Guide To Going To The Ballet In London

ballet Aug 22, 2023
ballet at the theatre

Even though it's said that visiting Buckingham Palace makes a trip to London complete, many people place seeing a ballet at the top of their list of things to do while visiting the nation's capital. If this is your first time, you might have some queries such as what to go and see. What do I need to wear? What does it all mean?

Read our guide to going to the ballet in London to ensure it is the best experience… 

Decide which type of ballet you want to see:

Would you prefer to skim through two or three bite-sized chunks or delve into a lengthy, story? Try a double- or triple-bill performance if you're a newcomer to ease yourself in. There won't be an ongoing story to follow, but rather 3 shorter, standalone pieces. You'll get a good variety, an interval between each piece and time to digest what you are viewing so it is not overwhelming 

Do your research:

In this day and age, the answer to most questions is a click away and the history of ballet is at your fingertips if you are keen to do your research. Even if it's only so you have something to talk about with your fellow culture vultures during the intermission, it's worth going online to study up on the tale and the significance of the piece you're about to see, especially if it's a classic, there will be lots of information. You may find less information if the show is current or a recently commissioned work, but you should still be able to grasp the essence of the production's underlying themes or learn more about the choreographers. In contrast to well-known musicals such as Hamilton and Les Miserables, which use conversation and songs to help audience members follow the plot, ballet involves no speech. Instead, the story is conveyed through the dancers' physical movements, facial expressions and ballet mime. You might not catch on immediately catch on to what is going on onstage, which is why it is preferable to look up the tale or before going to the theatre or buy a program rather than taking a chance that you might find yourself at a little lost with it.

Buy tickets in advance:

This might be a no-brainer, but, remember to pre-book. On-the-door sales are rare. Spend as much money as you can if you want quality tickets. If you ask any London ballet fan, they will tell you that going to the ballet is not the most budget-friendly form of entertainment, particularly if you want to sit in the best seats. There are cheap seats but you will be seated farthest from the stage with possibly a rather poor view. If you're keen on watching ballet buy in advance to get the best spot

Dress to impress:

The lovely little number you've been hiding at the back of your wardrobe because you're worried it's too over the top for social occasions can finally be brought out of hiding. At the ballet these days you will get a real mix. You will find women in dresses and tuxedos as well as some casual attire and people who have not changed out of work clothes, but if you have the chance to dress up, why not take advantage of it? 

Eat before the show:

This is very important, because a ballet performance can last 2.5 to 3 hours. There are usually intervals of 20 minutes when you can get a bite to eat, but considering the limited time, it is best to go to the show on a full stomach, rather than simply a glass of champagne, if you want to maximise your enjoyment of the performance. 

Leave time to spare:

It is recommended that you attend earlier than the call time that is printed on your ticket. Not only will this allow you to remain calm and collected throughout the event, but it will also provide you with the opportunity to get a drink before the performance begins. You will be able to find the location of your seat without the pressure of knowing the performance is just about to begin. Some theatres can be more difficult to navigate than others, so get there early, find your seat and find out where the bar is and the toilets! 

Take it all in:

Be sure to take a look under the stage to the orchestra pit, where you can see a swarm of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion as well as the conductor lead them in unison The dancers receive all the credit, but you shouldn't miss it. Each dance step is shaped by the music, which in turn is designed to convey a certain narrative. Close your eyes slightly while you take in the noises of the environment around you, but don't do it for too long. You definitely don't want to miss out on any part of the show.

Don’t be embarrassed to show your appreciation:

Even though you might expect ballet to draw a more sedate crowd, audiences have been known to get quite rowdy during performances, shouting "bravo!" and other exclamations of approval. In most cases, applause and cheering are not welcome during a performance of a symphony or opera, but that is not the case here. The dancers love appreciation for their well-executed performances. It is hard work! Applaud moments that grab you but in the spirit of the show, conserve some of your enthusiasm for the final curtain call, which is the best moment to show your appreciation.

Now you are feeling more prepared. We hope you love your visit to the ballet in London.

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