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A Real Live Dance Recital

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FlexNPointe123

I am not saying that leaving during a performance is proper etiquette at all, but once it gets to the 48th tap routine, you feel yourself being pulled toward the exit, if you know what I mean!

 

Also, I felt a small need to brag, so here's the situtation: My teacher arranged for our studio to come and perform for my classmates so that they could see something that they (sadly) normally wouldn't get to see. During his class, we had a clapping lesson. He taught us which ways to clap, and when/where it was appropriate to do so. Everyone laughed, and "teeheed" about it, but when the performance came around, they were all very polite, and these are eighth grade students!!! So teaching proper manners is a crucial element!

 

It is great to have reminders prior to the show, but if they are not enforeced, it does no good! I have no way of making sure that this happens, but if the directors of the performing arts center were to maybe ask them to please put away the camera, it would help. Though it may take away from the show, so it's a tough call. It comes out to which is more distracting?

 

I hope that these types of things come to an end, I really would hate to see a fight, whooping, or anyone getting hurt in general! Ballet is a safe place for me, and it's very comforting. It's not so comforting to have to worry about people fighting, and your visiting relatives possibly getting hurt when they are there to support you! That concept just scares me!

 

~*Erica*~

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koshka

knock knock

 

About flash:

--Yes, Russian photojournalists seem to use it with abandon--I've seen them flash away right underneath the uneven bars at a gymnastics competition. Trust me--if the organizers of such events understood how dangerous flash can be, it would forbidden in practice rather than just in principle.

 

--At school performances, a lot of places seem to have gone to having a pro do a video or still pictures and just forbidding photography altogether, which is a bit disappointing to me since I am capable of taking nonflash performance pics.

 

Most people seem to use flash not really out of spite or even refusal to follow rules but rather out of ignorance of both their own cameras and of the hazards it presents. <Sigh> Maybe I should start a short course, "Photography for Parents".

 

About Boston--occasionally if you arrive just a bit late and there's space, they'll allow you to enter and sit in the boxes at the rear of the theater, which we used to call "the penalty boxes" as in, "we were afraid you'd be late and have to sit in the penalty box".

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K8smom

Even if photos can be taken without a flash, it's often still distracting to the people behind you. I was at a recital this weekend where people were not only taking flash photos, but non-flash, with the annoying little blue screens waving around. Plus, the kid sitting next to me (about 4, I'd say) was wearing those shoes with the blinking red lights. Now, ordinarily I think that those shoes are really cool, but at a performance in a dark theatre, they were not! I moved at intermission.

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koshka
Even if photos can be taken without a flash, it's often still distracting to the people behind you.

So true, and even without the screen (I still don't really get the whole screen thing--do some of those digital cameras just not have a viewfinder at all, or what???), somebody with a camera just tends to be more ... active.

 

The place where I go has cut down on some of this by making it quietly known that photos are ok during dress rehearsals, as well as by having a professional video done.

 

Maybe the whole question of photos at student performances needs its own thread...

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Mel Johnson

...They could hire ushers from the World Wrestling Foundation.... :wink:

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Gremlin
with the annoying little blue screens waving around. 

 

Don't forget the illuminated gameboy screens. You find those in the audience as well.

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hannahbeth
Just to add my two cents worth regarding manners - my wide-sweeping generalisation is that manners are sorely lacking these days (God I sound so old!!). Children learn manners from their parents, whether through being taught or through imitation.

 

 

Knock knock. . .

 

Hope it's okay for me to post over here.

 

I'm an elementary school teacher. The cafeteria behavior of kids has deteriorated so that we have gone to teaching table manners to the kids at public school. We are required now to teach the kids to put the napkin in their laps along with their left hands, and frequently during lunch the principal remind the children "no elbows on the table." A friend of mine had a parent write her a note about the no elbows on the table rule. The parent wrote that she had never heard of any such thing. This parent was quite upset that we dare to teach her kid how to eat. Why not? These days we have to teach them everything else. It's amazing what we have to teach in the way of etiquette, because these kids get no training in manners at home.

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Shanynrose

Audience rudeness is one of my "hot buttons." So here goes my vent. Not all ballet-related, but enough to still be topical.

 

DD's older sister just wrapped up eighth grade. DD absolutely *hated* going to her sister's assemblies - talent show, vocal concerts, school play, Honor Society induction, even commencement! - because the *parents* were so incredibly RUDE! Talking - not whispering, but speaking aloud - during speeches and performances, little kids running loose and/or screaming, camcorder-toting parents obstructing the view of the platform at commencement - that was the WORST.

The kids did do a bit of screaming - "Go Kiko!!!" - but at least in junior high the performers who were "Go'ed" at considered it a form of encouragement.

 

But I felt especially bad at the awards assemblies and commencement. Bad for the junior high kids who worked so hard only to have their parents, siblings, grandparents, et al treat the public acknowledgment of the kids' accomplishments with such disrespect. As my Grandma says "Everyone just goes yatchity-yatchity-yatch! I can hardly hear what they're saying!"

 

I don't understand why some people find it so difficult to be courteous audience members. It's not brain surgery. Sheesh, it's not even second grade. Sit still. Shut up (Okay, "Bravo!" is okay. "Encore!" for some performances, but I've only ever heard that at the symphony.) If you have a device that beeps or plays music, shut it off. Clap when it's appropriate. If it's really, really good, you can stand up and clap. If you MUST bring an infant or three, for pete's sake take them outside if they start yelling. And three simple words:

DOWN IN FRONT!!!!

 

DD performed in two theater productions earlier this year. One, "The Velveteen Rabbit," was specifically intended for children and she expected the audiences to be a bit unruly because little kids often are. She was pleasantly surprised - the performers kept the littluns thoroughly entertained. People were even polite during intermission! No screaming, no cell phones, no flash pictures - good because she was doing pointe, partnering, and being lifted several times. The other production was "The Tempest," a bit of a challenge with pointe on a multi-level stage. Not one person yelled "W0000t Caliban! Nice diaper, scaly boy!!!" Somehow the show made it through the entire run without that vital contribution. (Until the cast party, heh.)

 

DD is in a prepro ballet program. The Spring Concert is optional. She participated the first year we lived here. Even though I didn't notice obvious cellphone or flash photography problems, it did have the constant stream of squealing small humans running in and out, with their taller counterparts in hot pursuit. I was mortified because two of those smaller humans were related to me. My grandmother thought "The Little Girls" (who belong to my cousin) would enjoy seeing DD's performance. Only problem is, their parents have no concept of manners and so the kids don't either. "The Little Girls" - four and eight then - kept running in and out and so Grandma ditched HER manners and hopped up to chase them down. If one of TLGs took off in the middle of someone's variation, Grandma took off right after "To make sure she didn't run out into the street." We anticipated the free-range youngster problem and had door monitors just in case. Didn't matter. Littluns, not just the ones related to me, wriggled out and ran, and their parents obediently followed. TLGs are older now, but they still have no manners. So when I invite Grandma, it's usually at the last minute to make sure we don't end up with "The Little Girls" along. It's rude and snobbish I'm sure, but I refuse to be even remotely responsible for inviting people who I KNOW will be disrespectful audience members. It's just not fair to the people who pay good money for tickets.

 

DD likes her cousins in small doses, but she's totally behind me on the "don't invite" decision. Because nothing I've ever said, no threat or promise I've ever made, has had any positive effect on their behavior. Sad.

 

DD is a kid who thrives on order. This is why ballet is so important to her. Order, control, AND beauty in the midst of chaos. She does homeschool, because she cannot tolerate a) excessive noise, B) blatant disrespect for authority, and c) profanity. That easily eliminates all of our local junior high schools. She met a girl who attends the closest High School for the Arts (it offers 7th and 8th as well) and found, much to her dismay, that the kids do the screaming thing at performances there too. "GO KELSEY!!!! WOOOOOOO!!!"

:clover::D:wink::green::speechless:

 

Strangely enough, we have NEVER encountered blatant audience disrespect at Nut time. Maybe the odd flash photo, but NOTHING like "recital" or "school assembly" non-manners. My husband and I discussed this phenomenon, and we decided that Nut audiences are better-mannered because more people come from the community at large rather than dancers' families. We decided the community element was most likely the key rather than the ticket price element. Spring concert tickets run about twenty bucks and people are still rude.

 

This is all very sad, isn't it? Shouldn't a performer's family be at least as respectful as a bunch of total strangers? We as dancers' families should be MORE respectful.

 

Earlier on this thread I saw a comparison made between performance non-manners and the atmosphere at a professional sporting event. Besides being a dance family, we are a hockey-loving family. Particularly minor league, where it's OK to be loud, razz the refs and the opposing goalie, chant semi-rude things when our team scores ("One, two, three four...it's all your fault, loser!" and my personal favorite chant which isn't quite so polite :blushing: ) I was fortunate to be invited to sing the National Anthem at a hockey game. The announcer said "Please stand and remove your hats..." and the arena went silent, as was appropriate.

 

But even in that type of environment - when the good-natured razzing threatens to turn into something else, when some drunken loudmouth oversteps the bounds of acceptable behavior (and there are definite boundaries, albeit unwritten,) when someone spends ten minutes yelling into their cellphone so neighboring fans can't hear the announcer, when someone tries to leave or return to their seat while the puck is in play - they are dealt with. By the ushers, (rarely) the earphone security people, or their fellow fans who aren't afraid to say "Will you please wrap it up so I can hear what's going on?" (though not necessarily using those exact words.)

 

For me, the most frustrating part about poor audience manners is the fact that I can't do a darned thing about it beyond my immediate circle. MY kids are well-behaved. If they bring friends, the friends are well-behaved. If the person sitting next to me is being rude, I can politely ask them to quiet down. But they don't have to oblige.

 

My older daughter is looking forward to high school in the fall. She will be involved in the arts - choir, theater - and actually wants to transfer in to the opera program at the High School for the Arts. I'm going into this expecting the worst as far as audience behavior goes, if for no other reason than the audiences will be larger.

 

I joke that my summer goal is to learn how to say "Down in Front!" in at least ten different languages. Public schools want parental involvement to the point that they'll put up with almost anything just to get the parents THERE. On one hand, having an audience encourages the kids. On the other hand, having a disrespectful audience brings them down. No-win.

 

 

I do wonder why ballet school performances don't come with a disclaimer -

"These Are The Rules and Those Who Don't Follow Them Will Be Asked to Leave. Sorry, No Refunds for Bad Behavior." I don't have to wonder that hard; I'm sure it's a money thing.

 

My rant just ran(t) into a wall, heh. It's not good to know that so many audience members are rude, but then again it's good to know that it's not just a matter of a) our neighborhood, or b ) DD's particular ballet school.

 

(And if we DO feel like being loud audience members, there's a local late-night improv show that invites audience participation. We can spend five bucks and hoot and holler to our hearts' content.)

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Mrs. Stahlbaum

At dd's sister's eighth grade promotion, a lengthy, detailed list of behavior standards for the clueless was given at the beginning of the ceremony. Still there were several people who apparently did not notice that the other parents of students were managing to control their enthusiasm, and a few loud cheers were heard (Well, gee, who can blame them when finishing eighth grade is such a major accomplishment?) The vice principal had to stop the ceremony and ask how it could be that 800 eighth grade students could manage to be quiet, but that the adults could not. And of course, we had to hear one more who-hooo before it was all over.... :clover: .

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Sarah Ann

In secondary school, we were taught etiquette as part of our health class. It is sad to me that etiquette isn't even expected to be taught by parents anymore. There are certain ways to act in certain situations. . .it puzzles me that people do not understand this. . .especially adults. :(

 

I listen to heavy music and attend Ozzfest every year. . .and I do act as though I am at a rock concert all day. But you would NEVER see me act like that at a ballet or opera. I learned propper manners when I was a child. . .from my parents. . .the way it should be.

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Taradriver

Every Nut or Spring Ballet our AD's husband makes an announcement about flash photography being "downright dangerous for the dancers" and every year one or two in the audience think it doesn't apply to them. The audience is told we have professional photographers & videographers; still a few flash away.

 

Maybe this season this dance mom with the usually repressed Chuckie gene is gonna push to have the "flashers" are ejected from the theatre. Simply adding a line to our announcement about being ejected if caught using flash photography may work. Has anyone tried this?

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koshka

knock knock

 

Maybe this season this dance mom with the usually repressed Chuckie gene is gonna push to have the "flashers" are ejected from the theatre.

Actually, fear of an enraged parent can be a powerful incentive...

 

Don't know about throwing people out, but you could try a couple of things

 

--Offer to show people how to set their cameras (haha).

 

--Remind them that flash doesn't work from audience distance anyway

 

--Remind audience members to be sure that the flash is turned off and, if not sure, to check before the performance starts (a la reminders about cell phones/pagers)

 

--Have the ushers do flash patrol--it's pretty easy to see where the flashers are. Flashers can either hand over their cameras for the duration of the performance or leave. I just attended a gymnastics meet where they were extremely vigilant about flash, and it was great.

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danceintheblood

knock knock from an under 13 parent

 

What I really don't get is the parent that spends the entire performance with video camera in hand. They don't actually get to see the performance in context at all, as they are watching the entire performance through a view finder so that they can watch it later :)

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julip

knock knock, teacher here... but with experiences to add!

 

I teach at one school that borders on Dinkleish which we're trying desperetly to lift out of that hole and into something, well respectable. Yes, it was one of THOSE recitals, and in the program we have a list of audience rules. It's done in a fun way and talks about cell phones, candy wrappers, photography... it even has a little part that talks about how kids love to learn new things and that going to a dance recital is a great opportunity to teach your child about ettiquite! Most people get it, except for one father who was overheard complaining quite loudly about 'all the rules' and 'how come we expect all this @#$%* from us' and on and on.

 

I also attended another recital in the area that was along the same lines that a friend teaches at. There was a lot of 'woo hoos' and odd points of clapping. My favorite was one group in the audience who would yell 'WORK IT OUT EMILY!!!' before each of Emily's pieces. I understand this for Hip Hop, but for the selections from Giselle? I countered with being the only audience member who clapped for the 32 voyages across the stage (which I got very strange looks for indeed).

 

After that I made a point to tell my students at the other, more seriuos minded school that I teach at, to tell their friends and family about what was appropriate audience behavior. i.e. no work it out Emily's or woo hoos, but applauding is greatly appreciated.

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dance1soccer1

At the risk of being EXTREMELY unpopular - I have to admit that I have relatives who go woo hoo at the final curtain of each show as my child comes up for her bow. I think, when the show is over, and we are seeing the performers for the last time, it's okay to clap really loudly or give a reasonably loud cheer. Sometimes this is the only time that family members see what the child pours her heart, soul, and our money and time into, and they are delighted and thrilled. Clapping just doesn't seem to get that excitement across for them, and I can deal with that. I also have no problem with the end of the year performance, when the younger students give a similar yell for the graduating seniors. It's a big moment for all, and sometimes the younger kids are just overcome. As long as the show is effectively over, and it's one yell, not a string of them, I think it's okay. After all, this is just recital, and not the Lincoln Center!

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