Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Breaking Pointe

Breaking Pointe is a new reality series from The CW that goes inside the inner working of an American ballet company. Think of it as Center Stage meets The Hills, though the people are far more likable and *gasp* actually talented. In fact, they are INSANELY talented. But just because you've got talent, doesn't mean you don't got drama.

From the show's website:
Breaking Pointe rips back the curtain on the inner workings of elite Salt Lake City Ballet Company, Ballet West. It obliterates the notion that ballet is a dated art form and shatters pre-conceived stereotypes about the men and women who give their lives to the world of ballet. Beneath their perfect exteriors, these dancers have the toughness of linebackers, punishing their bodies to achieve perfection and dancing through injuries and pain.

Led by Artistic Director Adam Sklute, Ballet West's company of 48 dancers includes: Principal Artist Christiana Bennett, Soloist Ronnie Underwood, Demi-Soloist Allison DeBona, Demi-Soloist Rex Tilton, Beckanne Sisk, Kathleen Martin and Ronald Tilton.

The first episode of the series, while interesting, served as mostly set-up. We got to learn the dancers and how they are related to one another. Rex and Ronald are brothers, and Ronald is dating Katie, while Rex has a crush on Allison but she isn't really interested in him romantically. Meanwhile, prima ballerina Christina is keeping an eye on newcomer Beckanne who is moving quickly through the ranks and could quickly claims the principal spot. Oh, and Ronnie is insanely attractive.

The first episode also explains how things work in the ballet company. Apparently most dancers are only contracted for one year, and the Artistic Director has to decide at the end of every year whether to offer a new contract or set the dancer free (i.e. fire their ass). The episode also explained the different positions within the company (like Principal, Soloist, etc.) and the contracts tell the dancers whether they have received a promotion. Most of the premiere's tension comes from the reveal of who has gotten their contract extended, who has gotten the boot, and who is unhappy with their place in the company.

It's a credit to the show that the stakes feel high; after all, we are talking about people's careers here. There's also a lot of footage of the dancers actually dancing. We see how hard they work and how much dancing means to them. So when someone (no spoilers!) doesn't get their contract renewed, it's genuinely sad and left me wondering what would happen next.

I'm a big fan of the movie Center Stage (despite the terrible acting and Peter Gallagher's eyebrows) and Breaking Pointe didn't disappoint me. Sure the conversations and relationship drama feels a bit staged and scripted, but the dancing is spectacular and it's nice to see people featured on television that look real and have amazing skill and talent. I have a feeling the quality of the program derives mostly from the BBC production credit rather than the CW, but at the end of the day it's about the dancing and the dancers.

 "So what are you doing after this?"
"Oh, you know the usual--leading you on, breaking your heart. Typical Saturday night."

Oh, one minor quibble. All the male dancers are clearly straight, which I don't know, rings false to me I guess? I don't want to stereotype ballet dancers, but come on. Would it have killed them to put an adorable gay kid in there somewhere? But at least they feature some dancers who are in their 30s--it's nice to watch a CW show that isn't all thirty somethings pretending to be teenagers.

Breaking Pointe airs on the CW Thursdays at 8:00 pm.


Lauren DeLaCruz said...

I am literally pulling this up on hulu right now. I love ballerinas!

Maggie Cats said...

I'm kind of hooked. I think it might perfect summer viewing.

jujuthefrog said...

Great show