Lucky you, Alex R, to see "Ataxia" in such contrasted theatres that both achieve high standards of audience friendliness - sightlines, leg space and so on.
Jeff's "horses for courses" point is well taken. However, the shape of the auditorium also has a lot to do with it. London's 2200-seater Royal Opera House is an 18th Century horseshoe shape, which means that a lot of seats are a long way from the stage and I often feel remote from the dancers there. The 2700 Coliseum, built around 100 years ago, is less of a problem in this respect.
Pacific Northwest Ballet really appreciated the design of Sadler's Wells, because, although it is a 1500-seater, they found it easy to reach out to the audience. The Lowry at Salford is 1800 seats, but it is wide rather than deep and the majority of people feel in touch with the dancers. I love performances in Tallinn's 800-seater Opera House, but the relatively small size of the stage drives dancers and choreographers nuts.
On balance, though, some of the most memorable performances I have seen have been with small ensembles in 100-300 seater theatres. The intensity generated in a small space can produce an extraordinary atmosphere.
<small>[ 02 March 2005, 07:47 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>