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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: Breaking Pointe on the CW-Season 1

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Just saw this -

CW has ordered three more reality series in an attempt to keep the lights on in the summer...

“Breaking Pointe,” from BBC Worldwide Productions, looks at “the gritty dog-eat-dog world” of Ballet West, in Salt Lake City, Utah (via

Washington Post)


I wonder if it'll be in a similar vein as BBC's show on the English National Ballet, or the Royal New Zealand Ballet's reality show, rather than a So You Think You Can Dance type "reality" show. The CW network has put on some pretty bizarre reality shows, and it seems like a show about ballet just doesn't seem to fit in the CW's demographics/tone. Hopefully BBC will help keep it classy.

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  • Momof3darlings


  • dancemaven


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  • LaFilleSylphide


I certainly hope this show doesn't really happen. :unsure: Between the movie Black Swan and Dance Moms (yes, I watch), it would be nice to have a positive spin on dance/ballet rather than another "dog-eat-dog" viewpoint. I can't tell you the comments I received (I'm sure many of you did as well) from non-dance friends about my DD after they saw Black Swan. I felt like I had to educate each one and it was exhausting. Why not a show that uplifts the arts and dance? Oh wait, silly me! That wouldn't be "exciting" tv. :pinch:

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Really? Ballet West? I didn't know they had a "dog-eat-dog" world there.

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Thank you LaFilleSylphide, I meant to add that to my post and I was so wrapped up in my thoughts/grammer that I just plum forgot! Ballet West? Really? My knowledge of Ballet West, albeit limited, is that they don't have the drama of other places, that they are very much a family. Guess we'll see what CW digs up. :nixweiss: Not much, I imagine.

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No way, there has to be something dug up. They are a very friendly and cozy family group type company... and that's EXACTLY why I'm eager to see how entertainment can put a dramatic spin on everything. Perhaps I'm the opposite of most posters here when it comes to having a reality show about ballet, but I'm currently a failed dancer working in tv production and film - so both aspects interest me greatly (including how CW will hack and slash an alternate reality from their footage). I'm sure most ballet dancers know how the ballet world works, if other people don't - well at least they can be entertained. It's like that other "dance moms" show that this forum has a billion posts about: many people have encountered the actual "Crazy Moms" and have attested that they're quite calm, but it's like a different kind of production to graft together a dramatic reality tv show.


However, I'm pleased that this won't be so child-manipulation heavy since Ballet West is a company of adults. Also, let's not forget - it's TV reality, not actual reality. Suspiria didn't lead people to believe that there are mass murders in ballet academies, and Black Swan didn't cause an uprising of psychotic ballet dancers with a penchant for sharp shards of broken glass either.

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I don't believe that reality shows do much for dance or the arts. I do believe that documentaries, live shows, and interviews enhance the public's understanding of the work it takes to do dance. Reality tv is a manipulated genre.

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If they are advertising it as "the gritty dog-eat-dog world", you know the line they are going to take!

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One does not have to be in a drama filled situation for drama to occur that can be slanted. My job in a dance studio is usually drama free. On the average day, I only have to handle one "iffy" situation. My boss was out sick and as I opened up, she was explaining a situation she needed me to handle for her. I was on my cell talking to her. A bunch of drama could have been created with that footage if a director had the ability to take my words and put them with a completely different set of images. (I'll note there was no one else in the studio but me and my daughter at the time so it wasn't my normal "at work" set of professional talk. There was "you are absolutely kidding me!" "No way", "I can't believe you are having to do this", "here we go again", "give me a break", "that is the most unprofessional thing I've ever heard". These are things that no one in our studio would have ever heard. But if put together with a string of images of the actual dancers and parents in the studio (even though this situation did not involve them at all) imagine the drama. FYI, the situation was simply a scheduling issue with the school where her recital is held.....again and was quickly solved after I dropped the signed contract and copy of cancelled check to the office she needed me to.


I think about the very quick situations that occur when casting is posted. Someone is happy, someone is sad, someone is hopeful, someone is fearful. When the dancers go into the studio, they all encourage each other and get over it before class even starts because they are friends and do support each other. But a camera there on expressions at that very moment that the dancer then has to explain on camera like the Dance Moms must do in those one on one clips, then oops.....drama.

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Yes, exactly, Momof3darlings! The expressions! I have only watched that show a couple of times (online), but that is the majority of what they do. They film peoples reactions in somewhat stressful situations & then coerce them to explain themselves on camera. That tactic could make things look bad anywhere!


Sorry if this is off topic, but it makes me think of a situation my daughter experienced years ago. She was the new girl in her ballet school, and on the ride home from ballet she told me about a strange thing that was happening in one of her classes. She said that every time it was her turn to go across the floor, one of the other students would glare at her with the nastiest most hateful expression on her face! Then, when DD would finish & go back into line, the girl would smile warmly & congratulate her on doing a good job! Together, we came up with the theory that maybe the girl was having resentful feelings towards her (and didn't even realize that she was making such ugly faces), but was really trying to be kind in her actions & supress the negativity. We came up with a game plan & DD ignored the faces & responded warmly to the kind words from this girl & eventually they became friends. I can only imagine how the drama would have blossomed if the "Dance Moms" cameras had been there!!

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How would Ballet West have time to fit these production/camera people into their schedules? How do they not think it will degrade the integrity of their world there? Is this to try to sell more tickets or place them on the map more? Maybe British television produces something better in terms of reality shows than what we see here? We have liked discovering Royal New Zealand Ballet's show online, but I noticed from when I watched, at least, that they were trying to focus on couples and break-ups and the drama that goes with that as much as they were on the dance issues. Then add the stress participants have to being filmed all the time? Hmmm...

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Awww man :wallbash:




What really gets me is "Docu-soaps on hot hotel and Ballet West"


The word docu-soap itself drips with planned wannabe drama. Argh.




"....another takes us into the world of ballet, and the third documents the hard-partying employees of a hot Miami hotel."


Really? Maybe it is just me, but it bugs me that classical ballet and wild partiers are side by side like that as if related under the same category somehow.




Every profession in life has ups and downs, no matter what it may be - to professional careers to professional sports, and many people know that. Just now it might be time to see some more ups from the ballet world. Obviously ballet is not perfect, but people are in it and love it for a reason, just like in any other type of hobby or passion. It seems like ballet is one of the last art forms left that gets willingly and openly penalized, compared to other styles like singing, acting, musicals, other types of dance, fine art etc that get glamourized and/or accepted.



Anyway, hopefully I am 100% wrong on this show and it proves to be a highly intellectual observation on the proper everyday going on's, training, strength and etiquette of dancers. Again....hopefully.

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I think that this article offers a glimmer of hope that this will not be "Reality TV" as it is commonly known. Sure, no matter how sincere the intentions, they will have little choice but to edit in a way that will gain and keep public interest through 6 episodes, but maybe enough of the good intentions will keep it from being utter garbage.

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Ballet like other venues is in desperate need of revenue. TV money is quick and good money. There was a show on Ovation about senior year at Juliard. I thought it was very well made and it showed how the students progressed from their final year to getting jobs at professional companies. The majority ended up in Europe which I found very interesting.

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No doubt that the income from allowing a TV production company through your doors is highly an incentive. Arts funding is suffering at present, and if allowing a Reality TV production to come and not only increase your coffers, but create publicity and accessibility to the general public who may not have had any interest in ballet before is quite a tantalizing option. One can't deny that this is a lucrative opportunity for any ballet company... including Miami City Ballet (who I thought was in the works to do a reality show based on financial hardships).


I did crack up over the listing of Ballet next to docu soap about "hard partying... hot Miami hotel". Seeing those two statements listed together was amusing, but while everyone is feeling bad for the way the ballet world may be represented, no one's sympathizing the poor hotelier or hospitality managers of the world right now. I hate to think that there's a seedy underbelly of the hospitality industry that's never been exposed... oh my, are those sheets truly clean? Is my concierge actually sober? Hahaha!

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  • 1 month later...

Breaking Pointe will debut on May 31, 8 pm on the CW network. Set your DVRs!!! :D


From the Ballet West website:


BREAKING POINTE is an inside look at the competitive world of ballet and the intense demands and passion it requires. It stars the dancers and artistic staff of Utah’s own Ballet West.

“This project is a wonderful opportunity for Ballet West and the dance world.” said Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute. “When the BBC approached us, their idea was to create the antidote to the movie ‘Black Swan.’”

The CW Network describes BREAKING POINTE as “an intense, unfiltered look at one of the most competitive ballet companies in the country. Beneath the beauty and glamour of the dance and costumes is a gritty dog-eat-dog world of extreme athleticism, focus, dedication, passion, pressure and, of course, the hunt for the unattainable…perfection.”

“My hope for BREAKING POINTE is that we can set the record straight about the dance world,” said Sklute. “I want to present the real joys and heartaches - dramatic, yes, but not with overblown and exaggerated stereotypes.”

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