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Television: Ballet Reality Series?

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From the Miami City Ballet Website:


July 25, 2011


Miami City Ballet is working with Dallas-based Dreamfly Productions in the creation of EN POINTE, a reality based television program focusing on the intimate and compelling world of professional dancers. Dreamfly Productions is currently seeking a television network to air the series.

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Not a fan of the "reality" genre; it's not "reality." National Geographic does the closest thing to a "reality" show with integrity IMO but even they want drama in the show. Without drama, the show is ......well, boring. A few years ago, a dear friend and her family went to Cambodia as a part of a National Geographic reality series. Their episode never saw the light of day because the family was too nice and went out of their way to understand and get along with the people in the small Cambodian village. It was a real adventure for them and the things they did and the things they ate were fascinating and unappealing but there was no conflict and therefore it was just not dramatic enough.


Honestly, the life of a professional dancer is fairly boring from a production standpoint. Every day is pretty much the same except for the content of the routine. Class, rehearsal, rehearsal, performance (on some days). The content is compelling for the dancers but I think for the show to sell, drama will have to be concocted. Sure there are casting excitements and disappointments, injuries and some personalities who aren't best friends but unless these are exaggerated, who cares? I think it would be sad for ballet companies to be cast in the negative light of reality TV in order to raise the visibility of the company or the art.

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Honestly, the life of a professional dancer is fairly boring from a production standpoint. Every day is pretty much the same except for the content of the routine. Class, rehearsal, rehearsal, performance (on some days).


That was my thought exactly when I saw the announcement. What are they going to show that won't be like watching grass grow?? :jawdrop: One show would be interesting just to see what *really* goes on in a dancer's. But, after you've followed them around for one day, well, . . . . . .


Remember the movie The Company? It was interesting to me and DD (and most of us here), but in the 'real' world, it was panned as BORING! And that was pretty much because it did follow (more closely) a dancer's everyday life, as opposed to say, The Black Swan . . . . . .

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And I would think MCB would be pretty classy and not very Black Swan-ish. Agreeing with everyone else, a documentary would be more appealing than a series.

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There was a TV series on the Royal New Zealand Ballet that aired last year. It was pretty good- showed most of the company's season from open auditions through going on tour. I'm not sure when it aired in New Zealand, but I watched it online here in the US about 6 months ago.

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If they included the culture outside of the studio, and I hope the dancers get to experience this occasionally, then I think it would be plenty entertaining. Miami Beach is a world unto itself! I think the contrast would be dramatic.


learningdance, I second your disapproval for the concocted drama.... While I'm NOT a fan of reality TV and still curse the original writers' strike, I think any venue that gets/keeps people thinking about dance can potentially be good for the industry as a whole.

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How did you watch this online here in the U.S.? I can find the episodes, but when you try to play them it states that you may only do so if you are in New Zealand. There are some little snippets on YouTube, but it's really not much. I also don't see this series for sale on Amazon.


I want to see!

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There was a very well done and I thought entertaining docudrama years ago called 'The Choir' with Gareth Malone- a choir director in England.

The series followed his story as he inspired young rugby playing boys to join his boys choir. It was on BBC America. There was no over the top drama. The people he met were so likeable and real. I still watch the repeats whenever my tivo records the episodes.



I think if the directors told the back story of the dancers that would lend itself to an awesome story line. IMHO. I am so interested in the journey and sacrifices these dancers make AND the families. Show the reality of no vacations, missed holiday gatherings, missed childhood bday parties.



I look forward to hearing more about this. Please keep us posted.

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I hope this reality series is similar to English National Ballet's 3-part Agony and Ecstasy or the Youtube series Hanging with the Rinas. There wasn't much interpersonal conflict (dancers are not acting like the typical obnoxious people you usually see on reality shows) - the "drama" was more situational, like having to learn choreography in a pinch because the choreographer was still not done choreographing. It's not a big draw for non-dancers, but for those of us who have been there, it's entertaining enough.


Of course, in the case of Hanging with the Rinas, you do get some scenes that feel manufactured, where dancers sit around a cafe and talk about stuff. Not that people don't hang out and talk about how their day went, but it sometimes feels like when you're watching Laguna Beach.


Royal New Zealand Ballet's Secret Lives of Dancers looks entertaining - too bad I'm not in NZ and can't watch it! :)


I'm excited about this new series. I doubt that there will be the typical manufactured drama (this is MCB we're talking about, not a group of nobodies trying to become D-list stars). ENB's series was very documentary-ish, and not typical reality show fare. Maybe this will be similar. Hope it'll be available online!

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I have to respectfully disagree about the documentary about English National Ballet. I saw it while I was in the UK. It made me very uncomfortable because it did highlight the drama and the tantrums. I don't think it shed a very good light on the management and if generalized, on ballet life on the whole. Yes, ballet life is grueling, the hours are long, choreographers can be unclear or still creating, the pressure to perform is high but the dramas are not an everyday occurrence and the tantrums of directors and choreographers aren't (or shouldn't be) a regular occurrence.


These documentaries or reality shows don't show ballet life in companies where the management respects their dancers and where dancers come to work in the morning knowing their schedule, their responsibilities and work in at atmosphere that fosters artistic growth and creativity. Yes, these places do exist! No, they aren't perfect but life is not what these shows depict as "everyday" or "reality." Honestly, they can't show a company that works in a professional manner; it would be too boring!


I am so interested in the journey and sacrifices these dancers make AND the families. Show the reality of no vacations, missed holiday gatherings, missed childhood bday parties.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the public understood the sacrifices? but this doesn't sell because it's not sensational enough :)


I think a different genre might make some sense. A fictional company with and attached school and all that goes on might be interesting if the character development and plot lines were there....maybe along the line of gossip girl?

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I see your point of view, and a scripted tv show about dancers would be fun too. But I like the behind-the-scenes look at the pro companies (since I never got that far in the ballet world), which is why I liked ENB's series - particularly when they showed the discussions by management! Different strokes for different folks :(

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I'm not sure if we're allowed to post links here, but I watched The Secret Lives of Dancers at http://megavideo DOT com/?v=M7MW0GR0

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I tried looking up Hanging with the Rinas on YouTube but only found about ten short disjointed clips. Does the series amount to more than this, or is that really all there is? If not, how do I access the rest of it? I enjoyed watching what was there.


I also wanted to ask about Agony and Ecstasy. Where is that to be found? I looked for this as well as Rinas on Amazon and am not finding anything.


Any additional info about these series would be appreciated!



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