First time to the ballet? Take some tips from the experts

If you think you know what ballet is all about but you've never actually been to a performance, you may want to check out today's Ballet 101 story. We talked to choreographers, dancers and other ballet experts to help dispel some of the myths that may keep people from experiencing the uber-athletic art form.

• Ballet 101: Dispelling myths for newcomers and skeptics

Now that you've read the story, watched the video and have been convinced to snag tickets to an upcoming performance, you can check out some first-timer tips from those same experts:

"It’s fun if you know a few of the basic steps of ballet . . . just a few building blocks of the language. Kind of like when you go to France, and if you don’t know any French, but you learn a handful of words and get along a little more easily, even if you just need to ask where the hotel is or for a menu. I think knowing a little bit about ballet kind of helps."

— Septime Webre, Washington Ballet artistic director

"When I go either hear music or see dance, I sort of go in with no preconceived notions. Just relax into it."

— Jared Angle, New York City Ballet principal dancer

"Don’t sleep, and remember to clap. Don’t sit too close to the stage because you get a much better picture of the whole production from further back in the audience."

— Alexander Daev, Russian National Ballet Theatre ballet master

"Go with someone you can talk about it with. Maybe have an understanding of what you’re going to see, so read the program notes beforehand. But as far as watching it, just letting yourself go along with the performance and really being present for it."

— Kate Lydon, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company artistic associate

Washington-area native Stephanie Merry covers movies, theater and art for Weekend and the Going Out Guide. She’s also the section’s de facto expert on yoga, gluten-free dining and bicycle commuting.
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Stephanie Merry · March 15, 2013