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Ballet Talk for Dancers
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Television: Breaking Pointe on the CW-Season 1

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swanchat

Dancemaven,

 

I agree with you about The Company being the most realistic movie to date. I also agree a dancer's life is pretty boring overall (unless you are the dancer and doing it because it's what you love). Yes, if there's too much drama, it's not a healthy place to work. Really, this is not so different from any job. I do hope that before the episodes are over, that the viewers understand that these dancers have not only "dreamed of being a ballet dancer" since they were 4 years old but that they have worked their tails off to learn the technique, fight injuries, become strong and all the other stuff that goes into training. I also hope that the viewers can understand how difficult it is to find a job in the first place and that working through the ranks means all the way from trainee/second company to apprentice then corps... etc. Although Beckanne seemed to skip to demi-soloist overnight, I believe she started in BWII and has had to work her way up too.

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Momof3darlings

I just want to mention, since there has been alot of use of the word "boring" to describe the dancer's day. I would disagree from DDs assessment of her day. I believe what you truly mean is that it's repetitive to those who might think doing something different every day is invigorating. So I venture to say that while dancers do the same thing almost every day, it's only "boring" to those who don't like their job. Sort of like making tutus which is one of my loves. When I have alot to make, I get up and do the same thing each and every day in the same order. However, the tutus are NEVER the same, and I'm never bored by doing them because each one presents a different challenge, a different result and a different end to the project. But a friend who doesn't like sewing the same type project everyday might find that boring. Although slight, there truly is a difference! :)

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marigold

In reference to this show, "boring" could likely mean the time spent watching dancers wander around clothing stores shopping or going back several times to a coffee shop to talk about their romantic relationships. It's "boring" in the way that other reality shows tend to be boring. Not that dancers don't need to shop for clothes, too... Just an opinion and I am sure we'll be stopping to tune in again to see what has progressed!

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Dancer830

DD, hubby and I watched the show last night and we all came away with a different perspective. DD enjoyed it as she attended the Ballet West SI for 8 weeks last summer and recognized, or had been taught by, a number of the people she saw. She also recognized the studio from Saturday classes and was happy to see the beautiful mountains of Utah again. DD will also be attending the University of Utah next fall so for her she thoroughly enjoyed it. Hubby wanted to see more dancing, but thought it was OK. I, on the other hand, was suddenly VERY concerned (more than usual) for DD and her chosen career path. I know it is difficult to dance professionally, that is no secret, but the uncertainty from year to year really struck me. How do you make friends? How do you grow roots? How do you have a relationship? I asked DD if she was concerned and the answer was "nope, I know it is like that." I asked her if she is prepared to potentially move a lot, DD said "we'll see when I get there, IF I get there. If I'm unhappy I'll go back to school." Thank goodness for a levelheaded DD and a double major! I pray she realizes her dream, but I like that she is steadier than I am about this uncertain path! I love that this series has furthered our ballet/academics discussions around the house.

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ceecee

DD shared something yesterday that I thought was cute... She follows Allison DeBona on "Twitter". One of Allison's "tweets" after the show was a closeup photo of her foot next to Beckanne's with the caption, "My skinny foot & Beckanne's baby cub bear foot... man this rivalry is intense!"

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Momof3darlings

Thanks marigold. I wasn't speaking of the show and it being "boring". I'll give anyone that feeling. I was speaking of the implication that because a dancer's day might be consistent in nature, that it only allows for "boring" footage.

 

Having 3 DDs home to watch it together when it came on the 2nd night. DD3 didn't buy into it, but she's still young and could relate more to the kids ages on Dance Moms. That is why she watches, for the kids, NOT Abby Lee. DD2 liked it but didn't love it. She watches Dance Moms and fast forwards through the dialogue to only watch the featured dances. She's only a ballet lover because of her sister. DD1 thought it was a decent effort in trying to show life in a company on TV with emphasis on the "on TV" and will watch at least once more to see where it goes from here making a decision later. She doesn't watch Dance Moms at all and watched one episode of Bunheads online or a trailer of it and said that was a waste.

 

I wonder though, how the trickle down effect of all the dance on TV and movies right now is helping or hurting that which is numbers going into studios for the first time. Negative or positive?

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gav

I watched the first episode and thought the tone was set in the intro: "Why do we do it? We do it to be perfect." Riiiight...

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Dancer830

ceecee, I thought the fat foot comment on the show was pretty nasty too. Seeing how this is such a competitive field, I suppose that some feel planting even a tiny seed of doubt in another could be considered an edge. On the other hand, maybe they are friends and it is a running joke that was played up for TV, at least in this case.

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swanchat

In regards to the boring comment. Mom of 3, you hit the nail on the head. It's not boring if you love what you are doing. No matter what field. No matter the repetition. I think it's the illusion that the life of a ballet dancer is glamorous that is actually juxtaposed to the reality of the every day life of a dancer. It's just not that glamorous and yes, Marigold, it was the coffee shop and especially the clothes shopping that I found to be boring and stiff and well, scripted. I don't watch reality TV and if this is a taste of it, I don't think I would enjoy it at all. DD on the other hand does watch some reality tv and wasn't put off by those scenes at all. She also said that the contract portion of the show (both the envelopes and the meetings with the directors) were quite realistic. Also accurate is the uncertainty from year to year.

 

Edited to add:

Regarding the fat foot thing. DD has known Beckanne for years and she's heard Beckanne talk about her "cankles" for years... not sure I'd read too much nastiness into the comment.

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LovesLabor

Well, I'm a bit late, but I finally managed to watch the first episode online today. While parts of it may be a little artificial and 'stiff', I do think it would be interesting for teen students (and their novice parents) to watch? I'll be interested to see if my teen agrees! To me it does give a little peek into company life in a fairly unsensational way: the contract insecurity; the problem of maintaining relationships in such an impermanent context; the importance of maintaining professionalism despite knowing you have been 'let go' or that you have a possible career-changing interview with the director later that day; the financial repercussions of suddenly losing a contract - some things that I might not ordinarily consider or fully appreciate. It was interesting for me to also see some of the same dynamics often found in the student classroom being dealt with by the adults e.g. the precocious newcomer and the potential resentment that could surface by those who have been there longer and worked hard for where they are at. I agree that camera angles were probably milked at times, and certain comments may have been dramatically placed. Still, I didn't feel like anyone was trying to recreate Black Swan here. It was sufficiently 'boring', if you will, to come across as relatively convincing, as these things go. If it gets much more 'interesting' then I'll probably pass! :yucky:

 

I do not watch television - just don't have the time - and the reality shows I have occasionally seen from many years ago just haven't really impressed me too much, to say the least. But I do think this can have a certain value, if they continue to keep it fairly 'normal' and don't ramp up the gossip factor too much. If I was part of this world on a daily basis, or if I had zero connection to ballet, I probably wouldn't be drawn in too much. But it did give me, and hopefully my daughter some things to think about.

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LaFilleSylphide

Haha, artificial and stiff for sure! It's really odd seeing the city I lived in and the studios I've been in on TV when I'm an ocean away. I was wildly entertained, but super amused by the created rivalries and also the fact that the dancers, during their off time, share meals together in empty restaurants that are usually very full. Also... seeing a taxi in Salt Lake was very weird too. Who takes a taxi to the airport in Salt Lake? :D I guess you can't add another random friend character to drop you off at the airport when you want to highlight the young couple. Anyway, I enjoyed it thoroughly - I just wish that it didn't look so fake.

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LaFilleSylphide

By the way, for clarification, having lived and danced in SLC let me clear somethings up:

 

1.) Bars - yes, we have them. Many, and lots of really beautiful and chic cool ones too.

2.) Sunday - you can still get your drink on, there's no weird law about drinking on Sunday that I was aware of.

3.) The brouhaha - the weird law that Utah folks have is this "membership" fee paid when you enter a bar. They used to treat bars like private clubs, and you paid a membership fee to get in. It was supposed to create loyalty to one place and discourage bar hopping, I think. For an out of state person like me, it just infuriated me. "You want me to pay cover to go inside a normal bar??? Wha-what??" I think that's over because of the Olympics though. I remember remnants of some bars still doing it sometimes, but by my 4th month there, no one was really doing that anymore.

4.) The drinks all have measuring devices to control how a bar tender pours... also strange.

5.) You can't buy wine and liquor from the grocery store... tres weird.

 

Other than that, Salt Lake is an extremely beautiful city. The mountains in the winter are covered with snow and it looks like a storybook illustration. The city is amazingly clean... like ridiculously clean. The parks are all well groomed, there are all kinds of random family and public activities for people to enjoy. They have an awesome University with a dance program in which you can still get a Ballet degree, they are very supportive of the arts, and ballet is still very promoted there. There's also a bunch of adult classes you can take from Ballet West and SLC Ballet in fact. For a not very well known city, the dance scene is thriving quite nicely.

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Momof3darlings

Thanks loveslabor for sharing that link. I enjoyed her take and agree with you, it's more along the lines of what I felt watching.

 

I also laughed at the whole "cankles" thing. Dancer sarcasm and self-joking happens all the time and I could easily see DD and her friends picking themselves apart in jest: "yeah, well you may have cankles but I've got........, I'll trade you". It will be hard for that to come across in translation on TV.

 

Time will still tell where the show goes from here.

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swanchat

Thank you for the link loveslabor. It was well-written and helped to focus my thoughts on the show.

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