EvilNinjaX

Breaking Pointe

157 posts in this topic

That's good news. The show isn't bad at all by the standards of the genre, at least those examples that I've come across, and it would be nice to see more of it beyond half a dozen episodes.

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Ronald was not shown last night. Had he been cast, it would have been a major story, since every male role in those ballets is a major one. On the other hand, two complete casts of those three ballets is 20 men, and it's not a huge company .

I agree that Kunikova was the jewel of last night's show. In this case, the cream really rose to the top. Allison's struggles with the style were realistic, and, paradoxically, It was the first time her talent was evident.

I haven't seen the YAGP clips, but from the class clips I wouldn't have guessed "competition dancer" for Beckanne. What I saw was a dancer who "got" the style of "Paquita" as well as any American-trained dancer I've seen, at least in rehearsal. (In performance, dancers can lose the ease.)

I was wondering where they were hiding the gay dancers, but it turns out the company has one. Of all places with top companies I'd think SLC would be the loneliest and most isolated to be the only gay dancer. I know there is a gay community there, but it's tiny compared to NYC, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Kansas City, etc.

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That was substantial rehearsal time being shown on the show?! My, I do have high expectations! Thank you Natalia for the information about Elena Kunikova. I enjoyed watching and listening to her. Actually, SLC has a large gay community for a city of its size; it is just underground. The company only has one male gay dancer? - that wasn't always the case either.

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Naturally I missed the episode w. Kunakova and focus on Petipa....had the time wrong....

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It's been repeating on Monday nights, so you may be able to catch it next week.

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The network repeats the program at least once that I've seen, although I don't remember when offhand. If you have Comcast it may show up on demand sooner or later.

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They also have the episodes available for streaming on the CW website :)

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I haven't seen the NZ Ballet show, but CBC aired a one-hour (i.e. 43-minute) show called "Romeos and Juliets" about the creating and casting of Alexei Ratmansky's "Romeo and Juliet" for National Ballet of Canada. (I'd forgotten I'd taped it.) Although the marketing was as silly as the previews for "Breaking Pointe", the product was fascinating, with a lot of insight into the process and the dancers' thinking. I'm sure it helped a great deal that Ratmansky agreed to take part and there wasn't an X-minute limit on the work itself like there would be with "Emeralds", for example, but it's really the adult tone that sets it apart.

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Allison's struggles with the style were realistic, and, paradoxically, It was the first time her talent was evident.

I had the opposite reaction. Seeing Allison struggling so hard made me understand why she has stagnated at the demi-soloist level. Her ambition of advancing to the soloist level didn't look too promising, especially given that the 19-year-old up-and-comer handled the rehearsal and choreography with ease.

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I had the opposite reaction. Seeing Allison struggling so hard made me understand why she has stagnated at the demi-soloist level. Her ambition of advancing to the soloist level didn't look too promising, especially given that the 19-year-old up-and-comer handled the rehearsal and choreography with ease.

I have no idea about advancement, but in my head I kept re-casting Allison in neoclassical ballets as I watched her.

I watched the handful of videos of Beckanne Sisk available on YouTube, and after watching the YAGP videos, I came away as depressed as watching the contemporary "beasts" on "So You Think You Can Dance," where kicking an ear with the side of the leg passes for style and choreography, but apart from some silly extensions in the "Esmeralda" solo in the Beijing audition, I think she was quite lovely in it and the "Sleeping Beauty" variation that followed, and especially in the "Nutcracker" pas de deux, danced no later than 2009, when she was 16 (or possible just-turned-17), at the Rock School. I was also impressed with her partner, Miguel Montoya.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0XwLYY3GQ8

What's depressing is that without "Breaking Pointe," no matter how beautifully Sisk dances at Ballet West, even if she were to become a Principal and dance the lead in every ballet every opening night plus her partner's role as well, she'd be a "Yawn, yeah, she dances somewhere out there in the sticks" ballerina. There is so much extraordinary dancing and alchemy that happens out of the sight lines of much of the ballet world. If the result is a show with the focus and intelligence of the average show targeted at teenage girls and has a bunch of footage I'm not so sure they'd want their children or grandchildren to see, at least the dancers may get some recognition.

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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.

The website shows their current rank. The promotions won't go into effect until the 2012/13 season, and I expect the website will be updated at that time. The show hasn't really made it clear that Ronald and Katie were both in BWII at the time it was being filmed.

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A lot of those teenage girls are ballet fans. I'd not be too hard on their taste.

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What's depressing is that without "Breaking Pointe," no matter how beautifully Sisk dances at Ballet West, even if she were to become a Principle and dance the lead in every ballet every opening night plus her partner's role as well, she'd be a "Yawn, yeah, she dances somewhere out there in the sticks" ballerina. There is so much extraordinary dancing and alchemy that happens out of the sight lines of much of the ballet world. If the result is a show with the focus and intelligence of the average show targeted at teenage girls and has a bunch of footage I'm not so sure they'd want their children or grandchildren to see, at least the dancers may get some recognition.

I think your "out-in-the-sticks" comment is unfortunate since I think that attitude (which you rightly oppose) is a bit outdated. It may have been true 15-20 years ago but from the Winter Olympics to Sundance it is not as if nothing of cultural or athletic importance happens here. I lived in New York and Chicago and I considered the latter city quite provincial when it came to ballet and environmental awareness compared to Salt Lake (and I am not a native Utahn). Maybe some New Yorkers (& some press members) still think that way but not everybody thinks this way especially these days.

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I think your "out-in-the-sticks" comment is unfortunate since I think that attitude (which you rightly oppose) is a bit outdated. It may have been true 15-20 years ago but from the Winter Olympics to Sundance it is not as if nothing of cultural or athletic importance happens here. I lived in New York and Chicago and I considered the latter city quite provincial when it came to ballet and environmental awareness compared to Salt Lake (and I am not a native Utahn). Maybe some New Yorkers (& some press members) still think that way but not everybody thinks this way especially these days.

I think this is overly optimistic, but wish it were true, particularly about Salt Lake City.

I wouldn't blame the NYC press entirely, though: Alastair Macaulay has made it a point of traveling to see many American companies and writing about them for the Times, often with appreciation, and while Leigh Witchel writes about NY dance events for the Post, he writes in many other publications, like Ballet Review, about companies to which he's traveled to see.

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I think your "out-in-the-sticks" comment is unfortunate since I think that attitude (which you rightly oppose) is a bit outdated. It may have been true 15-20 years ago but from the Winter Olympics to Sundance it is not as if nothing of cultural or athletic importance happens here. I lived in New York and Chicago and I considered the latter city quite provincial when it came to ballet and environmental awareness compared to Salt Lake (and I am not a native Utahn). Maybe some New Yorkers (& some press members) still think that way but not everybody thinks this way especially these days.

I think this is overly optimistic, but wish it were true, particularly about Salt Lake City.

I wouldn't blame the NYC press entirely, though: Alastair Macaulay has made it a point of traveling to see many American companies and writing about them for the Times, often with appreciation, and while Leigh Witchel writes about NY dance events for the Post, he writes in many other publications, like Ballet Review, about companies to which he's traveled to see.

But so much nonsense is written about SLC and the Mormons and Americans are not particularly educated about their states. I've lived and traveled abroad and have met more Japanese citizens who are better educated about Utah history than the average American. Anyway, I am guilty in some ways. Over ten years ago I was asked by the late Francis Mason to contribute the occasional review about Ballet West for BR but I was not interested at the time. Not that I would make a good critic.

BTW, who is coaching Ballet West's dancers for Jewels? Anybody know?

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But so much nonsense is written about SLC and the Mormons and Americans are not particularly educated about their states.

Ain't that the truth.

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BTW, who is coaching Ballet West's dancers for Jewels? Anybody know?

In tonight's episode, Sandra Jennings was identified as the "Emeralds" stager. There were scenes of her watching the final studio run-throughs, and she was mentioned as well as having type on screen to ID her. Roslyn Anderson coached "Petite Mort", and she was filmed speaking a couple of times. Kunikova was also in this episode, coaching "Paquita."

There were some long discussions among the dancers and in the on camera quotes about tempo, since the conductor was shown conducting the pianist.

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I'm curious as to where Ballet West fits into the hierarchy of best regional companies. Where do they fit in relation to San Francisco, Boston, Miami, PNB, Houston, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Joffrey, others? Perhaps San Francisco is more in line with NYCB and ABT?

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Well, this show is improving, although I am really not loving Alisson's whining and Ronnie's dumb sex talk (and grindings).

It was interesting to see the various stages of the dress-rehearsal process and other 'prepping' just before opening night, which will be featured next week.

The Balanchine Trust must have had a say in what could be seen of the Emeralds rehearsal footage, as very little has been presented. Almost all of what was shown had some odd 'New Age' music superimposed, so that viewers would not be able to link music to movement. The AD mentioned that this ballet got the least rehearsal time but, still, I am sure that the Trust did not want much to be revealed, even though this ballet can be seen in-full on at least 2 commercial DVDs (POB and Mariinsky). On the other hand, the Paquita continues to be shown in a straightforward and generous manner; no complaints there!

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Well, this show is improving, although I am really not loving Alisson's whining and Ronnie's dumb sex talk (and grindings).

I agree about Allison. The show wasted too much time on her friendship and relationship troubles. Doesn't Allison seem a tad disrespectful to the conductor? Does she have histrionic personality disorder or what? Beckanne Sisk seems more composed and refined at age 19. And I really love her dancing.

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I'm curious as to where Ballet West fits into the hierarchy of best regional companies. Where do they fit in relation to San Francisco, Boston, Miami, PNB, Houston, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Joffrey, others? Perhaps San Francisco is more in line with NYCB and ABT?

In response to the same question about PNB, Peter Boal once said in a Q&A that the unofficial top three are NYCB, ABT, and San Francisco Ballet, and everyone else is fighting to be recognized as fourth. All of the "Big Three" are significantly larger than the other companies: SFB, the smallest, with 77 dancers, has 35 corps and six apprentices. and 41 is more than the total size of many mid-size companies: Ballet West has 37 dancers in total , Ballet Arizona has 29, PNB has 46, MCB 44, Joffrey has 42, and Pennsylvania Ballet 36.

San Francisco Ballet has the advantages of having been the oldest company in the US -- the oldest of the Children of Balanchine -- and having taken the bull by the horns to get international recognition, because before there was a "Top 3", there was a "Top Two," and now SFB has gotten tour reviews stronger than either NYCB or ABT.

Whatever the merits of the show, Ballet West has put itself on the map nationally.

They are also having a contest to win a 30-minute video chat with a cast member, which is tax-deductible to all but the winner. (The website doesn't say who chooses.) The drawing is on 9th July:

http://www.balletwest.org/win-a-chat

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.... Doesn't Allison seem a tad disrespectful to the conductor? ...

It comes across that way. However, as with all reality shows, one wonders how much of it is sincere and how much is 'staging' for the cameras.

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Wasn't it Allison who says in the beginning that Rex told her the three people you shouldn't piss off are the conductor, the costume person, and the director? Great set-up for the rest of the show where Allison proceeds to do just that. On the other hand, Kunikova, with her lovely manner, keeps asking the conductor politely to slow it down, and the way it's filmed, he ignores her as well. I know everyone's tired, but wouldn't it be professional courtesy to let the dancers with the craziest rehearsal schedules to go ahead during costume fittings?

Allison has said that she is to make up for lost time, the years she didn't do ballet after being professionally trained. It's not like she took a year off -- it was a big gap -- and it's pretty amazing, giving the competition out there and the few positions that she was able to make up enough not only to get a job, but to be demi-soloist, since most of the people in the company are at the age where she missed dancing.

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My thoughts too Helene. It seemed the conductor was ignoring the dancer's and stagers tempo concerns, and the Dr. wasn't stepping up. What is the point of having him come to rehearsal? Same with the costume fitting schedule.

I hope this is just staged for TV, and not the way this co. normally functions.

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.... Doesn't Allison seem a tad disrespectful to the conductor? ...

It comes across that way. However, as with all reality shows, one wonders how much of it is sincere and how much is 'staging' for the cameras.

Good point. But none of it sits well with me even if it is staged. I like mystery in my favorite dancers and ballets. Yet I continue to watch this show.

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