Ballet Do’s & Don’ts

This week, I was the incredibly fortunate recipient of two tickets to Don Quixote. I haven’t been to the ballet since I was in school, so it was a very exciting experience. For those of you who may be in a similar situation in the near future, I thought I would give you my tips on how to do it properly.

DO: Dress up!
Remember that about 90% of the people there will be old. I don’t mean old like your mother’s age, I mean old like grey, half-blind, incontinence pants, often reminiscing about the time a loaf of bread cost 2 cents. You really need to represent the youth contingent, so definitely, dress up. Nobody really wears evening dresses & black tie to the ballet anymore, but this doesn’t mean it’s okay to go along in jeans & a t-shirt. I think your best bet is to wear black with a splash of colour.

DO: Take somebody you like.
More specifically, someone who will put up with you sliding out of your shoes & draping your legs across their lap. (Those seats can be uncomfortable, you know.) Bonus points if they will smile at you when you tell them that the lead male dancer’s bum is saggier than theirs.

DO: Read the program before the lights go down.
Otherwise you won’t know what’s going on. Trust me, it’s quite a snoozefest when you don’t know the story.

DO: Take $7 with you for an ice-cream.
Standing in the foyer eating it & people-watching is definitely the best way to spend the intermission. There are few places which are as reliably interesting as the ballet for strange-outfit-spotting & observing weird social niceties/mating dances.

DON’T: Be smarmy & refuse to clap.
Most dancers live on paltry wages, & in case you didn’t notice from the show going on in front of you, they work like the damned. This — what you are seeing — is their LIFE, their love, & you should appreciate it. Even if you don’t think much of their dancing, they’re still trying hard, & other than the little cash they receive, all they really get in return is applause. For this reason alone, you should clap until your hands burn.

DON’T: Take your cellphone.
Give it a rest, will you? If your phone rings during the show, prepare to feel the wrath of the grannies all around you.

DON’T: Backcomb your hair.
I know, I love big hair too, but just for tonight, let your tresses hang low. I sat behind a woman with the biggest hair ever & it was terrible. Her perm was NOT the show I was there to see!

If all else fails…
Go a bit Edward Gorey on it. Wear a huge fur coat & white tennis shoes, watch the stage intently & refuse to talk to anyone.