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10 Things You Should Never Do At A Dance or Ballet Recital

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By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

If you are attending a dance or ballet recital, there are certain behaviors and things you should never do!

As an audience member, sitting through a recital can be both exciting when watching the kids and dancers you are there to see, but can also be a little monotonous or boring if there are many items in which your dancer is not onstage.

Therefore to ensure you have perfect recital audience etiquette we have made this list of ten things you should really avoid doing to ensure you and everyone around you has a great experience!

1. Do not whisper criticisms about dancers on stage to others during the recital.

Other people will hear you and you don’t know if the dancer’s family you are talking about is sitting near you.

2. Do Not Eat Loud Crunchy or Smelly Food.

Going to a recital is not like going to the cinema! All the seats are usually taken, there is no surround sound. If you must snack, you need to bring quiet foods to eat and food that will not turn the whole theatre into a fast-food ventilation trap.

3. Do Not Fall Asleep!

Couple falling asleep in a theatre

Do not fall asleep! Yes people do otherwise we would not have to write this – It is just rude, and will most likely distract or even upset any children dancing on stage that see you asleep.

4. Do Not Be Late – You Might Miss Your Dancer!

Try not to be late for the recital! You might miss the only item the dancer you are going to see is in and if the seating isn’t allocated you will be disturbing everyone as you try and find your seat.

5. Don’t Stand In the Way of Others Watching!

If you need to go in and out of the auditorium or theatre do this during the breaks between items or when there seems to be a pause in the performance if you are watching a full ballet.

When coming back in follow the advice of the Usher and wait for a break in the performance to go back in.

If there is no usher quietly open and close the door and stand quietly until there is a suitable break to be able to get back to your seat.

Don’t be rude and get in people’s way so that you can find a seat, especially if you know it is their kid on stage at that moment!

6. Do not take photos or video!

Girl on stage holding one leg high in the air and people in the audience using phones to film her - Dance Recital

The dance studio will generally hire people to do this, so sit back and relax and watch the performance!

Just like any theatre performance, you will go to, taking photos or videos is not allowed.

Some of the reasons for this have to do with copyright issues over music and choreography as well as permissions to take videos and photos of minors.

Taking photos and videos can also distract the dancers and other audience members too!

7. Do not Post Photos of other People’s Kids on Your Social Media!

This goes for the dancer you are there to see even if they are a relative or other people’s kids that might get into some photos you take after the recital. Always make sure the dancer’s parents are ok with you posting any photos on your social platforms.

If you take photos of your dancer with their friends it is also a good idea to make sure their parents are also ok with you posting photos of their dancers, otherwise just don’t do it!

8. Do Not Sit Wherever you Want If Your Seating is Allocated!

If your ticket has a seat and number on it, it means that is where you have been allocated to sit.

Dance schools have different ways of allocating seats and just because you want to sit in the front row to see your child dance, does not mean you get to! Everyone in that audience is in there to see a dancer up on stage, be respectful of the ticketing process!

9. Do Not Save A Whole Row of the Best Seats in the House!

Most dance recitals have allocated seating, but not all do! Some dance and ballet studios have performances where you choose where to sit when you arrive.

If this is the case, it is not OK to save the whole of the front row for your family by placing bags and sweaters over each of the seats.

Saving a couple of seats for elderly relatives as it takes them longer to get into the theatre or younger children who might be playing outside while they wait for the performance to start, or even that one couple who rang to tell you they are running late is fine.

But if you want the best seats for your whole family, your whole family needs to turn up early to get them just like everyone else!

10. Do Not Leave Once Your Dancer Has Performed

If the dancer you are going to see is quite young, you might find they are only on stage once or twice throughout the recital.

Once they have finished this is not your cue to get up and leave, especially if you are attending in a large group sitting in the front rows!

If you do have to leave for any reason, try to get tickets towards the back of the audience so when you do your absence is less noticeable!

If you do leave, you will also miss the finale and bows and any awards, trophies, and presentations that occur at the end, as well as seeing your dancer who will need to stay for these!

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