The Standing O.


 The inside of the David Koch Theater (formerly - and sometimes still referred to as - the New York State Theater or the State Theater), home of the New York City Ballet

Did you know that the "social season" once officially began with the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera?  For those of you feeling flush, the Met Opera will celebrate their opening night on Monday, September 23rd, followed by their opening night gala.  The New York City Ballet will similarly begin their season on September 17th, with an opening gala to follow on September 19th.

For those of you making their first foray into high culture this fall, you might be wondering how a gal is expected to conduct herself at 'the theater'.  Although floor length gowns were once a theater staple, they are typically seen only at gala performances these days.  At other evening performances, aim for cocktail attire. At matinees, think 'Sunday Best' day-wear (even if it's Saturday!) Men do not need to wear jackets but they certainly look well in one.  If you skip the coat check expect to hold your fur on your lap and remember: you can't be late to a performance.  If you dont make it until after the curtain the ushers will ask that you wait until intermission.  But assuming you do make it in time to 'take your seat', just accept that it's an awkward endeavor.  There isn't a graceful way to scoot past other seated guests so be as polite as possible, smiling with an "excuse me" always at the ready.  Keep your cellphone off during the performance.  Not on airplane mode.  Off.  Audience members consider it indecent to see the light from your cellphone at any time during the performance.  If you do take out your phone you're likely to be corrected immediately by a fellow (elderly, fabulous) theater-goer.

What about that moment at the end when all of the finely dressed stand and offer their applause?  Should you join them?   Tyler Angle, a city ballet Principal (and friend!), says that there are no rules for standing ovations but that a good guideline is to be honest.  If you are moved by a performance, acknowledge the performers with a standing ovation.  It won't go unnoticed.