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 Post subject: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:23 am 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Recent classical music blogs have bemoaned the loss of the critical and enthusiastic American classical music audience, and have tried to link this to classical music's decline in this country. Seeing, in California at least, the number of standing ovations given uncritically to many dance performances, I don't think this problem only affects our classical music friends. What do you think? And have you ever expressed your displeasure at a performer when they come out?

Here's an article to get you started:

Quote:
Are We Just Too Nice In America?
Drew McManus, Partial Observer

And finally, one day, we’ll reach a point were members of the audience will feel confident enough to express their dissatisfaction of having spent a good sum of cash for a ticket to attend a less than worthy performance by offering up a “boo”.

People will probably be driving hover-cars powered by their own sense of self-esteem by then to see the only live full time orchestra left in America, but at least it will be happening.
more

Here's a blog entry with many links and more comments:

I’ll Clap Between Movements And Boo If I Want To

--Andre

<small>[ 27 February 2005, 10:24 AM: Message edited by: Andre Yew ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 10:32 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
I think the standing ovation has reached crisis proportions in certain communities, most of which share some common traits. Maybe if we can list some of those cities here, we can better define those traits. :)

I'll start:

US cities with standing ovation crisis:
- Los Angeles (major crisis)
- San Jose (major crisis)
- Oakland (sometimes)

US cities that are more critical (and sometimes express disdain like booing):
- New York and environs
- San Francisco and environs, especially Berkeley


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:39 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Standing ovations are almost obligatory for opening night in Toronto. The classics or any premiere will also receive a standing ‘O’ regardless of merit. Yes, ‘the contract’ was accorded a standing ovation. I’ve never heard actual ‘booing’ after an NBoC performance. If I don’t like a ballet, I will either just give polite applause, none at all, or simply leave.

I suspect the guilty parties responsible for the ‘standing ovations’ are the ballet companies themselves. Many in the audience who clap most enthusiastically are dancers and volunteers of the ballet – thus forcing others to feel obligated to do the same. Bottom line: If you didn’t like a ballet, you are unlikely to pay money to see it again. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 12:25 pm 
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Location: Canada
Standing ovations - at least for the ballet - are quite unusual in New York. But then again, it always seems like at least half the audience is trying to leave during the first curtain call.

I'm just back from a weekend in Copenhagen, as an ex-New Yorker attending performances in Denmark (and in Scotland) is always such a pleasure because people actually stay and applaud through several curtain calls.

On Friday night, at the RDB's Hal Lander Gala, there was a minimum of three curtain calls for each ballet, and often more - each requiring the performers to bow to the queen and then to the audience, but no one made for the aisles or the doors until the house lights were on. And to see performers get the honest recognition they deserve is wonderful. I think all too often people think that paying $60 (or £60) for a ticket entitles them to do what they please, and forget that painfully little of that money trickles down to the performers and that applause is part of the 'payment' for dancers. I can imagine that even if you were making millions off a dance career, if you got very little applause, it would quickly be unpleasant and unworthwile.

Don't be cheap on your applause just because you don't like the choreography or the sets or one dancer's performance - dancers are usually out there every performance, trying their hardest and they can only be blamed for their own performance, not bad choreography or other bad performances. I approch applause with the thought that the applause at one performance is thanks for all the hours of rehearsal and class that went it to making that performance possible.

As such I have somewhat mixed feeling about the issue of dancers & patrons leading the applause. I don't like being lead into 'thanks' when I'm not in the mood to thank, but the dancers (and patrons) have every right to applaud as they see fit. And if cheering extra loudly sometimes is a crime, than I'm certainly guilty.

Often the dancers know more about what went into the performance than anyone else - for instance when a performance that looks less than ideal to the rest of us, may be a triumph for a dancer having to dance through an injury or having had to put in many extra rehearsals when others are injured and ill. And they may simply have different tastes than you. Or giving extra applause to their friends - like you saw a member of your family in some production etc.

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 12:27 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
But do you give standing ovations for mediocre performances, i.e. amateurish choreography, flashy lighting, gaudy costumes and dancers that look like adult students? In LA and San Jose, they do.

<small>[ 27 February 2005, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 1:35 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I didn’t boo ‘the contract,’ so I’ll boo it now! B :p :p :p :p !

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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 6:44 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Another question comes to mind: for the performers out there, which is worse to hear: silence or tepid applause, or booing? I've heard some people say that at least if an audience boos, or expresses their displeasure in some way, they're awake and paying attention, and that's at least paying some respect to the performer. Thoughts?

--Andre


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 7:39 pm 
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Location: New England
As a performer, I have a thick skin. I really don't care what the audience does.


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:22 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
I was never booed, so I don't know what that's like, but I can't imagine it's better than tepid applause.


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:50 am 
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Location: Canada
As I said, standing ovations are a rarity in New York. The few at NYCB were well deserved, though some at ABT were a bit questionable. Never seen any in Denmark or Sweden - doesn't seem to be done.

Perhaps I wasn't clear, but I do make a distinction between simply staying an applauding and standing ovations. Definately been irked by some of the ones at ABT - the one performance I saw that really deserved a standing ovation - Corella and Acosta in 'Le Corsaire' didn't get nearly that. But the anti-climactic third act is partially to blame - if ever a ballet needs to slimmed down, it's 'Le Corsaire'.

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:36 am 
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
But do you give standing ovations for mediocre performances, i.e. amateurish choreography, flashy lighting, gaudy costumes and dancers that look like adult students? In LA and San Jose, they do.
Flashy lighting and gaudy costumes are bad only when inappropriate to the work.

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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:43 am 
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Location: Lighting Heaven
I would never boo the dancers, or do anything that might be construed as booing the dancers. It's almost never their fault (whatever "it" happens to be). Even if they're not capable of dancing the part, that's mostly the responsibility of the artistic director (for casting them) and the choreographer (for giving them movement they can't do).

I might conceivably, I suppose, boo the AD or the choreographer, although I never have, but never the dancers.

Now, there are a few lighting, set, and costume designers I'd like to boo....

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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:33 am 
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Location: Key Biscayne, Florida, USA
I saw Nureyev get booed onstage in Calgary years ago. That was the only time I have ever seen or for that fact heard of that happening.

One thing that really gets under my skin at dance performances and makes me want to boo is the clapping thing. Here is an example, I recently attended a performance of a ballet company at NJPAC. Everytime the Principal male dancer would do say a triple pirouette the audience would start to clap but not like everyone clapping simultaneously from overwhelming excitement, it was clapping from like two people that everyone would hear and then decide to start clapping. If the guy lifted the ballerina over his head everyone would clap in this same manner. I am convinced that if the Principal ballerina looked at her watch and some people in the audience started to clap everyone would be like, "hey, we have to clap". I know when I am performing it DRIVES ME NUTS if people in the audience do this. Many times it is people who work for the company that engage in this practice of starting everyone clapping in the audience. It is like some strange sort of validation that if people clap when you execute the most basic of steps then everything is a smashing success. I don't know about y'all but when I pay for a ticket to attend a dance performance I expect a male dancer to be capable of executing something like a triple pirouette, especially when they are labeled a Pricipal dancer. Whenever I am watching dancers doing a beautiful Pas de Deux or some really great piece of rep it completely disrupts my own imagination and interpretation of what I am watching when people start to clap like this. I want to boo the people in the audience everytime I experience this phenomenon from audience members :p . Does anyone else in here share this same sentiment? Or should I just getover it and put my hands together? :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:10 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Quote:
Whenever I am watching dancers doing a beautiful Pas de Deux or some really great piece of rep it completely disrupts my own imagination and interpretation of what I am watching when people start to clap like this. I want to boo the people in the audience everytime I experience this phenomenon from audience members . Does anyone else in here share this same sentiment?
I hear you! I thought I was the only one! It’s really bad at the Hummingbird Centre! Ballerina twitches her nose and gets a standing ‘O.’ A good portion of those who interrupt needlessly with this gratuitous applause are family members, employees of the ballet, or volunteers.

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 Post subject: Re: Booing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 10:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
A good portion of those who interrupt needlessly with this gratuitous applause are family members, employees of the ballet, or volunteers.
...Or people who for some reason think it makes them appear more sophisticated and knowledgeable.

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