Have you ever seen a Ballerina being given flowers at the end of a performance? Have you ever wondered where this tradition comes from or what type of flowers are normally given? As a ballet school in North Tyneside we love everything ballet so we thought we would find out about this lovely ballet tradition.
The tradition of giving flowers
The tradition of giving flowers to dancers at ballet has been around for many decades. Back in the 1930s, dancers were not paid so giving flowers was a way for fans to show their appreciation.
It was common for the flowers to be given to the lead female dancer and she would select a single flower, kiss it and hand it to her male dance partner. This acknowledged the part he played in the performance.
Mistakes when giving flowers
It is considered a faux pas to give a male dancer flowers unless he is playing a female part in the dance. But female dancers will often make a show of sharing their flowers with male dancers as mentioned.
Another interesting thing that isn’t considered to be the ‘done thing’ is to give the soloists or other company dancers any flowers if the lead ballerina doesn’t receive any. However, they may be given flowers off stage to show appreciation for their part in things. It is common to give flowers to all soloists. Ballerinas never want to receive flowers before a performance. It is seen as bad luck to give them flowers before they perform but good luck to receive them afterwards. So, hang on to that bouquet until the show has finished!
Giving the best flowers
Flowers given to ballerinas even have a bit of tradition about the size and shape of the bouquet. Normally they are oblong in shape, so they sit on one arm and that single flower given to the male dancer is often loosened so it is easy to select. Ribbons are used to finish the bouquet, often in complex patterns.
There are lots of different flowers to choose from but there are four that are particularly popular to give to ballerinas because of their meaning. These include:
- Lilies - these are associated with purity but also energy, creativity and ambition, showing you appreciate both the dancer’s talent and the hard work that goes into the performance
- Irises - the iris is said to link earth with the divine and are given to show appreciation for creativity and artistry
- Carnations - another classic bouquet flower, these symbolise pride and admiration and come in lots of different colours
However, the most popular type of flower given to ballerinas has to be roses. They come in various colours and each one has its own meaning:
- Pink - elegance, grace, and admiration of their skills, popular for youthful or younger dancers
- Red - love and beauty, telling the dancer how much you loved their performance and skills.
- Yellow - joy and affection
- Lavender - creativity, openness, and enchantment, in this case with their talent.
Showing your appreciation
While these tips are often applied to the highest levels of ballet, for many dancers simply receiving a bouquet of any flowers as a sign of appreciation is thrilling and always welcome.