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Ballet Talk for Dancers
GretchenStar

Television: Breaking Pointe on the CW-Season 1

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LaFilleSylphide

I see, that's new. In the years before, it seemed like the University of Utah basically provided space for them regarding dorms and studios. As some of you may know, there's Ballet West, Ballet West II, and University of Utah has it's own performing company called Utah Ballet. Very cool for a University program to have. I assumed that in between being aware that contracts were due, many of these dancers had at least considered auditioning for other companies. I wasn't under the impression that the guys were thinking they'd just walk into a company and go, "Hey... like, I didn't renew my demi-soloist contract with my former employee, but you're totally look for a principal right? Right??"

 

I think this show has the hardship of also trying to reach a normal non-ballet audience too, so with only 6 episodes, they're probably not going to go into the details and nuances of a ballet dancer's auditioning life any farther than that statement about how auditions are self funded by the individual dancer. My goodness, one could make an entire reality show about the pains of auditioning and job hunting in ballet (and all the other dance forms - jazz, music video hip hop, cruise ship, etc). It would probably be pretty entertaining, actually.

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ceecee

Episode 3 definitely showed more of the kind of stress we are used to! My heart was breaking for Allison, and the expressions on stager, Elena's face reminded me so much of the looks that one of DD's teachers gives.

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BallerinaDanse

I felt bad for Allison and I'm sure I've had a class that was like that before. Just perhaps not as intense. But in some ways I felt like she didn't handle it that well. What Rex said to her was probably true though- that she just had a lot of rolls and was always thinking of something during the variation. A very sad part was when she was bent down and said, "I'm falling apart."

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Mobadt

In my mind, the producers are just trying to create drama with her again. They are trying to make her 'appear' to be the only one having any issues! They are only showing the times when Miss Elena stops the rehearsal to correct Allison. And that comment 'I'm falling apart' - I would imagine she was out of breath doing something after dancing a great deal and was just making one of those 'I'm an old person' comments. I know I myself have said that joking around when I do something strenuous at my age. I bet when she sees this episode, she is going to be upset!

Having said that, I even feel like they are trying to make her look unhappy. Maybe it's the only drama they can find there. I did really like this episode the best I think. It did feel more like their true routine to me - or what I would guess their routine would be. I'm just glad it's on! I wish it were more than 6 episodes - I hadn't thought about it only being 6, but I guess that would make sense given the opening credit at the beginning of the show.

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Victoria Leigh

A lot of created drama there, but they are really not, IMO, making a sympathetic character out of Allison. I'll stay with the 6 episodes, but just to see any actual dancing they manage to show. Not liking the show otherwise at all.

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quill

My daughter commented, "Allison, you've got 4 parts, suck it up and quit whining". But we agreed that they were only showing a few minutes of clips out of hours of rehearsals.

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Momof3darlings

There is an interview with Allison on the Pointe Magazine website that addresses some of what we're discussing: Allison

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ballet valet

Thanks Momof3Darlings, I enjoyed the interview. When Allison was 'falling apart' doing Paquita, I started thinking that except for competition dancers, very few dancers will have had extensive experience performing the key roles of Paquita. The specific nuances of the ballet were 'like a foreign language' to Allison but YAGP competiton wonder-kid Beckanne thought the variation was easy. So, this goes to the question of detailed learning of variations vs overall dance expertise.

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LaFilleSylphide

I don't necessarily agree that competition kids are more likely to have more endurance and stamina when it comes to variations. Most pre-pro students learn the key roles as well as corps roles (since realistically, only a handful will be dancing the soloist and principal roles in the production). In variations classes, regardless of rehearsal, you still have to learn all the main parts as well as take pas de deux, conditioning, pointe, and technique. Competition kids have extra time working and re-working their 1-2 variations with a coach, sure, but I just don't think that's an accurate assessment . Also, it's not like this show's feeding anyone real reality... or any reality show for that matter. So Allison got interviewed and said it's all accurate... of course she would want to perpetuate that. Even though the show made her look like a villain, somehow, she still felt the need to post on her twitter (according to another poster) a jovial quip about her feet and Beckanne's feet to lighten the accurate and real portrayal of "harsh"ness. lol

 

I think the show's entertaining, but a real portrayal of ballet life and BW? I wouldn't go that far.

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julisha

I thought I heard Allison say that at the age of 12 her parents divorced and she stopped dancing for 5 years and started ballet again at 17, or something like that. Did anyone else hear that? I didn't think it was possible to miss those critical years of training and then be able to come back to be hired by a company. She's very talented and a hard worker if she was able to recover from a 5 year absence.

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gasguzzler

That struck me as strange as well because I always hear about people worrying when they have to take a break from an injury. I am guessing if it is true she must be an exception to the norm.

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, she did say that, and it's no wonder that she is struggling. She is now older and missed those critical years. Amazing that she was able to do it at all, but she is not having a great time at it right now. It's sad, if all of that trauma she is going through is true. :(

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swanchat

I am finding the dialogue to be repetitive and still stiff (with way too much whining on the parts of all the characters) and if I hear Beckanne say how unusual it is for a 19 year old to be doing this or that one more time, I think I may boycott the show. Unusual yes, unheard of.. no. Young dancers are cast and learn solo and principal roles all the and time! Sometimes, they make it on stage sometimes, they just get to show their stuff in rehearsals.... It depends on the needs of the production. An injury can suddenly propel a young dancer into the spotlight or the whim of the director can do the same. It's wonderful for Beckanne that the director seems so smitten by her and is getting to do nice roles but remember, this is the same director that wants his dancers to know that the are all replaceable. Who knows where the whims will go next season?

 

Yes, students do learn these variations and practice them as a part of a good training program. Competition kids practice some of them more and they might have the edge on one or two of them. I've watched a young (19 year old) principal in a large European National company as she's making her debut in the principal roles. She looks very comfortable with the solo variations but lacks the experience to be completely convincing in the roles. She lacks chemistry with the male lead many times too. A ballet is more than just solo variations. My own dd has also watched and stated that she's glad to have the experience of working through the corps because she believes it will make her a better soloist/principal (fingers crossed) when she gets there.

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Momof3darlings

*swanchat and I were drafting posts at the same time :)

 

A competition kid's ability to do one variation from a ballet that was hand picked to show their strengths and a company of dancers putting on a ballet where one might get cast in a variation that might not be the one that highlights your strengths are two different things. There are also differences in performing a variation that is hand picked and changed for you to be competition stage ready and one in which a company sets from a specific repertory without all the changes that are allowed for students and you'll garner a bit of a different thought process.

 

So Beckanne, might have thought this variation was "easy" not because she's a competition dancer but simply because that particular variation suited her strengths in such a way that made it easy for her. Key though, if she thought it was easy, then I have a feeling she has not mastered all the nuances required of it just yet and was commenting more on the steps. I don't think I've heard many dancers in a professional setting call any choreography "easy" when pushed by a coach or master at that level. "Easy" to me means, you aren't pushing yourself to dig deeper because digging deeper isnt' easy for anyone!

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Victoria Leigh

There are variations that are shorter, and perhaps a bit less demanding, however, none of them are EASY!!! They can be "easier" for someone more suited to the choreography than others, but easy? Nope. Ballet is not easy. :rolleyes:

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