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Jan McNulty

Do you go to the Stage Door?

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Hello Danya and welcome to the Forum!  What a fantastic anecdote.  I do hope you will continue to post.

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Oooh I nearly always go to the stage door - I love it.  I often have children with me and they adore meeting the dancers.

One evening I had my 6 yr old nephew with me for a performance of Swan Lake at ROH - Marianela Nunez was dancing. We had to wait about 40 mins for her to come out and it was quite late. When she arrived, my nephew crossly stepped forward, put his hands on his hips and retorted, "What took you so long?" There was a collective gasp from the other fans at the stage door, but she laughed her head off, crouched down to him, and apologised profusely. She then posed for photos and signed programmes and everyone thought she was wonderful.

:D  :D

Ah bless - I was there when that happened and often recount that story to friends it was hilarious because your nephew only said what everyone else was thinking!!!  It was such a typical "innocent child" comment, so sweet!  

Edited by Don Q Fan
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Ah bless - I was there when that happened and often recount that story to friends it was hilarious because your nephew only said what everyone else was thinking!!!  It was such a typical "innocent child" comment, so sweet!  

 

How funny that you were there! Perhaps it was a good job it was Marianela as she is so lovely.

I do think that the dancers like to see people at the stage door - as has been said above - they can always go out another way if they want. I think it would be awful if there was no-one there.

Posing for selfies with dancers also seems to be totally acceptable nowadays - and is a much better keepsake than an autograph IMO.

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I had my first experience standing outside the ROH stage door after Manon on the 5th October, not something I usually do as I haven't the time but my sister and I were fortunate to of planned so well and so we waited. It was very exciting to see the RB stars esp Vadim M, Gary Avis and Melissa Hamilton, we did hang on hoping Sarah Lamb would appear but by then my legs were aching from all that standing and we had to make our way back to Victoria Coach Station. Rhey did look like glamazons with their very high heels! Also so very tall.

 

A nice memory and a signed programme to keep.

Edited by WoodlandGladeFairy
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I'll be seeing Tamara Rojo dance for the first time* in a couple of weeks at Bristol Hippodrome. Needless to say I'm quite excited. As I suspect she's possibly not a million years away from retiring, and I might not have the chance too often in the future, I was thinking I'd go to the stage door afterwards to say a quick hello. :) As she has a senior management role as well, though, does that mean I'm less likely to catch her at the door? Or might she take much longer, schmoozing, letting everyone know how marvellous they were (dahhhling!), berating an underling, etc.?

 

 

 

* She's probably danced before, I'd imagine, but I'll be seeing it for the first time if you see what I mean.

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Danyajeffrey said above: "I do think that the dancers like to see people at the stage door - as has been said above - they can always go out another way if they want."

 

 

 

And some do....I haven't 'stage door johnnied' for a few years now as I have to get home at night for work the next day, but sometimes I used to wait around. I remember that Johan Kobborg almost always used to go out the other way, and leave Alina to face the waiting throng! She always seemed happy to do so. I guess some dancers are just exhausted after a show and, like me now, just want to dash straight home! It is a shame for the waiting fans, but they are human too, and going through the 'fan crush', taking photos, signing autographs, having a chat, can often add at least half an hour onto their departure time. Having said this, most dancers I have spoken to are very happy to go out and thank their fans; after all, without them, where would they be?

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I'll be seeing Tamara Rojo dance for the first time* in a couple of weeks at Bristol Hippodrome. Needless to say I'm quite excited. As I suspect she's possibly not a million years away from retiring, and I might not have the chance too often in the future, I was thinking I'd go to the stage door afterwards to say a quick hello. :) As she has a senior management role as well, though, does that mean I'm less likely to catch her at the door? Or might she take much longer, schmoozing, letting everyone know how marvellous they were (dahhhling!), berating an underling, etc.?

 

 

 

* She's probably danced before, I'd imagine, but I'll be seeing it for the first time if you see what I mean.

I think she will be out just like any other dancer if she's just done a full show I'd say she would not want to hang around doing admin or schmoozing.  I've met her once at ROH and don't think she takes forever unlike some.  She seems quite a down to earth person rather than a diva like Zakharova.  I hope you get to meet her!

Edited by Don Q Fan
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Such a joy to have gone and met all the dancers (Yanowsky! Golding! Acosta! Avis!), and it was truly gratifying to finally let Zenaida know in person what an amazing dancer she is (I somehow feel the need to make up for her years as an under appreciated principal). Gosh she is such a warm and earnest lady. I've seen so many dancers who are in tears after a show over the slightest mishap, so It's great she took all of it in stride and could laugh about it after. Of course, the night's dancing was so magical in the end that nothing else really mattered anyway!

 

They are all indeed so nice, obligingly taking photos, though perhaps I was overly imposing ;) and I also met nice people! :)

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 I remember that Johan Kobborg almost always used to go out the other way, and leave Alina to face the waiting throng!

 

Noooo, I think you remember wrong, Sim. :-) In the rare occasions when they were choosing the other door (always letting people know about that) they usually did it together. Of course there are exceptions...

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A nice touch last night with fans singing "Happy Birthday" to Vadim Muntagirov as he came out laden with presents and receiving more.

 

However, when quite a lot of people are waiting, the question arises (as it did last night) as to how much of a dancer's time any one fan should take with comments, questions and photo requests. Experience suggests that  one short 'go' is appropriate and anything more is both an imposition on the dancer and a discourtesy to fellow fans.

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My 16 year old DC has started collecting ballet autographs from times past and present. Cheeky request: if any of you lovely ballet.co-ers have duplicate autographs they are willing to pass on that would be so fabulous as we can't often get to ROH etc. We met an old lady the other day who gave us Adeline Genee's autograph (pencil, written for this old lady I think when said lady must have been tiny). But I don't think there are any more where this came from!

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I waited an age to see Svetlana Zhakarova exit the ROH when the Bolshoi were last in town. There was quite a crowd, and we thought she would never come, but when she appeared it was well worth it. I have never seen someone look so like a superstar ballerina offstage as she did! She was wearing the most amazing couture coat, very tight on the waist with a big flowing skirt cut into points at the bottom. Gorgeous!

 

Although I don't care if they are wearing grungy old tracksuits!

 

And last summer I finally managed to miss the last coach home, which I have nearly done by a whisker so many times! Cost me a fortune!

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I've been twice to see the Bolshoi -- both last visits to London -- and also the Mariinsky -- but was too shy to go the stage door!

 

I will melt into a puddle if i see Svetlana as I am in hopeless love with her!! Serious note, what is the etiquette of such meetings? Am i allowed to bring flowers or a gift plus ask for a selfie?

 

I have never seen her perform as last time, both times, the show she was booked for, she was injured and there was a last minute replacement :(

 

Where is the stage door? By door 1 or 2 as i've read two different answers on here! 

I usually  get stall seats which are the most costly -- which other seats are the best for viewing other than stalls?

 

Thanks and hi to everyone as this is my first post :)

 

 

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Welcome to the forum sybarite2015@ !!

 

I often go to the Stage Door - it is on Floral Street.  If it is a big Bolshoi star then there is usually a healthy sized crowd but everyone gets an autograph that wants one in my experience.  Yes it is Ok for selfies - most people just ask the dancer and they usually oblige and it is fine to bring a gift/flowers as well.  I have to admit I do get a bit annoyed if a fan occupies a dancer for a long time because everyone has been waiting a long time as well and wants to go home - some people go on and on and on!!  In my experience Zakharova waited until the latest moment to appear - the security guard had called the House closing at midnight over the tannoy and she tipped up at 11.55pm nearly 2 hours after the show so quite exhausting waiting for her!!!  Most of the other Bolshoi dancers are much quicker maybe max an hour.  I would say the Bolshoi dancers are more friendly than Mariinsky as well. My favourites are Alexandrova, Lantratov, Merkuriev, Shipulina.  If you are too shy you can happily come along with me if I am there at the same performance just send me PM, it's usually a friendly bunch:-)  I haven't got any tickets yet, still waiting for booking to open and hopefully some casting as I can't go to so many perfs this year. 

Seats well anything facing the stage straight on is ok for me I don't like side seats do much as I get a cricked neck looking at the stage.  Grand Tier is nice if you can afford it, Balcony and Lower rows of the Amphi are fine too, but bear in mind none of the tiers are close to the stage if you sit facing straight on to the stage.

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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

 

Seating preferences vary according to the individual, of course. Grand Tier is *very* nice, but rather far away. Balcony is like GT, but higher. Stalls circle can be good as long as you don't go too far to the sides, when you start getting a restricted view.

 

I think we have a ROH seating thread somewhere, but don't have time to look for it at present, I'm afraid.

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Hello Don Q and Allison! Thanks for your replies.

Well, I might take you up on that offer about the stalls....to see Zakharova! Her, Osipova, Lopatkina are my faves but Somova, Obraztsova and Polina Semionova I also adore....  tbh all the Bolshoi and Mariinsky dancers are amazing! (I know Semionova isn't from either...) And last time I saw Ivan Vasiliev on stage in ROH I was blown away....my immediate thought was he would be ideal to play the lead role in any movie biopic of Nureyev!

 

--

I try to get stall seats and don't mind paying extra as I thought being closest to the stage is always better...i think last time i was in row 2 and 3 respectively for most shows i went to. But I've always wanted to try the more areal view of a Grand Tier too as i read you get to see more of a birds-eye image of the entire corps whereas sitting so close i could only see the the front ...

 

Waiting 2 hours plus after a show to see a dancer? Well for Svetlana I would! Thanks to everyone for answering. (BTW how does one get to sit in those boxes?)

I've considered becoming a Friend+ of the ROH but since I live in Europe and not in the UK i;m not sure if it is worth it as i don't get to come to the ROH as much as i'd like...

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I have a picture of myself and Alina Somova, but I try not to look at it! Never get photographed with one of the world's most lovely ballerinas!

 

The nicest stage door for me was at the ENB, when Alina Cojocaru came out still dressed as Odile, pointe shoes and all. Can you imagine the excitement of the children who were able to get photos with her?! She was so lovely.

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...(BTW how does one get to sit in those boxes?)...

They are for sale on the normal Royal Opera House booking website, but it makes you buy the whole box, not just a single seat.

E.G. https://www.roh.org.uk/events/29126/tickets then select an area and click on a box.

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They are for sale on the normal Royal Opera House booking website, but it makes you buy the whole box, not just a single seat.

E.G. https://www.roh.org.uk/events/29126/tickets then select an area and click on a box

 

The view from them is poor. The closer you are to the stage the less of it you can see.

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Well sometimes you can get an individual seat in a box .......so not always sold as a whole box.

 

However beware!!

 

I did this once ....I was the 4th seat in a box...but the other three were altogether and obviously celebrating a birthday or something and definitely resented my presence even though they would have been told that there was a chance someone else might be in the box.

The view wasn't brill either as I felt I had to sort of sit not only behind them but back a bit as I felt awkward .....so I'd never do that again in a hurry!! I did try smiling and looking friendly etc but it didn't work on them.

It would have been okay if the box had been sold as 4 separate individual seats which I'm sure happens sometimes but if you are just the odd seat I'd avoid. You could always ask when buying the ticket how the box has been sold.

Some are too close to the stage anyway so a bit of a side view but others would be okay. Central ish stalls Circle are nice seats.....too expensive for me these days but I used to like sitting there ......especially if you can get an A row. Otherwise it's Balcony or first seven rows of the Amphi .....I won't sit further back than row G .....for me.

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So since tomorrow is the performance of Zakharova for Swan Lake...anyone else want to join me in meeting her at the stage door? :)

I hope I can get the courage to do it!! 

 

Where is the stage door again and is it ok to ask one of the ROH staff to show you where it is if you can't find it?

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So since tomorrow is the performance of Zakharova for Swan Lake...anyone else want to join me in meeting her at the stage door? :)

I hope I can get the courage to do it!!

 

Where is the stage door again and is it ok to ask one of the ROH staff to show you where it is if you can't find it?

Might be worth taking a warm jumper and comfy shoes, as the wait can be quite long (I was waiting for 2 hours last night..... Sooooo worth it!! :D ) hope you enjoy the show x

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I don’t think people realise how important contact at the Stage Door can be for dancers, especially those at the start of their careers. I remember how excited my friend Karen Paisey was (one of the youngest dancers to be promoted to Principal by the Royal Ballet in the 1980s) the first time she was allowed to sit in the Stage Doorman’s Lodge at Covent Garden’s old stage door to sign autographs.  (I believe it may have been after one of her first Auroras.) I think the audience would be amazed at how difficult it is to gauge the volume or intensity of applause from the audience when you are onstage and dancers have often been surprised when I have told them they received lots of applause for a solo etc. A dancer’s life is one of constant correction, from themselves and from the artistic staff, and compliments are a rare commodity so it can be very confidence-boosting and greatly appreciated when members of the audience make the effort to wait at the stage door to congratulate them or ask for autographs or photographs and I have never known a dancer decline these requests.  Of course, you don’t want to engage them in too long a conversation as they usually have to take public transport home like the rest of us or if it is a matinee they may want to get to the shops while they can! As Capybara has already mentioned, some dancers such as Klimentova and Glurdjize will come in costume to the Stage Door at the Coliseum when they have guests or have been told that fans are there to see them (and I do remember one occasion when Karen Paisey and Mark Silver came to the Stage Door at Covent Garden in costume after a ‘Nutcracker’ performance to sign autographs) but usually one can expect to wait at least half an hour for Principals to appear (the first out are the orchestra members, usually followed by the male dancers who have less to change out of and less make-up to remove!) as, after notes from the Artistic Staff they usually like to shower and often wash their hair, depending on the amount of hairspray that has had to be used! If, while waiting for the Principals, you recognise some of the other dancers whose performances you have enjoyed, please don’t hesitate to tell them as you can really make their day, especially if they have had no feedback from anyone else. It also helps if you tell the orchestra members how much you have enjoyed their playing!

And it may surprise you who you might meet at the Stage Door!  When I first arrived in London as a student in 1977, I had to collect some photos from the Stage Door area at Covent Garden mid afternoon.  This was the old one which hardly had room for two people to pass each other in front of the Stage Doorman’s Lodge. To my amazement, I could see Margot Fonteyn on the other side of the door, chatting happily to the Stage Doorman!  As the door opened inwards, I didn’t want to touch it for fear of hitting her so I just stood there on the outside.  She then noticed me and, with her dazzling smile, held the door open for me and said “Would you like to come in?”.   So there I was, having the door held open for me by Dame Margot!!! I was so starstruck that all I could say was “thank you very much” and I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask for her autograph at that time (luckily I did get it some time later).

So, if you have the time following a performance, don’t be shy about waiting at the Stage Door and you too may meet a living legend!

 

As this thread has made an appearance again, I don't think it is out of order to quote this very eloquent contribution from a dance professional (post 51), when I read it initially I really reassessed my attitude to the stage door.  In view of some of the sarcastic comments elsewhere, I'd like others to read it too.  I very much hope Irmgard doesn't mind me doing so.

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As this thread has made an appearance again, I don't think it is out of order to quote this very eloquent contribution from a dance professional (post 51), when I read it initially I really reassessed my attitude to the stage door.  In view of some of the sarcastic comments elsewhere, I'd like others to read it too.  I very much hope Irmgard doesn't mind me doing so.

 

Great post. Although I don't generally "do stage doors," I have a similar story though musical rather than ballet that I will recount for what it's worth.

 

I had just seen Solti conducting his Chicago Symphony in Mahler 9 at the Kennedy Center in Washington. DC some years ago. Solti was then, and remains, one of my musical heroes.  Anyway, the Stage Door person was actually an acquaintance of mine at the time so the girlfriend and I thought we'd stop by and say hello to him after leaving the concert hall.

 

As we stood there chatting to him (and we really had no intention other than that) one of Sir Georg's entourage came out into the foyer and, assuming we were there in the hope of seeing Solti (which hadn't even occurred to us) asked us if we'd like to meet the maestro? Do pigs fly? Obviously, we replied "yes."

 

We were promptly taken into his (large) dressing where he was seated on a couch, next to a grand piano. He invited us to sit down beside him, tea was served, and he proceeded to interrogate us with regard to our thoughts on the performance, taking interest in our replies. To make various points, he'd go to the piano to underline his explanations of how or why something was interpreted this way or that. We must have been with him for half an hour and we left with his baton as well as autographs. Sadly, those were the days before selfies.

 

It was a once in a lifetime experience I never have and never will forget.

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Personally, I'm not sure there's anything "sad" about the days before selfies :)

 

Thanks for that post, godots_arrived - and to MAB for bumping a very worthwhile post which I don't remember spotting first time around.

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