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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: Breaking Pointe on the CW-Season 1

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So we talk alot about the obviously noticeable characters that are more "in your face" as they say... but what about those nice young brothers? In the show, one of them seems to exhibit really weird and strange unhealthy relationship issues. I have a lodger that lives with us, and since he knows nothing about ballet he makes blind (but sometimes very insightful) quips about the characters all the time. I monopolize the television set when it plays, so he has no choice but to watch it with us. He has gotten into the habit of doing "voice overs" for the people on the show, similar to "Mystery Science Theater," and one of the interesting fake voice overs he uses all the time is for that brother, Rex. I'd describe it as obsessed stalker creeper voice.


We laugh about it while we're watching since we're distant, but if that is actually how he treated their relationship, I'd find it more than a bit odd. I mean, how many times does a girl have to say, "I like hanging out with you. You're my friend." before a guy starts realizing, "Maybe I should stop dropping words like love and future."

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  • LaFilleSylphide


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LaFille-I did go back and watch given your question. Some of the comments could have been out of the earshot of the costumers but some of the other comments were definitely in earshot or direct conversations with the costumers as she called one by name when asking the question. Knowing how a few pro shops work, asking the costumers (who would have pulled garments, loaded machines and hand needles to work on a specific costume in one session would have been if not a bit rude at least unfortunately forward). Most dancers would have at least cleared that with Artistic prior to going in and asking. :)


I could also buy after watching it again that it was a bit of production switch-a-roo if she had not had the same sort of high strung interaction with the conductor later in the show. It had the same tone to it as the costume shop situation. So at some point, whether Allison is getting more footage because she seemed to be going through a drama filled time during the filming of the show, and that happens to be convenient for the show or whether she is just a high strung personality as many people are.....the judgement others have of her from the show seems okay for them to have. Her music should definitely be right for her! I'll stand with her to the end of time on that one. But there is a way to handle it and faces that are picked up enough for your AD to say something about it is not the way.


Just one who is in the armchair because some of the things in the show do sound familiar enough for me to want to see more.

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I am a little surprised that a dancer was speaking to the conductor about music herself--usually that is handled between the AD (or ballet master/mistress) and the conductor--with good reason, since dancers have been known to make very unreasonable and uneducated requests regarding tempi, among other things.

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I was surprised at that also Hans. They didn't show how that happened to occur. I'd only assume that either she was invited down by the AD because of the onstage issues or that she just went down herself with the coach, but I was definitely surprised at that also. Especially when you could see the AD sitting right beside the conductor saying "slow it down".


GIven the ratings, we'll have a show to talk about this season and not next anyway, so enjoy it while we can. :) I could be wrong, and they'll keep it on anyway but with the published ratings even though the buzz is that people like the show the more episodes they watch. It may be too late for it to gain acceptance.


garnering a slight 0.3 rating in the 18-49 demo and 836,000 viewers.

*quote from outside source
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One of the things that surprised me was the man who was shown muttering under his breathe about the tempo (while dancing) and then it cut to the AD saying that the music wasn't right, but oh well, the dancer didn't complain.


So while I think the girl is being very unprofessional in how she addressed the conductor, and everyone else (and it likely is staged- maybe the costumer was told "we need to see a stressed out ballerina, so she is going to come in an be impatient with you") the man is just going to be frustrated because his issues aren't being addressed, despite the AD thinking there is a problem.

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I'll just throw this out there from my observation: when watching the scene last week when Allison and Rex were talking in the park, all I kept thinking was, 'why don't you just tell him that you can't really hang with him anymore! you are really just adding to your own problems and hurting him by keeping him at your side. It's just not right.' I think her friend Christianna (the principal dancer I think that's her name) was trying to tell her that at lunch also. Now they could have edited the part out where Allison says that, and he says he doesn't care and he'll stay anyway, but I sure am hoping she did say it. I just think it's wrong and selfish to let him hang out for her benefit. In my opinion, not much of a friend. Brings back memories from when I was young :whistling:

I do think Allison is being made a 'pawn' of the show, but she is an easy target. The producers could have promised them anything, and when they get in the edit suite, bets are all off with signed disclaimers. All in all, I wouldn't say they are going too overboard given the fact that there is a relationship there between the company and tv and even most producers won't generally go back on their word. And there isn't anything in my opinion extremely out of the ordinary happening when you look at it in terms of a workplace. Maybe I'm just being too trusting.

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Apparently our 'reality' show jadedness is showing. I had a conversation with a friend who know several of the featured dancers quite well and is more than familiar with the others. Their real personalities are what we see.


How we react, respond to, or sympathize with these folks is, of course, part of our own personalities. :wink:


And I don't think the costume room was staged. Everyone I know who has done fittings for productions has seen that personality. Trust me, that costume department is under every bit of stress that Allison was feeling. Costume fittings are part and parcel of the dancer's job. I believe Ballet West is an AGMA company. Pretty sure the contract has clauses regarding costume fittings.


Also, costume fittings are not scheduled willy-nilly by the costume director. Whoever is working out the rehearsal schedule is probably the one setting aside the times and scheduling the various costume fittings. Trust me, when you are facing 25 corps fittings and someone wants to 'go ahead', it can be rather stressful. If there was a problem with the fitting time, it would be much more helpful for everyone for the dancer to come sometime long before the appointed time, hat in hand, and explain the time problem and ask politely if there is another time the costumer could do her fitting. Often that approach will work. Turning whining diva during a group fitting is not. Whining divas usually seem to feel there is no good time for a fitting because they just don't have time for them and they are an imposition.


And, whether it is said directly to the costumer or not, the costumer IS aware of the mumblings and high-strung dancer. For that dancer, the costume becomes one more thing to blame for her stress---which is usually coming from herself.

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I totally agree dancemaven. Costumers should definitely be given respect! I too know the amount of work it takes just to SCHEDULE a costume fitting and get everyone there at once. And let's not forget that if it's for a group, all must be present so they can make sure they all look the same! So whining about how long it's taking is just not acceptable. Certainly, she should know better by now.

I see that the director praised her in the show last night. He does have a lot of faith in her ability, and I suspect that there was a lot of focus on Allison just because she was open with her feelings and we got to see her sweat and gripe. Not unusual for anyone to do, but she was pretty vocal about it, and therefore the producers probably pounced on it. Again, she isn't doing herself any favors! She should be mature enough to know that you don't do that around the cameras! Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, Beckann may seem like nothing upsets her, but perhaps she just knows when you are in the spotlight, you just do your best to put a good front forward. A sign of maturity in my opinion.

Also, the show was pretty heavy on Allison last night. I was disappointed about that. I didn't want it to turn into the Allison show!

I did enjoy seeing some of the others dance on stage for a moment. Would have liked to see more.

Something else I found interesting; they did not play any of the music for Beckann's variation when she was actually doing it - they substituted I-don't-know-what. I definitely know the music because my DD did that same variation at YAGP. I guess they could not obtain the rights to it - it is an extremely rare piece of music to find....we had so much trouble with that music!!

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I am a little surprised that a dancer was speaking to the conductor about music herself--usually that is handled between the AD (or ballet master/mistress) and the conductor--with good reason, since dancers have been known to make very unreasonable and uneducated requests regarding tempi, among other things.


I have been in 2 companies where the more senior dancers spoke directly with the maestro when discussing tempi in certain variations/solos or pas. RARELY in corps/group work. They have earned the right to speak POLITELY with each other, co worker to co worker, with the respect each other deserves. I have never heard things asked by the ballerina or danseur in a disrespectful way as they KNOW that the conductor *can* make or break their performance with the tempo. I also find that dancers of yore (gosh, not very long ago...25 years or so) knew far more about the nuances of the music they are dancing too, were more 'educated' in the music field (for example, I have played an instrument, had to take music theory, and many different types of music classes in college/conservatory). Today's dancers don't seem to have the music depth to know how to describe where, when and what they want done. While the dancers and conductor/maestro speak different languages, they must find a common language in order to communicate with each other in order to get a perfect performance. This cannot be done with impatience and rudeness.

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I feel like I'm watching this show from the outside in. Things I've noted that I think is valuable information for DD: (1) How company roles and promotions work. (2) How company contracts work. (3) The demands on a dancers body day in and day out. (4) The physical and mental stress of the job. (5) The difficulty of establishing relationships -both friendships and romantic relationships. (6) The expense and timing of the audition process. (7) The passion and dedication needed to survive in the dance world. (8) The competitive nature within a dance company. (9) How to professionally accept your casting roles (the closed expressions and lack of cheering, bragging, or crying in front of others).


In a way, all of these things seem like negatives, depending on the spin or perspective you place upon them. I think it's important to know the realities of what you are getting yourself into. I did find the show informative and entertaining.


I think there are many teachable moments for teen dancers who want to enter this world. For example, we see how Allison is cracking under the pressure of both her professional and personal life. We are watching her as she demonstrates unprofessional behavior. She now has the negative attention of the AD. She has also made her co-workers feel uncomfortable. We've watched as Rex allows his personal relationship to interfere with his job. The girl who was let go (can't think of her name) -did you notice the clip where she was acting really negative in rehearsal? If she is like that a lot, then I can see why the AD did not give her a renewed contract. And then there is Ronnie -kind of cocky, but it looks like it's about to come crashing down on him. Did you notice how the AD mentioned Ronnie needed to improve his technique?


So what can a dancer learn from all of this now? Perhaps they can learn how to handle themselves professionally at all times. They can learn how it's important to separate their personal life from their job. They can learn how to manage stress, frustration, and anxiety. They can learn to always work on improving -to compete with themselves and not others. They can learn how to handle rejection and not getting what they want when they want it (roles, promotions). I think the whole show is rather fascinating and offers an interesting perspective into the dance world.

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Backstagemom, I totally agree with everything you said. DD is young (10), and so we have not let her watch the show in its entirety. The club scenes in particular have not been appropriate for her to view. But I've always found plenty to discuss with her, and it has mainly been the issues you raise in your post. Of course, I do most of the talking, and she just nods and listens. She doesn't have the maturity and experience to really understand the tricky workplace dynamics, but I figure it is a good first glimpse into the realities of life as a professional dancer. I think it would be helpful to watch it together again five years down the road when she is ready to think through these things for herself. And of course, she will see some of these issues herself on a younger level as a member of her student company, because those same personalities can be found in the teen and tween set.

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I have to take my "crashing down" statement about Ronnie back. I thought he was the one who fell in the previews, but apparently it was Rex. I still think Ronnie is cocky though. :yes:

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Just watching this online now and saw how instead of hastening the tempo for Alison's Paquita solo, the conductor slowed it down even more (or so the story goes at least). Horrible, but given that she was shown talking condescendingly about him to other dancers- including using a bleeped out f word - in a previous episode - I am not sure that it wasn't at least a tiny bit personal on his part. Lesson learned hopefully. Painful one.

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And didn't Allison's solo has overdubbed music also? I couldn't really tell if it was messing with her dancing or not :shrug:

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It was actual music for that Paquita variation whether overdubbed (probably) or not - but it was based on her conversations with the camera that the conductor slowed it down. Not cool on his part - or maybe it was solely the subpar commuication with no malevolent intent.


Hopefully it's all pretend, but I remember thinking if that conductor was my dad or husband I would be kind of annoyed at all the mean things she said about him in prior episodes. Not cool on her part.

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