On April 21st, I wrote a post on applause from the point of view of an audience member. This week, a dancer is gives his thoughts on the subject. I promised him that I wouldn’t reveal his name. All I can divulge is that he’s one of the finest dancers in the world and has been a principal dancer at two of the leading ballet companies in the world.
Do you think any time is the right time for applause?
I think that if someone wants to applaud because they are moved or excited, they should. Although sometimes it can get out of hand and in the past I have wondered if a triple pirouette really moved someone so much they had to applaud. I don't want to tamper anyone's enthusiasm for the art form, but frequent outbursts can distract from the overall performance. I tend to think if something is extraordinary then go for it, if not save it for when they finish so everyone in the audience can appreciate their performance in a complete and full form.
Has clapping ever affected your performance?
Audience clapping can have a dual affect. It can take you out of your concentration, or it can bolster your performance even more. As a performer, we crave to make the audience excited, or have them feel an emotion, essentially to take them to another place in their mind. Sometimes this comes out as applause, and when it's right it can be amazing to feel the audience participation.
What kind of audience to you consider ideal?
I have performed all over the world. Each audience is different. In addition, an audience is made up of many people from unique backgrounds, so it's very difficult to say what an ideal audience is because appreciation is shown in many different ways. In general, an appreciative, enthusiastic audience is ideal. Like sports, not everyone is a season ticket holder who comes to the ballet every night. However, if the audience gets invested in the art on stage, and acquires some new knowledge and appreciation, and reflects that in their response, then that is my ideal audience.