I appreciated this article about the view from the cheap seats at various ballet theaters in NYC. I’ve never actually been to a huge ballet like that, but any dance I get to see, I try to sit as far up as possible. Generally speaking, I like to sit up close for movies and way back for live theater, but it’s hard to convince people to sit with me. But at dances, as this article says, there is a contingent who likes to be able to see the whole space. That’s certainly the most important thing, but for me there’s also the fact that I like to see the audience.
To me it’s part of the show. Not just at the theater, but at concerts, at sporting events, at political rallies, whatever. I like watching crowds, and you get a much better sense of the crowd if you’re in the back, with all of them between you and the stage. And I like theaters, the actual buildings. I grew up running around the bleachers and balconies, and whenever I see the light rigging, or the curtain ropes, it gives me a strange sense of home. If I’m in the back, I don’t need to crane my neck and distract my neighbors; it only takes a glance around during the performance to give me that sentimental comfort.
The view is also great from backstage, or up in the lights, but as just an audience member, it’s the cheap seats for me.