EvilNinjaX

Breaking Pointe

157 posts in this topic

Oh, stinger, if infantile was the worst of how the dancers were portrayed :(.

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My reaction was very much like Miliosr's. It's a reality show on the CW...allow for that and there you are; it's still an on the whole not unsympathetic look at the ballet world on network television. At least so it seemed to me. I would like to see more dancing and perhaps we will.

(I HATED Black Swan; the heroine was just psycho-crazy from frame one and her craziness hardly seemed to have anything to do with ballet as opposed to the mad-for-ballet, beyond-good-and-evil heroines of Mort du Cygne or must-dance-at-all-costs heroine of Red Shoes. And given her non-stop woe-is-me, terrified of all things, demeanor, one does not see how she could have lasted through an advanced ballet class let alone have made it into a ballet company. Though off topic may I add, too, (since I have not seen this anywhere else) that Portman's arms seemed awfully short for her to get cast as Odette-Odile when still an unknown dancer...What I mean is: I hated that movie.)

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Well, this is not a documentary. It is a reality show, and by now we know they are edited to fit what the network thinks makes good TV. That means conflict, tension, villains! The first episode presented a group of people full of stress and insecurity in what looked like a miserable work environment.

I am so tired of all the books and films in recent years that paint such a negative picture of dance as a profession. The few snippets of dance were enjoyable and I like the idea of a general audience being shown what it looks like up close in practice clothes. Real people can do this, not just fantastic creatures on a stage.

I hope coming episodes will show a lot more dancing.

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Regardless of what anyone thinks of Black Swan, there's no question that its success brought some exposure to an art form badly in need of it - more than one artistic director has spoken of a post-Black Swan boost in interest.( I did like it better than most commentators here at BA.) Nor were all dancers uniformly negative about it at the time.

(Drew, I think Portman's short arms came up in the very long Black Swan thread. If I remember correctly she even mentioned them herself.)

The first episode presented a group of people full of stress and insecurity in what looked like a miserable work environment.

Yes. No doubt fear does concentrate the mind wonderfully, but contra Sklute, in my experience a workplace full of people constantly reminded that they're expendable is not a fruitful environment for getting the best from your employees.

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Regardless of what anyone thinks of Black Swan, there's no question that its success brought some exposure to an art form badly in need of it - more than one artistic director has spoken of a post-Black Swan boost in interest.( I did like it better than most commentators here at BA.) Nor were all dancers uniformly negative about it at the time.

(Drew, I think Portman's short arms came up in the very long Black Swan thread. If I remember correctly she even mentioned them herself.)

The first episode presented a group of people full of stress and insecurity in what looked like a miserable work environment.

Yes. No doubt fear does concentrate the mind wonderfully, but contra Sklute, in my experience a workplace full of people constantly reminded that they're expendable is not a fruitful environment for getting the best from your employees.

I should think Ballet West is bound to see a rise in interest and ticket sales from Breaking Pointe--and there is at least a chance other companies may as well.

I'm not sure how to take anything anyone says in a reality show, but I completely agree about fear not being the best way to inspire people in any endeavor--people who feel expendable are often just plain demoralized.

(I must have given up on Black Swan thread and so missed discussion of Portman's arms.)

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After watching the second episode of "Breaking Pointe" and seeing her photo, I really want to see the Tilton sister at SFB School dance.

Katie seems like a real sweetheart.

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An 'A for effort' on the CW's part for trying to create suspense last night. But did anyone really think Ronnie wouldn't sign his contract or Ronald would follow Katie to Boise? In particular, Ronnie's decision was a no-brainer. Ballet West is his 4th company in 10 years. If I were an AD, I would be wary of hiring him if he bolted from Ballet West.

Speaking of Ronnie, I take second place to no one in admiration of his chest. HOWEVER, is he almost too muscle-bound for ballet? I compete in natural bodybuilding shows and Ronnie would be a top competitor in those with his physique. But, maybe what's right for natural bodybuilding isn't right for ballet? What do those of you who have danced professionally think?

In any event, it's a pity Gogol isn't with us today -- "The Nose" could be become "The Chest". wink1.gif

I thought this episode was better than the last in terms of showing some aspects of life within a ballet company:

-- Adam telling Rex that, "corrections are part of the job."

-- Katie explaining how particular dancers are about their place at the barre.

-- Katie having to be professional during rehearsals even though, as she put it, "Adam is looking right through me."

Katie seems like a real sweetheart.

I agree -- perhaps too much so. I wonder if she has the necessary killer instinct.

And as for poor, sad Rex -- dude, why are you settling?

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Watched again last night. Almost puked during the rehearsals for 'Petite Mort' and the bit about the boys and their swords. So is that how Madison Avenue now plans to sell ballet?

Who needs to feature Paquita and Emeralds when you have Petite Mort?

Sorry, this stupid show has lost me. I am guessing that 'Bunheads' will be a 'tween version of this.

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Who needs to feature Paquita and Emeralds when you have Petite Mort?

Natalia, "Petite Mort" is the most adult of the three.

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Last night's episode was terrible in a different way, though it did retain the insipidness of the first episode. Like the first episode, I looked at the time remaining about 20 minutes into the show.

Anyway, some discussion with friends have crystallized my thoughts on what's wrong with this show, and it is that this show doesn't follow one of the fundamental rules of filmmaking: show, don't tell. It's better to show an action than to have a character describe it in words. It is ironic that dance being a show-me kind of art is the subject of this show.

For example, don't keep telling me the new girl is a freak at ballet, show me! Show me the relationship of Sklute with his dancers by more thoughtful footage of how he runs class or rehearsal than just showing one or two generic comments he makes, or having him awkwardly make pronouncements about them. They keep talking about how hard the art is, but the biggest consequence of that we see is people in PT. How about showing people struggling in class or with choreography? There is already so much natural drama in ballet (as the RNZB series showed) without people coming in and trying to play up relationship problems.

Also, how many times do we have to hear Ronnie say that he should be a principal because he's dancing principal roles? I think last night's show had at least 4 instances of that. Show us Ronnie dancing the darned roles, and let the audience decide for themselves! There is so much more inherent drama in that than hearing one person complain about it because it now involves us in the judgment instead of being passive observers.

Argh. This is such a stupid show.

edit: the first half of this show used the dance sequences as basically fancier versions of scene transitions. It's like the show is a bunch of long, tedious emoting separated by short, little dancing sequences (that don't show much dance).

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I don't think we're their target demographic. It's shown on a network where it's followed by "Vampire Diaries."

(So happy that Peter Boal turned this down, so happy that Peter Boal turned this down...)

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In the first episode Sklute makes the comment that ".......dancers are expendable." Well dear take a look at Miami Ballet and if you are so inclined and a fan of figure skating the drama taking place in Canton, Michigan, and you too will realize so are artistic directors. A stupid comment to make publicly.

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For those of you who hate Breaking Pointe -- fear not! The preliminary ratings for the second episode are down from last week:

18-49 demo -- 0.2

Total viewers -- 0.687million

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He said it as management philosophy, though: to paraphrase, to get the best/optimized company, the dancers need to know they are special, but expendable.

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I would not be wildly reassured if my boss told me I was special but expendable.

Too bad about the ratings, miliosr. I enjoyed the family dinner scene and Ronnie's My Career Must Come First moment with Katie.

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I don't think they're supposed to be reassured: they're supposed to know they're auditioning every moment they're in the building or the theater. The adrenalin and cortisol levels must be off the charts.

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That was part of my original point, yes. If you keep your people constantly on edge, you'll get results but eventually the returns diminish.

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As soon as those returns diminish, though, you replace them with someone else, and there are any number of dancers happy to take on their roles. In most businesses, the training and learning curve costs are too high. One number that was mentioned in a project management class I took was that it costs one year's salary to train a knowledge worker to replace another.

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Natalia, "Petite Mort" is the most adult of the three.

I disagree, sorry. To be elegant (not trashy) is to be adult. Paquita and Emeralds are elegant; PM is not.

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I watched it tonight for the first time and I cannot count how many times I cringed. From what I've seen I wonder if BW is up to Jewels. I live in Park City so it is fairly easy for me to attend. Now I'm having 2nd thoughts.

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Last night's episode (#3) was less offensive than the earlier two. For starters, we finally got to see substantial rehearsal portions of an elegant serious classical ballet without cheap-sex-thrills -- a ballet for adults, in other words -- being rehearsed: Paquita. For me, the star of last night's episode was the fabulous Elena Kunikova, chief stager for the ballet. A pupil of Feya Balabina and top graduate of the Vaganova Class of 1973, Kunikova was a leading soloist of the Leningrad Maly Theater in the late 70s/80s. She teaches in NYC (i.e., Steps) and is responsible for a lot of the staging of Petipa classics for the Trocks, among others.

Not sure how long this classy spell will last at Breaking Pt. Happy that the adult classicists got one nice episode, at least.

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I guess I am one of the few here still enjoying this show... by reality tv standards it is not too bad at all, and it is pretty much what I expected. I have read a few comparisons to the reality show with RNZB but I do remember that reality show had a lot of drama as well, particularly S1 where "Katie and Michael" and their relationship drama was one of the main focus points of the show. On season 2 they focused more on dancing and Ethan Steifl came on as AD so they probably learned what to do and not to do from the reactions to S1. I think this show is still trying to find a happy medium between showing a lot of dance to make ballet fans happy, but keeping a bit of the reality element in it to attract other people. I do hope at the very least it gives BW more exposure and they end up with more fans smile.png

PS - I was curious about why they kept calling Beckanne "a freak" at ballet... on YT I found a few clips of her (some older ones from her at YAGP and some newer ones for an audition to something) and I see by freak they mean very flexible. She does seem to have gotten better since the earlier clips from YT. I also noticed that on the BW page, she is not listed as a demi-soloist (she is listed under 'artists') so I don't know if that "promotion" was fabricated for the show or if they just don't update their page much. It also shows Katie as a member of BWII.

I missed the last episode, about to watch it now, glad to hear it shows more of rehearsals smile.png

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I am also enjoying it, elena. I think the CW is navigating (reasonably) successfully the fine line that exists between what the seriously addicted ballet fans who populate a board like this want to see and what its core women 18-34 demo wants to see.

For those who are interested, a former dancer did an excellent analysis of Adam's casting choices at the Television Without Pity - Breaking Pointe forum.

Was Ronald even in last night's episode?

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Breaking Pointe rebounded in the ratings:

18-49 demo -- 0.3/1

Total Viewers -- 870,000

Still not great but acceptable by CW standards.

I guess the CW audience has spoken -- they prefer Paquita to Petite Mort! wink1.gif

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