't help themselves" singing or beating along with the music. No-one is so musical that they cannot prevent themselves from hitting the back of my seat in time with the music. Or worse, out of time with the music. And the overture, or any famous part of the score, is not an excuse for a singalong. I always want to turn round and tell them: No-one is impressed by your amazing ballet knowledge and musicality that you are able to hum along to the dance of the sugar plum fairy. I am here to watch the dancing, not to have someone hum in my ear. :)

[ 06-06-2001: Message edited by: beckster ]

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When dancers "eat air". I know it's hard to breathe, but watching someone gulp air kills for me whatever amazing thing they just did was.

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The horror! The HORROR!

beckster wrote "Sitting near to someone who "just can't help themselves" singing or beating along with the music. No-one is so musical that they cannot prevent themselves from hitting the back of my seat in time with the music."

While I have never had someone beating time on my seat back, the ones who hum accompaniment to the orchestra are purgatory for me. Many of them actually seem unaware of what they are doing--it starts when some familiar measure is played, often something that has been used in a commercial, a movie or a cartoon. The big Puccini works really set this off.

It is easy to deal with talkers--just tell them to be quiet in a more or less polite way. Less is sometimes better. And since talkers are annoying other people and since they also are aware in some way that their behavior is unacceptable, it works. Except in one case, which must have been the result of a deeply rooted psycho-pathology.

With hummers, since they often don't know what they are doing, it can be more difficult to get them to be quiet. If anyone has a good method to deal with this I would appreciate reading it.

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This is all too funny!

My pet peeve is seeing a dancer -- especially a female -- who is afflicted with a condition that I term "Guppy Mouth." (Have you seen profile photos of guppy-fish?) The ballerina's mouth constantly open in a small "O" circle, lips sticking out. It is even more ridiculous when coupled with the "eyes-of-wonder/raised eyebrows" look, which usually appears right after the dancer has completed some technical feat...even if it was not done so well.

Are dancers *coached* to make these faces??? Can't anyone correct them???

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I'm with those who are peeved by the HUMMERS! This problem is found in epidemic proportions in south Florida. I'm sure age and deafness contribute to the problem. As Ed Waffle said - they don't even seem to be

aware they're doing it. I've often pictured the newspaper headline LIBRARIAN SHOOTS HUMMER AT PALM BEACH BALLET PERFORMANCE.

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Knobby knees. My reaction to Miami City Ballet's Jewels was a little less ecstatic than others' mainly because I was sitting very close to the stage and I keep seeing in my mind the disturbing image of those little Diamonds corps girls with their knobby knees. The knees weren't so noticable in Emeralds -- long skirts -- or Rubies -- short skirts, but the full, white tutus were NOT flattering on these girls. I was very relieved when the grown-ups (Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero) took over with their lean-but-adult body lines and mature, regal carriage.

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Jeannie, I think your "guppy mouth" is partly a tic, and partly trying to breathe. There was a girl in my acting classes in college who did guppy mouth. They tried everything to break her of it, at first gently pointing it out to her, then yelling GOLDFISH!!!!!! whenever she did it. Nothing worked. She was quite beautiful, and quite accomplished (when she forgot she was a fish).

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All this talk about "hummers" reminds me of the time I sat next to a "whistler" at a Nutcracker matinee. :eek:

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I've never been near a hummer, perhaps public servants (90% of the ACT) are too.. conservative?

One more thing. Brown Costumes (where not necessary) and unitards.

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The next time you early leavers get up to leave, remember that the dancers can see you and they think you are walking out without applauding them because you thought their performance was poor. I have had dancers I was dressing come back to the dressing room in hysterics because people were walking out. And these were seasoned principals in major companies.

Pet peeve #2: Tutus that droop in the back.

Pet peeve #3: Cell phones! Argh!

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Now lets see.....I certainly do applaud at the END of the performance and curtain calls are great, but if I have to drive 45 miles home in dark, snowy weather, I'm just going to have to leave five minutes early to beat the parking garage bottle-neck and hope that some of the dancers don't go into hysterics because of my itinerary! ;) ;)

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Oh, I had thought the jewelry was a thing of the past, Drew. When the Kirov was in NY two years ago it had disappeared. I guess we should remember the story of how Nijinsky and his classmates helped to look for the diamond that had torn off the skirt of the costume worn by Maria Petipa...I guess it's just an old tradition. I still find it disconcerting though.

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1. A "Swan Lake" with a I-don't-care-what-the-score-says happy ending.

2. Audiences who don't control their tall Big Hair. I keep my finger crossed that beehives won't make a comeback.

3. Audience who keep searching their purses or plastic bags during performances. If it's mint or candy they are looking for then they proceed to open the can or unwrap the candy.

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Audience members who sway to the music. I guess this is the physical equivalent of humming. I'm short and it means I have to sway to see around the swayers.

And I repeat (because I heard one AGAIN last night) CELL PHONES. AAARRGH!

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I find it annoying when the audience claps durring difficult moves like fouettes. They're hard enough to while concentrating, but when it is thrown off by appplause, it's distracting. Its alright to clap AFTER the dancer is finished them, but not durring. And the most obvioius pet peeve of all CELL PHONES!! Is it so difficult to turn off the phone before the show starts? And if you absolutly have to leave it on, then at least put it on vibrate and take it outside when it rings. It'a a nuisance to both the dancers and the rest of the audience.

:mad:

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Isn't there some way of scrambling cell phone signals ? Perhaps all yet to be built theaters should come wwith some method to block cell phone signals in the plans. I have heard them ring from the stage. THAT is distracting.

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There's NO excuse for cell phones ringing during a performance: if the person needs to be available at all time they can easily purchase a vibrating battery, and this will alert them to a call. Furthermore, most of the theaters (at least here in NY) make an announcement prior to the start of a performance reminding people to turn off their cell phones, alarm watches, etc. Despite this, I once was at a performance where the person actually ANSWERED the call during a performance! As to the best of my knowledge God has yet to communicate with anyone by cell phone, the call could have waited!

My other pet peeve is people who can't sit still. I was sitting in the orchestra at the Met in a place where the seats were poorly staggered, so everytime the woman in front of me moved her head (which was often), I had to move mine to see, and this greatly upset the person behind me. It also left me with a headache from bobbing around so much. :mad:

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liebling--yes indeed there is. it is quite common for research buildings to be built as 'quiet buildings'. no signals go in, no signals go out. perhaps if just the interior theatre had this feature then we would all be safe from the cell phones and beepers.

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My major peeves: 1- Dancers who don't finish a variation cleanly. 2- People who can't wait for at least an "applause break" to take out candy from a wrapper. 3- People who

ask for autographs from any type of performing artist who is watching a performance with family or companions. Talking to them is one thing. Asking for an autograph, is another thing.

:mad:

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I hate a common variant of the "wrist flicker". I call it the "screwing in the light bulb" gesture. If you've seen a cheesy Don Q, you know what I'm referring to.

Could somebody more experienced than myself please tell me how many ballerinas it takes to screw in a light bulb?

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Four, one to do it and three to say how much better they could have done it.

(Actually that's a classic tenor joke.)

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I don't mind slightly winged feet (assuming I do know what they are) but when the foot is practically flexed it is really horrible.

This is the peeve that really makes me mad, and it rolls several of the peeve-ish issues into one. It's when in the first set of balances in the Rose Adagio the ballerina tries to do a 'Margot Fonteyn' and misses out the fourth prince. This is annoying for so many reasons:

  • It ignores court etiquette and offends the prince - OK, a small point but hey
  • It almost never works and looks uncomfortably wobbly
  • It never looks spontaneous, and 'setting up' the balance completely defies the point of the Fonteyn story, whether true or not
  • It doesn't fit the music, and so the opening out into arabesque doesn't come in the right place, or the last prince is given an embarrassingly short once-over by Aurora before she opens into arabesque

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--Automatic standing ovations (let's save those for really special performances, OK?) that make you have to stand up just to see the dancers take a bow;

--The opposite problem, in a way: audience members who RUN out before the last note is even played to get to the car to get to the suburb;

--Long tortured explanations over the PA about why you should not take photographs, film, or otherwise record the dancers ("In order not to distract the dancers or others around you during the performance..."). JUST TELL US IT'S PROHIBITED;

--Pre-performance speeches (mercifully, these seem to be disappearing).

AND FINALLY (any insight into this one?):

--Performers onstage clapping for themselves shorly after bows. When/how did this practice, seen now in many different performing genres, begin? It used to happen only when, say, the choreographer would come on stage. Now everyone claps.

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--Automatic standing ovations (let's save those for really special performances, OK?) that make you have to stand up just to see the dancers take a bow;

--The opposite problem, in a way: audience members who RUN out before the last note is even played to get to the car to get to the suburb;

--Long tortured explanations over the PA about why you should not take photographs, film, or otherwise record the dancers ("In order not to distract the dancers or others around you during the performance..."). JUST TELL US IT'S PROHIBITED;

--Pre-performance speeches (mercifully, these seem to be disappearing).

AND FINALLY (any insight into this one?):

--Performers onstage clapping for themselves shorly after bows. When/how did this practice, seen now in many different performing genres, begin? It used to happen only when, say, the choreographer would come on stage. Now everyone claps.

Ray, I agree with you for the most part, but I admit to being one of the suburbanites who sprints out for the train (not the car). I wait until after the curtain is down, and I don't do it unless I'm on the aisle, but if I've just witnessed something I don't feel much like applauding and the train is due, the train wins hands down, especially on those days when I'll have to wait a half hour for the next one.

As for the clapping bit, it's happening in some sports, too. I think it’s intended as an acknowledgment of the applause, a kind of ‘thank you, I think you’re great too,’ but it just looks odd.

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AND FINALLY (any insight into this one?):

--Performers onstage clapping for themselves shorly after bows. When/how did this practice, seen now in many different performing genres, begin? It used to happen only when, say, the choreographer would come on stage. Now everyone claps.

As for the clapping bit, it's happening in some sports, too. I think it’s intended as an acknowledgment of the applause, a kind of ‘thank you, I think you’re great too,’ but it just looks odd.

Maybe it makes them feel better :)

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