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Many other people were commenting about the height and weight of the audience not me.My problem is with snobby people who try to make ballet elitest when it really isnt and spoil other people's enjoyment by having an extremely narrow window of appropriate behavoiur.We need younger audiences or there will be no more ballet so stop being so snobby.How is the average person supposed to know whether to hum or sing during Land of Hope and Glory?As long as music reaches new ears that's all that matters.Sounds like you think the plebs should just stay at home and watch on the tv.Outrageous snobbiness!!!

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I am appalled at some if the opinions expressed in this discussion.It is no wonder people do not support ballet and that the audience at most ballets consists predominantly of middle-aged overweight haughty women.My son is performing with BRB in Swan Lake at the Lowry this week and I have to attend alone because not one other member of his family wants to be subjected to the general air of superiority that these so-called supporters of ballet have.Ballet should be for everyone.Peoplewill learn the etiquette by attending not by being scared away.

 

Who said that this discussion of audience misbehavior is limited to the ballet?

 

I recently went to a pre-school graduation and was appalled at the behavior of some of the parents/family in the audience; each trying to out-do the screaming for their child.

 

Was I (well past middle age, definitiely NOT overweight, hopefully not too haughty, with a definite lack of any reason for superiority) the only one complaining?

 

No - those parents who were well behaved were complaining. They were young, physically fit (for the most part), only scored a 7 on the haughty scale, but aced the "superiority" in behavior test.

 

Well behaved children learn from well behaved adults. (in my humble not over weighted inferior opinion)

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Hi Blondie, I plead guilty to making comments about tall people. Height really is more of an issue with obstructing the view than ... shall we say... width. But it was A JOKE. I'm sorry you missed that. I also noticed that someone mentioned a "large transatlantic person", and I let that one pass though I shouldn't have, being a transatlantic person myself. I don't think any of us here on balletcoforum are "snobby people who try to make ballet elitist" and we are all, I am sure, as much against that as you are, and as much in favour of younger audiences. But when I was younger than I am now (I plead guilty to "Middle-aged female" as well) I knew how to behave respectfully in a theatre. And anyway, it's not just young people who arrive late, munch food, etc. etc. I'm sorry you have this negative view of the people who have made comments on this thread; I for one try to be as unsnobby as possible about ballet

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Many other people were commenting about the height and weight of the audience not me.My problem is with snobby people who try to make ballet elitest when it really isnt and spoil other people's enjoyment by having an extremely narrow window of appropriate behavoiur.We need younger audiences or there will be no more ballet so stop being so snobby.How is the average person supposed to know whether to hum or sing during Land of Hope and Glory?As long as music reaches new ears that's all that matters.Sounds like you think the plebs should just stay at home and watch on the tv.Outrageous snobbiness!!!

 

I will try to ignore your somewhat rude comments about "snobby people" and "snobbiness" Blondie. I have been taking my daughter to ballet and to the theatre since she was a toddler. She sat, utterly enchanted, without making a sound during the performances. I would not have let her spoil the performance for the other audience members. There is nothing wrong with behaving in a considerate manner to your fellow audience members and teaching children to do the same.

 

With regards to the Proms, it's over 100 years of tradition which dictates that the Prommers hum the first chorus of "Land of Hope and Glory", not me.

 

 

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Many other people were commenting about the height and weight of the audience not me.My problem is with snobby people who try to make ballet elitest when it really isnt and spoil other people's enjoyment by having an extremely narrow window of appropriate behavoiur.We need younger audiences or there will be no more ballet so stop being so snobby.How is the average person supposed to know whether to hum or sing during Land of Hope and Glory?As long as music reaches new ears that's all that matters.Sounds like you think the plebs should just stay at home and watch on the tv.Outrageous snobbiness!!!

 

What is the point of being well behaved? Why do we have norms of behavior? To control other people? To keep the great unwashed at bay?

 

No. It's so everyone will have an enjoyable time. If people are doing things like talking, snoring, chumping on food, talking on phones, etc., - it takes away from being able to concentrate on what is happening on stage. it is disrespectful to the performers who have worked so hard and so long. - as well as other people who paid to enjoy the performance.

 

There are rules of the road so everyone can get safely to their destination. There are norms of behavior so that everyone can hear, see, enjoy a performance. Respect for both one's audience neighbors as well as the performers.

 

If you have ever been on a stage as a performer and looked out at an audience which is more interested in talking, eating, running about - or screaming for one performer over another - it's not a pleasant experience.

 

There is nothing elitiest about polite respectful behavior. But, then, maybe I've lived too long. (I suspect the latter is true.)

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I didn't comment on Blondie's comments because I simply felt astounded at the comments. Ignoring the extreme rudeness over size, age and snobbyness what was said seemed so strange.

 

As many of you know my son is a dancer and I suspect attended the same school as Blondie's if he is performing with BRB. Hence I have now been to ballets/theatres in many locations. Anyone who has been to Sadlers Wells will have seen audiences of a variety of ages and backgrounds. All enjoying themselves and largely well and courteously, behaved. Those that insist on eating, texting etc are in my view, rude, whatever their age. It is unacceptable behaviour in any theatre. (Don't like it at thecinema either:-))

 

At audiences aimed at very young children there may be more noise but that is to be expected. Childrens joy at Nutcracker is a wonder to see and I would not quash that but I would teach, even young children, the accepted courteous behaviour.That is how they learn. If not age 16, 18 20 etc they sit through performances chatting, eating etc.

 

As Blondie must know if her son is hoping to make a career the work any artist on stage has put in is collossal and they deserve an attentive audience. Its just respect.

 

Haughty middle aged women? By God what a steryotype. Unlike some the standard of dress doesn't bother me. Whether I'm beside someone in jeans or a DJ I couldn't care as long as they give due respect to what they are watching.

 

I now watch and have watched a lot in Europe and the behaviour of the audiences for the companies I have seen in Vienna and Munich has been exemplary. Even young children. People do dress more formally, it is an occassion but the only issue I have ever had was not behaviour but an extremely high hairdo.

 

As to making ballet elitist well I'm sorry but every single company BRB included is desperately trying to do precisely the opposite. Otherwise they will not survive. Most ballet audiences welcome "new" people and the elitist is retreating. Sure they exist, in all walks of life. but frankly I get a bit tired of this endless claim. Yes theatre is expensive. Football is expensive ( I'm an Arsenal season ticket holder). Leisure is expensive but there are options. As is pointed out alot there are cheaper seats available. Many student tickets etc. Go through the artists in any company and you'll see they are from all backgrounds.

 

Ok I'm going to stop as actually I realise the comments did rile me. I don't understand where they came from as this forum is the least snobby I can imagine.

 

Blondie I do hope you enjoy BRB. When I saw my son dance with them at Sadlers Wells I was totally overwhelmed that my son, and many others from Elmhurst, were up there, on stage as real proper ballet dancers. That feeling as never left me whenever I see him dance.

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As Oscar Wilde might have said, there is only one thing worse than a snob, and that is an inverted snob. Blondie, I am offended by your attitude, not only your astonishing rudeness but your incredibly blinkered view. It is indeed sad that you have to go alone, because not one member of your family can overcome their own prejudice to support your son. Is it really this, or do they just not want to go?Of course there are people out there who consider themselves more informed, intellectual and superior, you will find that in every walk of life. Just as there are people with no idea how to behave in public or show respect to the performers.You just have to get over it. I won't say more about your comments as others have already done so. Just try and lighten up, enjoy your son's performance and let him enjoy it, with luck your family may reconsider.Ballet is for everyone.

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The advent of mobile phones and, more recently, smart phones has led to a problem that did not exist 40 years ago. I think that the custom of eating and drinking in cinemas has begun to creep into theatres and concert halls in the last few years and in some venues it is not discouraged, if not actively encouraged. When I was at Sadler's Wells this week I noticed, with some dismay, that people were bringing drinks into the auditorium. I think that this is now permitted at the RAH as well. I personally do not want red wine spilt on me as people are sidling past me on their way to their seats. I'm actually quite surprised that these venues allow it as it is difficult to clean up spilt drinks effectively. Before long these venues are going to become grubby and smelly like many cinemas.

 

My children's school has a beautiful new theatre and food and drink are not permitted in the auditorium. When my daughter's ballet school put on a production there I had to stop quite a few people taking food and drink into the auditorium even though an announcement about this had previously been made.

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I have to have a bottle of water with me to take my meds, so I can understand the water issue. I've never felt the need for an alcoholic drink during a performance though. ;-)

 

Sweets is a tricky one - my dd loves a sweet or two at the theatre, but I don't let her rustle unless it's during applause or the interval!

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well i am definitely not a snob nor middle aged and not overweight.

 

When i wrote my first post i meant that nearly all of the things happen in one performance!After years of this i have the right to be a bit upset.

All this is about is being aware and having manners and respect for others.This has nothing to do with what type of people are attending.

.

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How is the average person supposed to know whether to hum or sing during Land of Hope and Glory?

 

It's quite easy, as is the case with most of the "expected norms" of good behaviour. Look around and see what everyone else is doing. If the vast majority of people are not chatting to their neighbour or texting on their phone, then don't do it. To go back to LoH&G, as the choir/chorus is not singing during the first time through the trio, neither should the audience.

 

I was quite angered by your postings, but that's because I'm not middle-aged (according to the new definition in the press recently) nor female but I'll admit to being overweight. I'll also admit that the first time I went to the ballet at the ROH I was wearing shorts & a t-shirt, something I have repeated now and again. I find it odd that you consider it elitist to expect good behaviour at the ballet. Is it elitist to go the cinema and expect to be able to hear the film? Is it elitist to sit in the family stand at a football match and expect those around you not to curse?

 

IMHO, it's a shame that some people play the "elitism" card where it's not appropriate. This is (again, IMHO) one of those situations.

 

L

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It would make life easier for the "Last Night" audiences if the programme were to detail some of the traditions, or if the conductor could announce some points of etiquette, as the Prommers do have many and varied (and some rather odd) traditions!

 

However, you only have to have watched it on tv a few times to pick these things up. Fortunately, my parents always watched every year without fail, and would point out the "Prom etiquette" to me. We now watch every year and I explain it all to my daughter.

 

But failing that, if I am ever unsure of when and where to applaud or sing - I just watch other people to see what they're doing, even if it means I'm a few seconds behind. :-)

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When you go to the ballet it can be difficult to know when to applaud (apart from at the end of the performance, of course). Some ballerinas in particular seem to expect applause at the end of their solos, and I understand that applause throughout the performance is the norm in certain countries. Perhaps those people on the forum who have been watching ballet for a long time can tell me whether there is now more frequent applause at performances than there used to be. I don't object to the heartfelt, spontaneous applause which you occasionally get at performances though.

 

To be fair to Blondie, if you read back through the comments on this thread and those on related threads the rather indignant tone of some of them (don't lean forward anyone!) does come across as a little bit haughty / "outraged of Tunbridge Wells" (no offence meant). Some of the comments were possibly intended to be light-hearted but did not come across that way. I have to say though, Blondie, that if your son wants to pursue a career in ballet he is going to need the support of the whole of his family and that support is most obviously shown by coming to watch him perform. The attitude of your family signals strong disapproval of his choice of career and it is sad to read that your family puts their own feelings (and prejudices) ahead of your son's needs. I'm frankly surprised that they are not thrilled to have the opportunity to watch your son perform in a professional production by a top-class ballet company. Most families would be bursting with pride and would move heaven and earth to be at the performance.

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Aileen I live in Tunbridge Wells.lol

 

Re the applause. I remember being stunned when I saw the Bolshoi years ago just how often they expected applause. It really ruined the performance. Personally I think they drag the applause at the end out too. Not just the Bolshoi but many.

 

I'm guilty of moving my head. I think that is unavoidable.

 

The support of our wider family for my son has been mixed. My husbands family make great efforts to see him but sadly, my own don't. However my husband, myself and our other children have given him huge support. My husbands family though are more the theatre background. My father in law led the Hallé for 30 years and my sisiter in law danced for LCD.

 

I don't really think the thread reads as haughty but if others feel that it is a shame. However I stand my my dislike of the elitist card being played. It is a stereotype that I really do think is fading.

 

But I'm not "Disgusted" really:-)

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Well I will be sitting in the front row of the circle watching BRB's Swan Lake at the Lowry on Saturday night and I wish your son well Blondie. I am indeed a middle aged woman who could probably do with shedding a stone or two, but I'll have my definitely not overweight teenage daughter sitting next to me and I can assure you that she will be just as irritated as me if bad audience behaviour spoils her enjoyment of the performance. It's nothing to do with age, or size, it's just plain manners. It costs a fair bit of money to visit the theatre, be it for a ballet or anything else and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to actually be able to see and hear the performance that you've paid to experience. I don't expect the theatre to be as quiet as crypt - some audience noise is unavoidable - but if someone is chatting, texting or crunching crisps then I think I'm entitled to feel somewhat aggrieved.

Yes, if you go to a more child orientated performance you should expect more noise and young people do need to learn how to behave in social circumstances but there is, in my humble opinion, a time and a place for that learning to occur. Which is why my DD's first ballet trip on her 5th birthday was a matinee performance of Nutcracker followed by tea at a pizza restaurant rather than a dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant before an evening performance of Manon!

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Julie, as I was typing my last post I had a feeling that someone was from Tunbridge Wells!

 

There is a difference between not making a huge effort to watch a family member perform - because of distance, family responsibilities, inconvenience or cost (where perhaps an overnight stay is necessary) - and refusing to go to a performance because of the perceived attitude of other audience members. I suspect that Blondie's family don't like ballet anyway and wouldn't want to go and see it even if they weren't concerned about the rest of the audience. The position which they have taken is so extreme that it makes me wonder whether they don't approve of their (male) relative doing ballet. Perhaps they are embarassed by it.

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I don't thimk that objecting to bad manners is snobbish wherever you are, be it cinema, theme park, theatre, football match etc. If people have paid to see any event they have the right to be able to enjoy it. I have to wear hearing aids which means that the sound of sweet packets, crisps etc is magnified horrendously if eaten behind me and can make me jumpy.

 

I am very curious as to what ballet Blondies family have seen if they think only middle aged haughty women go!! Obviously not much. which is sad.. I have been to performances where its obvious that some people have dressed to the nines as it were (nothing wrong in that) and others have, like me,been very comfortable in jeans (although mine don't fit anymore!!) . Anything goes as far as I'm concened. I am there to watch a performance not members of the audience.

 

My son has described how awful it is dancing for disinterested people so he scans the audience for at least one audience member who is obviously engaged- in one case it was a group of enthusiastic nuns!

 

Incidently my own family (incuding my mum!) never made the effort to see me perform professionally but this was simply because it didn't occur to them as they just weren't that enamoured with dance. They have been more supportive of my son though. I know of several people who will now make the effort to see more ballet thanks to seeing my son's company but I can honestly say that the reason that they didn't go before was not through any preconception about the people they 'd be sitting among.

 

And if I think something is good, I will cheer- much to the horror of my sister who said thet you couldn't do so at a Ballet! Says who? Although obviously one does have to pick the right moment....

 

Hope you enjoy watching your son Blondie, and good luck with trying to get more family support- at least your son does have you, the most important family member there!

Edited by hfbrew
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I think we shouldn't be speculating too much about the reasons that Blondie's family do or don't go to the ballet. That's for her to tell, or not.

 

Audience behaviour excites strong feelings and numerous anecdotes, funny and infuriated - it's a subject that never dies. The Guardian had an amusing recent article after Bianca Jagger's notorious(?) use of a camera with flash during Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach. I guess if you go back a couple of hundred years audience goings on would have been very different. When did you last see rotten fruit thrown?

 

Incidentally I just came across this nice piece from the Ballet Bag about going to the ballet at Covent Garden which discussed the conventions of audience behaviour in a non-patronising way.

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It's not just limited to audience behaviour John. :-) You should read the threads on a certain forum for people who cruise - the behaviour of other cruisers is often discussed and there are certain "offences" which incite some extreme reactions!

 

The dress-code issue fascinates me - I dress reasonably smartly to go to the theatre or ballet (particularly to the ROH) but it wouldn't occur to me to be annoyed by someone dressed differently.

 

I suspect that inconsiderate behaviour has bothered people ever since the advent of theatre-going. :-)

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OMG when I started reading spannerandpony's last post, I had a quite different meaning of "cruise" in mind (nothing to do with ships!) :unsure:

thought you were being awfully frank, s&p! Now I've got my mind out of the gutter... :)

Well I think you just managed to single handedly dispell the myth that this forum is full of snobby, haughty people toursenlair - well done!

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Many years ago, I was "tutted" at ROH because I had jeans on and was sitting in the stalls. I had travelled down from Liverpool for a matinee when the weather was atrocious and I was not sure I could get home. I was dressed appropriately for the weather (but not too shabbily) and it was a matinee (where dress wasn't usually quite so formal). It nearly put me off ever sitting in the stalls again - but it didn't!

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I think we shouldn't be speculating too much about the reasons that Blondie's family do or don't go to the ballet.

 

Quite. We have no idea about the circumstances, and making assumptions won't help the situation.

 

Audience behaviour excites strong feelings and numerous anecdotes, funny and infuriated - it's a subject that never dies. The Guardian had an amusing recent article after Bianca Jagger's notorious(?) use of a camera with flash during Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach.

 

I suspect Einstein would be a bit of an exception: I thought the audience were intended to wander in and out, bring food and drink in and so on, so perhaps flash photography is less unacceptable in that case?

 

I suspect that inconsiderate behaviour has bothered people ever since the advent of theatre-going. :-)

 

I don't know about the advent, but it's certainly a major issue for a lot of people. I've mentioned this thread before: it's now up to 140 pages! http://www.whatsonstage.com/board/index.php?/topic/22065-bad-behaviour-at-a-show/

 

OMG when I started reading spannerandpony's last post, I had a quite different meaning of "cruise" in mind (nothing to do with ships!) :unsure:

thought you were being awfully frank, s&p! Now I've got my mind out of the gutter... :)

 

Katherine, I have to admit, you weren't the only one!

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Many years ago, I was "tutted" at ROH because I had jeans on and was sitting in the stalls. I had travelled down from Liverpool for a matinee when the weather was atrocious and I was not sure I could get home. I was dressed appropriately for the weather (but not too shabbily) and it was a matinee (where dress wasn't usually quite so formal). It nearly put me off ever sitting in the stalls again - but it didn't!

 

That's so rude Janet, what business is it of another audience member what someone wears? A few years ago we had a weekend in London to see The Snow Queen at the Coli on the Friday night, and a matinee of La Boheme at the ROH the next day. It was a terrible weekend weather-wise; bitterly cold with heavy snow, so we were all dressed in boots and many layers. Fortunately, so were most other people so we didn't get any funny looks! :-)

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bitterly cold with heavy snow, so we were all dressed in boots and many layers. Fortunately, so were most other people so we didn't get any funny looks! :-)

Good heavens, if we Torontonians got funny looks for boots and layers during ballet season, the theatre would be empty!

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I am appalled at some if the opinions expressed in this discussion.It is no wonder people do not support ballet and that the audience at most ballets consists predominantly of middle-aged overweight haughty women.My son is performing with BRB in Swan Lake at the Lowry this week and I have to attend alone because not one other member of his family wants to be subjected to the general air of superiority that these so-called supporters of ballet have.Ballet should be for everyone.Peoplewill learn the etiquette by attending not by being scared away.

 

I think that Blondie made it perfectly clear why her son's family are not attending. I cannot tell you how sorry I am for that poor boy.

 

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