Is polite, even fervent, audience applause from a seated position a bygone social custom? This nicety has not completely disappeared; last month at the conclusion of “Raymonda,” at Segerstrom Hall, it was a joy to regard the massive Mariinsky Ballet’s elegant bows in full view. The audience, perhaps still enthralled by the enormity of the historic dance spectacle, broke into rapturous clapping while remaining respectfully in their seats.
This generous feedback showered upon artists provided the perfect capper to a superb performance; the applause a commensurate reward for three acts of finely wrought Petipa choreography.
By contrast, over the weekend we suffered the premature pop-up, the faux fawning, the obstructed sight lines of instantaneous standing ovations — at the Wallis, Royce Hall and the Freud Playhouse. The worst is at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where the requisite standing ovation is so ubiquitous that I haven’t seen a curtain call in years. Today’s s.o. is not a true standing ovation; there’s always one person in row one, either overcome by proximity or perhaps in a rush to get to the carpark, who starts the trend.
In Popular Science, we learn that clapping is not only a meme, a spreadable social habit, but it is contagious.
Theater critic Ben Brantley called in the New York Times, for a new S.O. — the seated ovation.
The seated ovation has become a greater sign of respect. So, sit down and clap!