When to clap at a ballet performance
It‘s tricky to figure out the right time to clap at a ballet. First-time goers are often concerned about embarrassing themselves by being the only one to clap. While you would never consider clapping in the middle of a symphony, at a ballet it is completey acceptable to clap throughout the performance to show your excitement and encourage the ballet dancers. Ballet ettiquette is also dependant on culture. For example, at the Bolchoi Theatre, it‘s a tradition to clap long, loudly and wildly.
Here are some of typical occasions to clap during a ballet:
In the presence of live music, applauding the conductor is a must.
as the conductor appears infront of the orchestra
as the conductor leaves before a pause
after the conductor returns, following the pause
at the end of the performance
For the ballet dancers:
when a famous dancer makes their first appearance on stage
after a difficult movement (often a pas de deux or „32 fouettes“)
after a special dance, such as the chinese dance in „Nutcracker“
after the ballet dancer bows, having performed a special dance
At the end of the performance, the audience is invited to go wild: clapping, yelling, standing ovations, stomps and exclamations of „Bravo!“ for your favourite dancer. And if you‘re ever unsure – just wait for someone else to clap first!