It's that time of year: the opening of the ballet season. Common sense and courtesy will vastly improve the enjoyment of everyone's theatre experience if the basic rules of etiquette are followed:
• Don't arrive late or leave early. It's disruptive to the artists and audience.
• Don't talk during a live performance. All attention on the stage, please!
• Do be aware of and sensitive to those around you.
• Don't rustle the program or your clothing; avoid distracting those around you in any way.
• Don't wear alarmed watches. Leave them at home, along with noisy jewelry such as charm bracelets.
• The same goes for pagers and cell phones. If you need to make a call, step into the lobby or take care of business before the performance or during intermission.
• The woman enters the seating row first. It's considered proper for the man to sit "aisle-side," just as he should walk curbside when escorting a woman on the street.
• Stay in your seat (except for standing ovations) during curtain calls. No matter how much you want to beat the crowd, it's rude to leave a live performance before the lights come up.
Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (www.AMLGroup.com), certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on www.Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and www.Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.