Etiquette: The Ballet

I’m off to the ballet this afternoon for the first time in awhile, and I realized I don’t know if I’m supposed to dress up, or if it’s weird to bring my binoculars, or generally anything about the show. So, I looked up Lincoln Center FAQs, and here’s what I learned about applause:

When do I applaud?

Applause is the way for the audience to greet or show appreciation for the performer. Applause occurs when performers first take the stage, and at the conclusion of pieces throughout the performance. If you are unsure about when you should applaud, a good rule of thumb is to applaud when others in the audience do.

Totally fair FAQ answer, but it creates a sort of annoying group think at the end of the day. I think that’s how standing ovations happen at shows: people hear other people clapping and see them standing, so if they don’t know better, they assume they should too. Sometimes the loudest and most limber audience members aren’t the best judge of what everyone is watching. For me though, I tend to clap when someone does something that seems hard to me flawlessly – ballet in general – so I’m glad to have some rules in place. I’ll bandwagon away today.

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