Young Persons Guide to Attending the Ballet
The following guide will help children enjoy the enchantment of attending the ballet
- Front of House - Every part of the theatre in front of the main curtain, including the foyer/lobby and auditorium
- Backstage - The part of the stage and theatre which are out of the sight of the audience
- Foyer/Lobby - The area of the theater into which the audience first arrives upon entering the theatre
- Auditorium - The part of the theater accommodating the audience during the performance
- Balcony - Upper level seating in the auditorium
- Stage - The part of the theater on which the dancers perform
- Performer - Those performing on stage
- Audience - Those watching performers on stage
- Curtain Time - The beginning of a stage performance
- Curtain Call - The appearance of one or more performers on stage after a performance to acknowledge the audience’s applause
- Standing Ovation - A period of prolonged applause at the conclusion of a performance during which those in the audience rise to their feet
While dressing up for the ballet is not required, attendees usually view attending the ballet as a special occasion and dress accordingly.
The theatre entrance doors usually open an hour before curtain time. The doors to the seating area in the auditorium usually open 30 minutes before curtain time. Plan to allow yourself plenty of time for parking, getting a drink if you are thirsty, using the restroom, finding your seat and reading the program. Be advised if you are running late and arrive after the ballet begins, you may be asked to wait in the lobby until a scene change or intermission.
TAKE YOUR SEAT
If you have not already found your way to your seat when the lights dim briefly/you hear a chime, please promptly take your seat. An usher will greet you at the door of the auditorium. The usher will look at your ticket, direct you to your seat and offer you a program.
Spend time reading the program. You will find a synopsis of the ballet in the program that will help you understand the plot of the ballet. You will also find information about the dancers and the company performing the ballet. If someone needs to pass you to reach their seat, it is customary to stand or twist your knees to the side to let them pass. If you need to pass others who are seated, face the stage and step sideways to your seat, excusing yourself as you pass.
DURING THE PERFORMANCE
Knowing proper etiquette during the ballet will help everyone enjoy the show
-Clap to show your enthusiasm. You don’t have to wait until the end of the ballet to show your appreciation. If a dancer does something that makes you laugh or smile, give a clap. If you love the show, give the performers a standing ovation. You may also whistle or shout “brava” during the final bow at the end of the performance.
-Stay seated during the performance. Do not stand up or leave once the show begins. Do not put your feet, or push, on the seat in front of you.
-Do not talk during the performance
-Turn off your cell phone/electronic devices. As the performance begins, the lights will dim in the audience and it will be come dark. Lit cell phone screens distract the dancers and other audience members.
-Do not take pictures or video during the performance. Cameras and recording devices are strictly prohibited at the ballet. Flash photography can be dangerous for the dancers. Recording the performance is a violation of copyright guidelines.
-Do not eat or drink during the performance. Concessions are available outside of the auditorium during intermission.
-Wait until the lights come on to exit. It is distracting and unsafe to exit while the lights are dimmed. It is also disrespectful to the performers.
-Present flowers. If you know a dancer performing in the ballet, it is a nice tradition to give the dancer a flower or bouquet of flowers after the performance.
DON’T PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF
Don’t fret if you have moments you feel lost or don’t understand the steps as they are being performed. Instead, try to enjoy the entire experience…the music, costumes, scenery and props. The performers simply hope you have a wonderful experience and enjoy your time at the ballet!
START A TRADITION
You will find some scenes in a ballet have many dancers on stage, each having their own unique character and story. Attending the same ballet more than once allows the audience to see moments and characters they may have have missed. In addition, Artistic Directors often expand roles, choreography, costumes, props and scenery as a production ages.