EvilNinjaX

Breaking Pointe

157 posts in this topic

...your comment gives me hope that the Balanchine Trust may have begun to find a way to work with others to allow the pubic to see more of the choreography.

The Balanchine Trust is always going to approach things in the same manner, as they follow copyright law to the letter. From their website:

"Can I post footage of my company, which was licensed the rights to perform a Balanchine ballet, on my company’s website or social media site?

The Trust is supportive of companies posting footage for promotional purposes of the Balanchine ballets they have performed. Prior to posting, this footage must be sent to the Trust for approval and fall within the following parameters. The entire video is to be no longer than 3 minutes, with no continuous footage of choreography beyond 30-40 seconds. The video must contain the copyright credit which can be included where other credits are listed:

Name of Ballet (italicized)

Choreography by George Balanchine

© The George Balanchine Trust"

Period. End of story. Presumably the TV show licensing is very similar to the above stipulations for footage - that's why Breaking Pointe shows us only tiny bits of Emeralds. The problem being that the laws being relied upon were poorly written and have become a big impediment to the sharing and enjoyment of creative works. Ironically, for much of the world, anything to do with Balanchine is just a pain in the neck to get a hold of. Who wants to pay $250 for a copy of the The Balanchine Celebration VHS tape (and that's just Vol.1) because it won't likely ever be made available on DVD? New Yorkers are spoiled in being able to see Mr. B programs, but the rest of us are lucky to see one Balanchine piece a season at a regional ballet show. Yada yada...

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They negotiate the terms of a license, presumably, and pay a fee in exchange for usage. The law itself is not the limitation. The law offers protection to the owner of the copyright.

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The law offers protection to the owner of the copyright.

Hah! That's so easy. We've got to get ourselves some more laws then. ;)

Too bad that the reality is a legal morass that causes a great deal of stress for artists and arts administrators (who are not, of course, lawyers, so they need to come up with money they don't have to employ legal teams), and in the end, a great many things don't get done. And money is not made that could be...

This actually does relate to Breaking Pointe since licensing rules determine to a large degree what actual ballet content can be shown. Btw, a nice discussion of the Balanchine video troubles is available here:

http://balletalert.i...anchine-videos/

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I think the college vs career issue is undergoing a sea change. Many dancers are thinking ahead about second careers, and working toward degrees while performing in companies. Some companies are even encouraging and facilitating this. At NYCB I know Jenifer Ringer has earned her degree, and Teresa Reichlen is enrolled in the general studies program at Columbia.

Teresa Reichlen is actually at Barnard. Justin Peck is a GS student, as is Likolani Brown, and probably others as well. (Not that the distinction between Barnard and Columbia General Studies is that important in the context of this overall discussion.)

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I think the college vs career issue is undergoing a sea change. Many dancers are thinking ahead about second careers, and working toward degrees while performing in companies. Some companies are even encouraging and facilitating this. At NYCB I know Jenifer Ringer has earned her degree, and Teresa Reichlen is enrolled in the general studies program at Columbia.

Teresa Reichlen is actually at Barnard. Justin Peck is a GS student, as is Likolani Brown, and probably others as well. (Not that the distinction between Barnard and Columbia General Studies is that important in the context of this overall discussion.)

It is. Presumably, GS students are not full-time, traditional students, and are not in a dance program. Therefore, they are not going to a college dance program and then seeking to obtain employment as a dancer in a company. Since Barnard has a dance program, the obligations of a dancer in a company may be different, as well.

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Well, Reichlen is not a full-time student at Barnard, so in her case some of the distinction between Barnard and GS is lost. She takes 1 or 2 classes a semester, and I think it took something like 4 years for her to achieve sophomore standing. As far as I know she has not taken dance classes at Barnard. (I've always wanted to ask if she's going to take dance for her PE credit or do a "traditional" sport.)

Ringer, Reichlen, Peck and Brown all went to SAB and then joined NYCB. I'm not sure when Reichlen and Peck started college (i.e. the year after they graduated high school, or did they take time off in between like Ringer and Brown), but their college careers are tangential to their ballet training. They did not go through a college dance program and then join a company.

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back to Breaking Pointe - I grudgingly watched the show on the CW website. Regarding the copywrite - would it apply to Paquita? They appeared to use a Maly stager, so I assume they were not using the Balanchine variations choreo. Is the music or russian choreo to Paquita copywrited, or has it long expired? If the latter, then CW should have shown more dancing with the correct music under it.

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I just looked at the Fall for Dance lineup, and Ballet West is bringing the Grand Pas from "Paquita" to New York's City Center for the Festival on October 2-3 at 8pm. The Company shares Program 3 with TU Dance, Nan Jombang, and Moiseyev Dance Company.

http://www.nycitycen...anceNumber=6650

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There is an interesting interview with Allison about Breaking Pointe

here:
Once we got down to business, Allison quickly addressed the ballet world's stern response towards the show. It was this exact type of feedback that made the dancers of Ballet West question letting cameras into the rehearsal studio. But the dancers considered the potential in reaching new audiences. She explained, "We didn't do the show for other dancers…we did the show for the general public who does not know ballet."

...

Allison insisted nothing on the show was staged. However, many moments seemed "insincere" because of the filming process. It took time to prepare shoots and, sometimes, restaurants or shops had to be closed in order to film without interruptions or complications. How to behave in front of the cameras, which were in her apartment some days from 7 am to 1 am, was a learning curve. Yet, there was no denying that some of the more dramatic aspects were played up for entertainment sake.

...

We certainly didn't see a lot of the dancing through the first season. Allison explained that the rehearsal and performance sequences were sliced and diced to the extreme because of rights issues—not just for choreography, but for the music as well. There were a lot of technicalities affecting the aired rehearsal and performance footage, which other professional dancers may not be aware of.

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Nice article, Andre, thanks. It was certainly clear no one was used to having camera crews around all the time. :)

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We certainly didn't see a lot of the dancing through the first season. Allison explained that the rehearsal and performance sequences were sliced and diced to the extreme because of rights issues—not just for choreography, but for the music as well. There were a lot of technicalities affecting the aired rehearsal and performance footage, which other professional dancers may not be aware of.

Thanks very much for this article, Andre - I was wondering how the cast felt about the show. Allison's comment about rights issues pretty much confirms things we all discussed earlier. I figured that when the Balanchine Trust states, "The entire video is to be no longer than 3 minutes, with no continuous footage of choreography beyond 30-40 seconds", that this prescription would be similar to rules for TV and film use of video. And the music rights are always a separate issue from the visuals. So we get what we get. Hopefully it was all worth it for Ballet West and the show helps to put BW on the map.

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I was prepared to dislike this series of "documentaries" (reality shows I suppose is closer). I watched them in fairly close succession on Hulu (in HD). After the 1st show I was ho-hum.....just another sensationalistic "ratings getter". But I went on to the 2nd show. I started to get hooked. By the end of the series I had become a fan. Not that this series is on the caliber of "La Dance" or other ballet documentaries, but for what it tried to be, I thought it succeeded.

I've been asking myself why I liked it as much as I did. I've concluded it was because in time I came to truly care about these people. Of course I'm a sucker for ballet dancers -- they are my heros much like center fielders are for some sports fans. But beyond that, I really came to admire the authenticity of these young people struggling with life, their huge commitment to their art, relationships, triumphs and disappointments. I find myself truly hoping for another season. I want to know more about these remarkable people, and what might be in store for them as they pursue the thing I love most in the world....ballet.

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The show has been renewed.

Details on when the second season will be produced have not yet been announced. And, according to Pedowitz, the premiere date has not yet been determined.

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The show has been renewed.

...

OMG, I never would have predicted this but I am happy for them! Well, most, if not all, of the dancers featured in the TV show will be appearing at the Kennedy Center in early December. Bethanne Sisk will be Sugarplum in two performances (Dec 7 eve & 9th matinee), partnered by Rex...with Ronnie as Snow King, for example. Cristiana will be Sugarplum at the opener + Sat night. Allison and Rex dance Snow Queen/King at the Sat matinee, etc, etc:

http://www.kennedy-c...ts/?event=BNBSD

I'm assuming that several of these 'characters' will also be dancing at the Fall for Dance Fest in NY next week, when the Kunikova staging of Paquita G-P (featured on the show) will be performed in full. I hope that the conductor is kind in his tempi!

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Sure they could, if the ratings were lousy enough (which they were). It may be a sign of the times that the show was saved by its online viewership, who shored up the small television audience enough for CW to bring it back.

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It may be a sign of the times that the show was saved by its online viewership, who shored up the small television audience enough for CW to bring it back.

I don't understand why you are making the distinction between watching a show where the signal comes in via a cable vs the signal coming in via the internet. In the "olde" days perhaps this made sense, but with today's technology, I can't see the difference. I get all my TV via the internet. I have a media server that connects to the internet. Using that connection, I use the service HuluPlus to view Breaking Point on my large flat screen TV in high definition just like someone who gets the show via a cable (except I do it cheaper and on my schedule). Also note that such media servers are often built into current models of DVD players, so they are relatively common.

So.....who cares how someone watches it....cable or internet....a viewer is a viewer and as such ought to count in the ratings.

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actually I think online viewership has the potential to be even more important than Nielsen ratings. Due to tracking software (for which I have privacy concerns), the networks can determine *exactly* who is watching, what their other interests are, and how old they are, and whether they watch the commercials (rather than switching channels). Nielsen tracking is not nearly as precise. Families have a device that tracks the TV and what is watched, but it is more difficult to determine which family member is watching. Also it's based on a small subset of the US representing all viewers. Whereas the hulu website viewer is much more precisely defined.

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There are two revenue sources for networks: ads and fees. If Hulu or other viewing service doesn't require ad viewing -- I don't know what model they're on: some sources allow the viewer to cut out after 10-15 seconds -- there must be a licensing or subscription fee. (I wonder if research has shown whether it's really the first 10-15 seconds repeated often enough that's as effective or effective enough, especially in this age of constant distraction.)

It's possible that they're running off the incremental model: if you add the sub-par ratings on TV with the whatever value Internet viewing is assigned, the incremental value* of Internet might put it over the line for renewal. It's also possible that while ratings might be sub-par for that show alone, the viewers that stay for the shows that follow might be high enough or enough of a target demographic or a new demographici to matter. It would be as short-sighted to ignore these impacts as it would be to ignore the opportunity cost of the slot.

*When I worked in magazines in the '90's, the amount advertisers were willing to pay was based on a combination of circulation, the loyalty of the subscriber base -- what % of new subscribers converted to renewing subscribers, the renewal rates, number of years subscribed, etc., and the demographics of the subscribers. Different types of subscriptions were assigned different values: gift subscriptions, sweepstakes and fundraising subscriptions, copies sold en masse to hotels and airlines, bundled subscriptions, etc. I haven't worked in the industry since the Internet and e-readers, tablets, and smart phones, but it's hard for me to imagine that these aren't considered in the current formulas and that something similar isn't done in TV, even if the mechanisms are different.

Also, the Internet makes it possible to click and purchase online, which is what I'd be trying to integrate into the Internet transmissions of TV shows.

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Great news about renewal!

I think the ratings, while small by ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC standards, were passable for a Summer show on a semi-network like the CW. In addition, what audience there was for Breaking Pointe had to be very attractive to advertisers; hence: renewal.

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If Hulu or other viewing service doesn't require ad viewing.....

There are commercials all right.....and one can't avoid them either.

It is ironic that altho I consider internet TV a step forward, it also finally solves the content provider's problem of commercial skipping. Until recently I watched nearly all TV by recording whatever show on a PVR (hard drive based device). This made it super easy to skip commercials (all I had to do was push a button twice and voila I skipped 60 seconds). But when streaming, there is no way to skip the commercial. OTOH, these new internet based "networks" like Hulu have implemented this in a smart way. The commercials are short (typically 30 seconds or less) and usually not too frequent (3 per 30 minute show). Also the commercials are rather offbeat and can be quite entertaining (in a counter-culture sort of way). Hulu is also smart enough to remember where you are in the show, so if you stop in the middle and watch the rest later, Hulu knows how to resume at the exact spot you left off (and it can do this even if you are watching on another device or from 1000 miles away). Cleverly, Hulu also remembers when you've already seen a commercial and doesn't repeat them. So for example, if I'm watching The Daily Show, and see the commercial at 10 minutes into the show, and then decide to go back several minutes (or even back to the beginning), Hulu will not show any commercial at the10 minute mark since I had already seen it. These techniques make the forced commercial watching far less painful than it is on traditional TV. So far, I find I don't mind having to "sit thru" the commercials.

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I think the ratings, while small by ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC standards, were passable for a Summer show on a semi-network like the CW. In addition, what audience there was for Breaking Pointe had to be very attractive to advertisers; hence: renewal.

The report in the Salt Lake Tribune - I've got it in the Links somewhere in the last day or two - noted the ratings were low even by the CW's modest standards and it was the additional online viewership that led to renewal. There could have been other factors as well, certainly.

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At least Hulu stops the show for the commercials. USTREAM, which broadcast the Guggenheim Works & Process series started to pitch ad-fee monthly subscriptions, and at least for the live transmission of the PNB in NYC preview program, and refusing to pay the fee meant interruptions during the program that played over the presentation.

If they had said up front, pay that $2.99 (or even $4.99) tas pay-per-view instead, I would have done it, but an ongoing subscription fee? I don't think so.

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Hulu's monthly fee (ongoing) is about $8 (of course, that gives you access to hundreds of shows and thousands of episodes).

One cool set of shows is Saturday Night Live. They have every SNL ever broadcast. I can easily watch any show I please from the last 30+ years, at any time I please. When I first discovered this, I watched show #1 which was hosted by George Carlin (1974??). Next I watched one hosted by Lilly Tomlin. I was interesting to see how the format of SNL hasn't changed all that much in 30+ years......altho the production values are far higher now.

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