Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Clapping for Ourselves

Is it just my own misperception (which spellchecker doesn't like but says is okay), or did clapping become reinvented or redefined sometime within the last few decades. I noticed it again a short while ago watching So You Think you Can Dance Canada. When they acknowledged the choreographers, and the audience clapped for them, but the choreographers clapped too.

I wonder when the fashion changed, or maybe it didn't where you're from? Maybe it was always that way in some circles? But in my memory, when people clapped for you, you accepted it quietly and humbly. You didn't start clapping too. Now, you do!

My first recollection of such a thing was at a PD Day, probably around the mid-eighties, where we assembled to hear an American speaker. He was very good, lively, funny, and well-rehearsed. At the end, when we clapped our appreciation, he clapped too. I took it to mean that he was applauding us for being a good, attentive audience.

It worked then, but I don't always know what it means. In the case of Dance, were the choreographers clapping for themselves, the audience, the program in general, or were they simply going along with the celebratory spirit of the occasion?

While I don't mind the new fashion at all, I wonder when, where and why it changed. And in some cases, what it means. Or are my memories faulty?


Janet said...

I have not noticed this trend, and I work in theatre! We do NOT clap for ourselves. We will indicate the pianist and light crew if necessary and clap for them, but they don't clap for themselves (generally they don't clap for us either, now I think of it). That's interesting. I'll have to start watching for it.

Envoy-ette said...

LOL-considering the people who try out for the show, they are probably clapping for themselves HAPPY they didn't break their skulls or twist some limb! IF I ever fell down, it's doubtful I would get up again....

dabrah said...

I've noticed it too, but I don't think they're clapping for themselves, I think it's more as a sort of acknowledgement of the praise they're receiving, a kind of polite thank you.

Mary said...

Yes, things have changed. We were taught that when someone clapped for you, you accepted it humbly and thanked them. I don't quite get this new way of clapping, but it seems to be catching on.

Loved your post about Thanksgiving here in southern Ontario. It was a beautiful weekend.


J at said...

People definitely clap for themselves nowadays. Perhaps not performers so much, but at girl scout meetings, award ceremonies, etc., I often see people joining in. I don't know what it means. I kind of wonder if it's a way of deflecting the attention off of ones self? Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Interesting! People joining in their own applause... Isn't it tradition in Russia?
I can remember at school that if we were recieveing applause and we would 'accidently' join in, forgetting ourselves for a moment we would be given a sharp nudge from the person next to us. :o) Then we would look a little embarassed and stop clapping.
I'll have to go do some research now. I do like those Dance programmes though, especially, Strictly Come Dancing. (Dancing with the Stars in USA, not sure if you have it in Canada)If you are a true fan, you shorten the title to just 'Strictly'! ;o)

womaninawindow said...

Hey you. I've wondered about this too. With the dance show I've always wondered if it wasn't the interpretation of it that they were clapping for.

I saw Stewart McClean a couple years ago and at the end of his performance we went mad for him. He clapped back, albeit with bowed head, obviously for us being a good audience. Or so I thought. Maybe these people are clapping because they're so relieved we're not morons and can actually appreciate art. (?)