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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: Breaking Pointe on the CW-Season 1


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Skittl1321

So Beckanne is a YAGP wonder-kid. One of her interviews she talked about knowing all the variations, and knowing their steps, but how doing them in the context of a story ballet makes them mean so much more. It was very interesting. It will be interesting to see if she stays at Ballet West- which seems to have gone out of its way to recruit her, or moves on to a bigger company.

 

This last episode also revealed a bit more about why Allison was so stressed out. She was losing rehearsal time because her partners were gone. That information would have been better placed in the episode where she was a raging bunch of crazy...

 

I liked seeing the clip of the audition. I had no idea company auditions were so crowded. There was barely room to do a tendu at the bar! Wow. But for the most part, this episode did not have nearly enough dancing.

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Victoria Leigh

None of the episodes had enough dancing, IMO. It was way more soap opera than ballet, and so much of it did not ring true to me at all. I watched it because I always hoped to see more dancing, but I disagreed with a bunch of things that were stated right from the beginning of each show. For instance, the use of "sacrifice" as one of the three big requirements. What sacrifice? If you are doing what you love the most and what you would rather be doing than anything else, then what is sacrificed? And then there is the big deal about doing it because it's a search for perfection. Huh? Sure, we all want to continue to improve and to get better and to become very good, however, perfection doesn't exist, and that was certainly not the reason I danced! Are we perfectionists? Yes, but hopefully also at least a tad realistic. I danced for the reasons I just stated about sacrifice. It wasn't a decision, it was what I did, and wanted to be doing more than anything else. That is obsession and passion, yes, but sacrifice or to be "perfect"? No.

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dancincorgi

Victoria, I just copied and sent your above comment on "Breaking Pointe" to my 19 y.o. daughter who I know watches the show, and she messaged me back that she completely and heartily agrees with you, which I was so happy to hear! Sounds to me like the show pushes some unhealthy attitudes towards ballet in order to give it more drama.

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Victoria Leigh

It definitely does that!

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Katarinaballerina

I had a question about last night's episode. There was a whole bit about Christiana potentially not being able to dance because her partner was sick. Does that really happen, that a dancer would be "benched" so to speak because they would have to perform with different partners? I was surprised to hear that because in all the professional shows I've danced in (not classical ballet), if a cast member is sick or injured, the healthy dancer will go to work with an understudy/swing and undoubtedly perform that night, just with another person, rather than have say two understudies go on because they had rehearsed together. I didn't get to finish the episode so I don't know what happened, but I was just curious why Adam wouldn't have just had Christiana immediately rehearsing with either an understudy or someone who performs the role on another night?

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Victoria Leigh

Because that added more drama to the show. :wink:

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Thank you, Ms. Leigh, for your wise comments about the show! I also agree wholeheartedly! There does seem to be quite a bit of drama that seems manufactured, and therefore inauthentic. The other thing that made me crazy was how so much of it was repetitive (repeating the same clips with those statements about perfection and sacrifice over and over again, especially after a commercial break---of which there were many).

 

However, to answer Katarinaballerina's question about a soloist not being able to dance because a partner is unable---while I do not know if this is common or not, I do know of at least one instance where this happened in a company's (whose size and reputation are probably similar to Ballet West's) Nutcracker performance. In this case, the director decided to use dancers from another cast (different principal ballerina and male). According to my DD who was dancing in this production and present during the rehearsal when the decision was made, she surmised it had to do with the differing heights of the partners (that is, the male principal for the other cast was not suitable for the female whose partner was injured). At any rate, this was the final decision of the director, and my DD reported that it created some drama, not only because the principal ballerina did not dance her part for that night, but also because it created some ripple effects in casting for that particular performance.

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, I can see it happening when the partners are not suited to each other height-wise, and also in Nutcracker. This makes sense because there are several casts for Snow and Grand Pas, and most of them get to dance their roles quite a number of times throughout the run of the production.

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Christiana actually did perform that night with the other male lead from the opposite cast see 15:21 of Episode 6 Curtain Call. Also, her original partner didn't look all that dizzy/sick to me... he was upright. Just saying.

 

"Christiana is my prima ballerina and I need her to dance on closing night no matter what..." - A Sklute

 

I doubt the issue was open for debate except for the purpose of the story being told.

 

(This is one of the perks of only watching this thing online -- the others being no commercials, and the ability to close a tab and be done with it when it gets ridiculous - though overall, I am happy for the positive mainstream exposure the ballet community has received.)

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gavotteindmajor

In one of the articles linked in this forum mentioned that some couples were pitted against each other for parts or were each others' competition. However, Thomas is apparently the only gay male in the company and single, so unless there's a new trend of males and females both going for the title of Swan Queen, that statement was just a bit of muckraking. But isn't drama the whole point of a reality show? As long as I see clips of commentary from the characters between scenes, I know drama is happening.

 

**concerning the little moments of commentary between scenes, I know they film all of the little monologues at the same time, but in an effort to fool viewers into thinking this is reality, couldn't they have had the dancers change clothes? It makes it look as if Beckanne has an unhealthy obsession with pink leotards and black tights.

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LaFilleSylphide

It makes it look like some dancers live in a single green tank top. Haha! I haven't seen the last show yet, but overall I do wish there was more dancing. I admit that the highlight of my weekend was tuning into this show. Even though I wished there was more dancing, I would say I'd still watch a ballet themed relationship-drama. I suppose if they really wanted to go "inside the relationships" with it, it would have been nice to see more of what it's like to be married and dancing in the same company (like Christiana).

 

Seeing the studios, stage, people, and city I was attached to was super neat for me, so I loved it - but really... I kind of hated Allison and Rex's relationship. By "kind of" I mean I couldn't stand it, hence the habit my roommate and I made of ad-libbing over the top of his dialogue with stalker voice. He seemed unhealthily fixated on her (probably due to the awkward scripting or being in front of a camera in general). He was also portrayed as rather passive aggressively manipulative... ie: I don't want to go out, but I just want to be with you. So I'll go out and make myself miserable in front of all our peers so you give me attention (even if it's negative attention), then we'll have a heart-to-heart talk at the park where cameras are already set up on tripods conveniently.

 

Besides that, this show was a fun ride for me.

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gavotteindmajor

I think Rex is sort of stiff around cameras, which is why he seems sort of jumpy and curt at times. And so would I--discussing your very much overdue DTR (define the relationship) with a girl isn't exactly what one wants to do on television

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I agree with LaFilleSylphide...it was something to look forward to watching while lounging, a guilty pleasure. I so do not watch TV at all other than sports, so I was *thrilled* that there was something for me for at least 6 weeks! Yeah, it's "reality-scripted" TV, but based on the snippets of most reality TV/most TV in general that I see when my partner is watching (I seriously have to leave the room when it get TOO stupid), Breaking Pointe at least had a good setting and characters who had interesting careers and lives....and much more good looking, well spoken, and compelling than the cast of The Real Housewives or The Jersey Shore!

 

I really liked seeing Christiana and her husband...they seem to both have good heads on their shoulders and feet on the ground. The Rex and Allison show got to be too much, I agree, but I think as the show went on, even though Allison was getting the "villain edit", as more info came about regarding her having to catch up from lost key years of ballet and what sounds like a career-related split with a long term partner that she loved (sounds like they both had career goals, ambitions, opportunities that didn't jive logistically to be in the same place), I could understand her more and relate. Take a perfectionist who has catching up to do, has a limited time in which to do it, and also make her choose the career she's passionate about over the guy she's passionate about and yeah, I can see how she ends up putting a lot of pressure on herself...I'm sure she feels like she HAS to succeed because she's bet a lot on it. Rex seems like a nice guy, but young, naive, and too pushy. I think they just were not on the same page/didn't want the same things/different personalities and I hope they stay broken up!

 

Yes, I would have preferred a really nerdy documentary style nitty gritty ballet show all about the dancing, but I also know that sort of thing has no prayer on even a cable TV network. I'm hoping there's a second season and yes, I will be more interested in following what happens for the Ballet West company regardless. They tried to educate and entertain in this show and I think they succeeded.

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As far as the sacrifice thing goes, yes Ms. Leigh, i get your point. On the other hand.. there are other things in life which dancers love also. We talk often on this site about how important it is to understand that we are raising whole people and not just dancers. With this in mind, I think it IS fair to say that dancers SACRIFICE many of those other LOVES in order to dance. Sometimes it is heart wrenching. I mean in real life. Not just for TV.

 

Someone mentioned upthread a ways that they know someone who knows some of these dancers and that what we see is what is real. I must say that I also know someone who knows some of these people very well and we are only seeing tiny snipits of their lives that paint a picture about them that may not be so accurate.

 

Someone else mentioned a little bit ago that we all react in our own ways to how these people are portrayed and that how we do says something about who we are. Well, I am reacting with empathy. Judge me how you will folks.

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