Judith Mackrell, Guardian writer and (alleged) super villain, published a short piece just before the holidays that discussed why people throw flowers to ballet dancers at the end of a show.

Having failed to come to the only reasonable conclusion that people attending ballet performances are both rich and crazy we, here in TheLab™, started to ponder what you could throw at contemporary dancers after a show.

Flowers, for the most part, are completely useless and just die all the time so what else can you throw to the dancers after a show?

Money

cash2.jpg

Dancers are always hard up for cash. Either they have no job prospects at all or work for English National Opera. You should also not assume that simply because they have just done a show that they have been paid appropriately, if at all, for the work. Throwing coins is very obviously out of the question (ask a footballer) so it's notes all the way.

A rolled up wad of twenties should suffice (for each dancer) but if you want to get really creative you can put the money in scented envelopes or attach it to paper aeroplanes and go nuts.

For those with more money than sense we suggest using enchanted doves to carry money in their beaks to land on the dancers out stretched arms during the "call".

If you have to ask us where you can get enchanted doves then you can't afford them!

Food

food.jpg

In these hard times for the economy we have been told that folks can't afford to go shopping anymore because a loaf of bread costs about the same as a gold bar.

Dancer's of course need a steady supply of nutritious sustenance to get them through the day so a nice hamper filled with fruit, vegetables and a selection of choice meats would be warmly received.

If you're a bit weak and feeble you may struggle to lob said hamper out of the audience and onto the stage (risk of dancer crushing is also a problem) so may we suggest a hamper on wheels that you can be simply push onto the stage.

Variety is key to a healthy, balanced diet so please coordinate with your fellow audience members to reduce the risk of duplication in the hampers. Anybody who thinks giving celery sticks is a good idea will be shown no mercy!

Additionally, throwing un-wrapped fresh fruit (tomatoes in particular) may be misinterpreted dramatically as something else entirely if you start chucking it after a show is over.

Job Offers

gun.jpg

First of all, get your mind out of the gutter!

Arts policy makers have failed, for 60 years, to generate anything like a productive and progressive job market for professional dancers so....

Performances are probably the best recruitment venue for any aspiring dance maker, especially one with a very small circle of contacts.

Much like the money you can simply throw the job offer at your dancer of choice. Better still, if dance companies could craft a small velcro patch to each costume you could lob velcro darts and hope you hit the right spot.

A new wave of audience participation could be started, we could escalate the whole thing to a "Nerf™ Gun" battle at the end of the show.

Any attempts to tag the dancer with QR codes, barcodes or numbers will be frowned upon.

Health Insurance

xray.jpg

Nothing says "I appreciate your performance" more than a 12 month, health insurance certificate with a recognised and trusted health care provider (one with a speciality in sports medicine and low deductibles for physiotherapy!)

The National Institute for Dance Medicine is, sort of, underway but more needs to be done to protect the health of professional dancers. "We love you" means providing fast access to MRI* scans for your favourite performer.

We figure a single season of performances across all dance companies will provide health insurance to a couple of hundred dancers.

Socks

socks.jpg

Ok, compared to health insurance and money, socks may seem like a bit of a cheap shot but dancers burn through socks faster than ACE burns through bad policy.

Dancers want two kinds and two kinds only. Big, chunky wool socks to keep their feet warm when they are not in rehearsals or just starting to get warmed up. They are also good for sitting on the sofa of an evening when your reading a book, probably!

The other kind are, so-called, trainer socks, these are just socks without the bit that goes up past your ankle. They have the added advantage of being really cheap but also the disadvantage of being really cheap!

Please remember to remove any cardboard or plastic packaging before you throw them onstage however. Perhaps you could also include a short note so the dancers know exactly why you are throwing socks at them, this could save a lot of confusion backstage.

In addition, throwing soft cuddly items at people can be fun, and going to the theatre is supposed to be fun! Right?