I love attending the ballet. I go at least once a year with my mom and sister. It’s become a tradition. I never aspired to become a ballerina as a little girl. But, I have always found it fascinating to watch. In my city attending the ballet isn’t a popular past time amongst most Capetonians. And I often get asked about the ballet so in this post will provide readers who have never been to the ballet with a few tips.
Remember your tickets
You have to remember to take your tickets without them you won’t be permitted to enter. Keep them close and don’t lose them.
What to wear
In Cape, Town people tend to dress in smart casual attire to the ballet. You will find people dressed in jeans and t-shirts as well. Overall especially during Christmas shows people are dressed elegantly. I usually wear a cocktail dress and heels. I have never attended the ballet wearing jeans. But it is a personal choice and many people do wear jeans.
You should also take note of where you are going to see the show. My Russian friend Anastasia told me that in Russia women dress up to attend the ballet. When we watched Romeo and Juliette in Germany some people were dressed up but, others wore casual clothes. Find the homepage of the ballet company and the performance venue on it you will most likely find photographs of performances. This might allow you to see what previous attendees have worn, which can serve as a great guide on what to wear.
If you don’t arrive on time the door of the theatre will be closed. This means you would miss the entire first act of the ballet. Latecomers are not permitted inside as this disturbs the dancers and the audience. So get there on time or earlier to avoid missing the entire first act of the ballet.
Use the washroom before the show
Use the washroom before the show and during the break. Walking up and down the aisle is distracting so don’t drink too many liquids beforehand and use the toilet.
Once the ballet starts you have to be quite. It is perfectly okay and encourages to applaud the dancers. But, having an entire conversation not so much you need to be quiet and watch the show.
No eating inside
Ballet shows will often have drinks and light snacks being sold in the lobby area. However, you usually cannot sit inside the theatre with food items and eat.
Consider purchasing the programme
The programme is a printed information guide with the names of the dancers, the background of the show and the general storyline. It will also include break times and other useful information. It can be a lovely keepsake of your time at the ballet. I usually don’t purchase the programmes though. I would end up with too many of them and all that printed paper would be thrown away which is bad for the environment.
Instead of buying programmes I tend to do a quick n search on Cape Town City Ballet Company’s website to find out what the general storyline is beforehand. I also Google the show and I follow Cape Town City Ballet Company’s Instagram account. This provides me with enough information.
You can Google the name of the ballet, and visit the homepage of the ballet company. You can also listen to music from the ballet to get an idea of what the show will be like. Sometimes the ballet has no storyline and sometimes there are stories behind the dancing. Look out for the use of costumes, scenery, colour and the music to help you follow the story. Gloomy music often means the scene will be sad. The dancers don’t speak to each other. But, it is not difficult to follow once you have a general idea and watch closely.
Don’t take photos
Taking photos of the dancers is strictly prohibited. You will get asked to leave if found doing so. The flash of cameras is a major distraction and ballet dancers need to concentrate whilst dancing. The flash could lead to a dancer not being able to see properly and getting seriously injured. Plus, the music and dancing cannot be recorded as the ballet shows are copyrighted. You can take a photo of the theatre inside during the break when no one is dancing and in the theatre lobby, just don’t take photos during the performance.
Switch off your phone
Turn your phone on silent or better yet switch it off. A ringing phone would take away from the show. I haven’t ever heard a phone ringing at the ballet and I don’t want to be that person so I switch mine off always.
Take along cash in small bills if you intend on having something to drink or eat. In Cape Town taking your debit or credit card is fine too as there are always card machines available. I know that in Germany having cash is important in smaller notes as you often cannot pay for things using your debit card.
That’s my list of tips I hope they will help you. Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment.