Ballet Etiquette: Your Guide to Attending La Soirée des Jeunes Gouverneurs

Ballet Etiquette: Your Guide to Attending La Soirée des Jeunes Gouverneurs

Posted by Jessica Drolet

What should I wear? Can I take photos of the show? When should I applaud? Because the 5th edition of the Soirée des Jeunes Gouverneurs is coming up on April 1, I thought a blog post about ballet etiquette would be on point!

Presented by Banque Nationale in collaboration with L’Oréal Professionnel, it will be a marvellous Garden Party themed event, with a variety of food kiosks from the trendiest restaurants, music by Mayfair’s DJ Truspin and fun photo booths. Another reason to go is that you’ll improve your contemporary dance repertoire and get the chance to mingle and dance with the Grands Ballets’ dancers. Co-led by Élise Sauvé and Lise Bérichel, this edition’s featured show is Minus One by one of the world’s most sought after choreographers, Ohad Naharin.

If you haven’t seen them already, take a look at last year’s photos from, or the Grands Ballets. All tickets are usually gone a week before, so make sure you have yours:

photo credit: Valérie Paquette

Part 1: Pre-show cocktail reception

From 6:30PM to 8PM, you’ll be treated to delicious eats, exquisite cocktails from Mayfair as well as hairdo stations by L’Oréal Professionnel.

What should you wear?

Just because your photo will be all over social media doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a long dress or a tuxedo. Here are some of my favourite styles from last year’s edition, as seen on Instagram.

5 styles for 5 years

Me and my @ttofficial dress are on the prowl for the best looks at the @jeunesgouverneurs party. Head over to @grandsballets as I’m doing an #InstagramTakeover 📸🙆🏽 #ilikeiwear #stylediaries #ootn #grandsballetscanadiens #soireejg #preludes #grandsballetsxiliw

Une publication partagée par ILIW by CANDICE PANTIN (@ilike.iwear) le

You can rarely go wrong with a black dress. The open back of this one is gorgeous. And Candice chose the perfect shiny accessories to go with it.

Mon look pour la #soireejg! Wearing a vintage top bought in #SanFrancisco, #lechateau pants + shoes and a #renamed blazer. #lolittalooks #fblogger #mtlblogger #ootn #fashioniseverywhere #preludes #joolista

Une publication partagée par FashionIsEverywhere (@lolittadandoy) le

Who says you need to wear a dress? Lolitta looks amazing in this vintage-style outfit. Bringing a blazer or something to cover your shoulders is also a good idea as it can get cold in theatres.

@burnhamjonathan was all GQ at last night’s @jeunesgouverneurs party👌🏽 @ilike.iwear #grandsballetsxiliw #soireejg #makeportraits #menstyle

Une publication partagée par Grands Ballets (@grandsballets) le

Suit up! This light grey suit fits Jonathan perfectly. I love the black details and the skinny polka dot tie.

Nos deux #coprésidentes @jessica_d @elissauv et la porte-parole de la #soiréeJG @virginie_coossa! #préludes #SoireeJG #grandsballets #preludes #igers #igersmontreal #Montreal #Instamood #Instadaily #danse #JeunesGouverneurs #GrandsBallets #philanthropy #cocktail #dansemontreal #Latergram #nofilter #JGGB #followus #ballet #danseurs #PDA #youngprofessionals #Afterlight

Une publication partagée par Jeunes gouverneurs (@jeunesgouverneurs) le

You can wear a skirt and shirt too! I love Élise’s romantic red lace long-sleeve outfit (on the left).

Soirée des Jeunes Gouverneurs des Grands Ballets – My look for the 2016 edition! Inspiration : Jared Leto Pic by the very talented : Candice Pantin from @Ilike.Iwear #Mazroudecouvre #SoiréeJG #Grandsballets #strikethepose #mtl #downtown #aboutlastnight #fblogger #bloggerlife

Une publication partagée par Mazrou decouvre (@mazroudecouvre) le

And gentlemen, feel free to add a creative touch, either with a colourful handkerchief or a flower! Mazrou’s black suit looks great on its own, but the romantic touch makes it special.

Keep in mind that dressing up is both a sign of respect for the special nature of the occasion and performers. Also, a few basics apply regardless of fashion. If the venue has a coatroom, which Place des Arts and most theatres have, you should check heavy coats and rainwear, hats, umbrellas, or any big bag.

Should you eat before?

It’s never a good idea to attend any kind of event on an empty stomach. Why? Because you’ll be busy chasing food rather than talking to people and being an enjoyable guest. Compared to other events though, this one never fails to satisfy your cravings.

Part 2: The show

At 8PM sharp, you’ll be expected into PdA’s Théâtre Maisonneuve for the representation of Minus One.

photo credit: John Hall

Can you sit anywhere?

A seat is assigned to each guest. Your row and number depend on the moment of purchase. Don’t try to switch to a better empty seat because someone may tap on your shoulder sooner than you think.

When you walk in your row, face the front of the stage. If you trip, you’ll regain your balance more easily by falling against a seat than on someone’s lap. When you’re the one being passed in a row, you can and should remain seated and turn your knees in the direction the person is moving. If you feel more comfortable to stand up, feel free to do so unless the show has started. Although most of the time, latecomers are not allowed in the theatre if the show is underway.

Auditorium seating is often arranged so that the person behind you can see between the two seats in front. So during the show, avoid slumping sideways and possibly blocking their view.

When should you applaud?

You should applaud the orchestra conductor when he or she enters, before the curtain goes up. When the conductor raises his or her baton, that’s your cue to stop clapping or making any kind of noise.

After that, you’ll only need to applaud at the end of each entire piece and at the end of the show. But some enthusiasts applaud their favourite stars at their first entrance or exit from the stage and after impressive moves.

When can you take pictures and videos?

Did you know that in some cases, it’s illegal to take photos or videos during performances? And even if it’s not illegal, audiences are often requested to refrain from taking photos or videos. With or without the flash, you’re definitely not allowed to take photos or videos at a professional ballet show. If you need footage or pictures, contact the company’s PR team.

Also keep in mind that the light of a phone screen is quite distracting in a theatre. It’s better to turn off your cellphone as you take your seat and put it away. A lady once reprimanded me for sending a text message before the lights were even off.

Save your battery to take photos and videos before and after the show and post them on social media with hashtag #SoireeJG.

When is it ok to talk?

You should avoid talking during the presentation. Although if something must be said, whisper it quickly. Also be careful with clanky jewelry or accessories that can disturb others during the presentation.

What should you do if a neighbour is talking?

Excessively shushing a talkative neighbour can be just as disturbing. If the person doesn’t stop after your first friendly shush, gently tap their arm and tell them you can’t concentrate on the show, but don’t make a scene.

When can you exit the theatre?

The best time to leave is at the end of the show. The second best time is during the intermission. Most shows have a 20-minute intermission so you can go out to chat with friends, make a phone call or a quick stop to the washroom—beware of lineups.

Only in the case of an emergency, or if you have a cold and start coughing, can you leave in the middle of a performance. If possible, ask if there’s an empty aisle seat near an exit so you can leave at the first tickle without disturbing a whole row.

If you really don’t enjoy the show, my advice is to think twice before leaving during the intermission. No act is the same and you might enjoy the second more than the first.

What can you do if you don’t understand the show?

Did you read about it online and pick up the show’s program at PdA? If so, don’t try to over analyze it. Just enjoy what’s in front of you. You can always ask others’ opinions and appreciation. That’s one of the nice things about seeing a show with a group of friends.

Part 3: After-show party

At 10PM, DJ Truspin will be waiting for you at Salon Urbain, along with sweets and other surprises.

This is the festive part, where dancers join you on the dance floor. This is also a good time to check out the silent auction before it closes at midnight. Some of the stuff sell at a good price. Remember that it’s a benefit event. Stay classy and safe. And don’t forget to show your ticket to get your gift bag on your way out. Believe it or not, people have left with a handful of bags in the past so the organizers do their best to ensure everyone leaves with their goodie bag.

The arts and culture play a vital role in the economic and social development of our society. By attending this event, you contribute to the creation and presentation of new works, to the company’s reputation in Montreal and abroad as well as to help the community—through the Nutcracker Fund & National Centre for Dance Therapy for example.

Watch last year’s video for an overview:

Here are three other great fundraisers for young professionals this spring:

If you have any other question or comment, feel free to post them below this article.

In all transparency, I founded the Jeunes Gouverneurs des Grands Ballets and co-led the committee from 2012 to 2016.

Follow 8tiquette on Facebook to continue the conversation.



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