Applause Etiquette for every type of performance

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Hand-clapping is the usual way of demonstrating approval and appreciation, recognising achievement. Cheering, whooping, whistling and standing ovations are also incredibly used to convey appreciation: traditional British reserve is often abandoned in the communal euphoria that greets an impressive performance. 

A slow handclap, conversely, signals discontent from an audience that has been kept waiting. Booing a performer is never acceptable.

etiquette of applause opera applause etiquette

At the opera, applaud after the overture (before curtain-up), after an impressive aria (but never while someone is singing), at the end of a scene or act and, of course, at the end of the production. It is also the norm to clap the conductor when he or she takes to the podium before the performance, after the interval and at the end (when the orchestra also takes a bow).

At seated musical concerts, it is customary to applaud between different compositions, but not between movements within a piece.

At the theatre, applause is expected at the end of each act, after a notable scene or moment and at the end of a production.

Here is everything you need to know about applause etiquette for each type of performance.

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I am Gia G. Dixon, an ILM certified etiquette consultant based in Los Angeles. I build ladies and gentleman and help them find their stride in social and professional settings. Whether you are on a date at the symphony or pitching a presentation to foreign clients, I make it easy.

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