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Breaking Pointe-- an ongoing discussion.


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#1 EvilNinjaX

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:55 PM

Reality show featuring Ballet West.

http://blog.zap2it.c...iere-dates.html

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=5]"Breaking Pointe" is a backstage look at the dancers in Ballet West in Salt Lake City, "one of the most competitive ballet companies in the country." It will focus on the competition and pursuit of perfection among the members of the company. It will premiere at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 31.[/size][/font]

#2 Amy Reusch

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:58 PM

What is the story on that pointe shoe close-up? Surely that doesn't belong to a Ballet West dancer?



#3 miliosr

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:56 AM

Will we all be watching tonight?

http://www.cwtv.com/...reaking-pointe/

#4 bart

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:24 PM

From the Deseret News (Salt Lake City paper):

Focusing primarily on seven company members, the show will explore what takes place between performances. Cameras will go inside the homes of the dancers, highlighting their strenuous personal lifestyles as dancers and their drive for perfection.

During the six weeks of filming for the show, cameras ventured into Ballet West's rehearsals for their spring production of George Balanchines Emeralds, as well as into artistic director Adam Sklute's office during contract renewals, as he promoted dancers and released others from the company. Sklute explains that in a functional company, dancers must know that "they're special, but also that they're expendable."

Finding the right company to feature was a lengthy process for casting producers. Fifteen ballet schools were considered for casting including the San Francisco Ballet, the Boston Ballet and Juilliard before narrowing the potentials down to three.

Ballet West beat out the competition due to its prestige and social structure featuring only 40 dancers, their somewhat secluded location in Salt Lake City.


There's not much new about the idea that ballet is athletic, highly competitive, and saturated with perfectionism. However, the material described in the second paragraph, above, deals with usually private matters like contract renewals, promotions, and letting dancers go. I wonder how they will handle that?

http://www.deseretne...-on-the-CW.html

#5 miliosr

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:11 PM

I liked the first episode -- much more than I thought I would. I thought the episode was a nice balance between the inner-workings of a ballet company and the private lives of the dancers. The production company approached the subject matter seriously so the result was actually fairly intelligent. And it didn't hurt that the episode had the glossy look of a CW-show like Gossip Girl.

SPOILERS AHEAD

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I knew Katie was a goner when the show spent so much time focusing on her in company class. (All I could think of was the scene in Fame when the dance teacher told the student Lisa she wouldn't be allowed to continue in the program.) I was glad to see from the previews that she'll be back for at least another episode. I liked her a lot.

My other favorite was 19-year-old Beckanne, who bears a strong resemblance to Audrina Patridge from The Hills. She had better toughen up right quick, though, if she's going to survive in that hothouse environment.

And Ronnie Underwood can't possibly take his shirt off enough over the course of this series! Posted Image

#6 stinger784

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

Completely over-produced, dancers put in random conversations with each other, discussions during class that would never happen to the extent of what really happens. The whole opening segment was utterly ridiculous, the statements were overly generalized and does not reflect what every dancer feels. While is was nice to see some of my friends on the screen, in the background, I think I will pass on the next couple of weeks. It was shot very a la The Hills on MTV. I think the only saving grace of the show was the principal female dancer that basically told it how it is. If CW wanted to do a show about ballet, just sit back and watch the real life ballet unfold and just be quiet and do not set up the conversations. There has been enough reality TV over the last 15 years that we at home know how it works now.

First Position, is how it should have been shot. Very well done and fantastic storytelling by letting it just happen.

Merde to my friends and peers at Ballet West. But I think I will pass on this show.

#7 puppytreats

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 06:33 PM

"The Apprentice"...suspense.... "You're fired."

#8 Jayne

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:30 PM

It was shot very a la The Hills on MTV. I think the only saving grace of the show was the principal female dancer that basically told it how it is.

Exactly my thoughts (except I only watched one episode of "Laguna Beach" and gave up, so never saw "The Hills). In trying to capture the daily grind, they focused on some pretty banal stuff. I would have preferred more time spent on the practice sessions, because Ballet West does have some beautiful dancing. Meh, I'll give it one more episode before I quit. Maybe I'm just not the CW target market / demographic - they want the same girls who watch "America's Next Top Model".

#9 Helene

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:32 PM

The producers couldn't have picked a more tense time to start the series.

First Position, is how it should have been shot. Very well done and fantastic storytelling by letting it just happen.


In this recent interview, First Position director Beth Kargman discussed her approach:

One thing I found interesting is that you have this group. And they’re all barreling towards this one competition. In the same place. And yet you don’t have them interact. Was that a conscious decision? Was it just something that happened? And did they know about each other?
Interesting questions. So, one word of advice that I got from very experienced filmmakers when I was going into this project was exactly to do what I didn’t want to do. They would say to me, ‘You must pick one age division, kids who are all the same age, because you want to have them competing against each other. The drama. The tears. The backstabbing.’ When you put them into the same age division, there’s a tendency for things like that to happen. And I strongly felt that it would be far more interesting to chronicle the lives of young dancers who are anywhere from the ages of 10 to 17 to show how the stakes differed depending upon your age. To me, I really thought that I would be able to make the film dramatic even if Girl A wasn’t an enemy or competing with Girl B. And the main reason you don’t see them interact that much is because A, you’re sort of in your own little world when you compete. You really are just focusing on yourself. And B, they canvased three different age divisions.

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I want to go back real quick. You mentioned that you go a lot of advice to get the backstabbing. And you went away from that. Were you nervous or did you just feel in your gut, ‘No, that’s not what I want’?
I attribute part of it to my background as a journalist but I really think that I would have been embarrassed by my work product if one of the kids came up to me after seeing the film and said, ‘You know, I regret being in this. And not only could you affect my career in a negative way, but I wish I had never met you.’ I just wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if someone had come up to me [and said that]. What I think is so much more powerful is when a person comes up to you and says, ‘You accurately portrayed me. Thank you.’ They never said, ‘How come you didn’t only show the perfect parts of my…’ Miko never said, ‘Why did you show me fall?’ Rebecca never said, ‘Why did you show me upset in the dressing room?’ Because they know that’s real life. That’s drama. It’s got to be in there. But I would never just show the bad stuff or just show the times when a person’s crying. You really have to accurately portray what’s really going on. I think there were other ways to make it really dramatic and suspenseful and add tension without it being so-and-so talking badly about so-and-so.


Right after I watched Breaking Pointe, I was watching a show on BOLD, and there was an advertisement for Romeos & Juliets, described in a 2011 press release as:


"Romeos & Juliets will immerse audiences in the creative process of a celebrated choreographer working with both established and upcoming dancers as the legendary lead couple," said Mossanen. "The documentary will allow audiences a rare behind-the-scenes look at the dancers as they push themselves to the limits of their abilities in order to make their mark in these expressive roles."

Romeos & Juliets is an exploration of the process by which the remarkable new National Ballet production of Romeo and Juliet winds its way from rehearsals to opening night. The special follows the dancers' highly charged paths, both inside and outside the studio, and chronicles their emotional journey as they toil to fulfill the high expectations demanded of them. In the end, as opening night arrives, their efforts are realized in a suite of spectacular dances staged especially for the camera.


but the TV spot made it sound like it was made in the same tone as "Breaking Pointe."

I thought the highlight of the first episode of "Breaking Pointe" was how stunning Adam Sklute looked in the suit in the rehearsal at the beginning.

I suspect that Quinn Wharton's film, "Eastern Odyssey" on Tiit Helimet & Co.'s tour to Estonia captured more of the reality of day-to-day life. There were tense moments and some rough conversations, but it felt true, i.e., recognizable in more than the ballet world.

#10 miliosr

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 03:20 AM

If CW wanted to do a show about ballet, just sit back and watch the real life ballet unfold and just be quiet and do not set up the conversations.

First Position, is how it should have been shot. Very well done and fantastic storytelling by letting it just happen.

But what is the audience for what you are describing on a network like the CW? I haven't seen First Position. But I have seen the Fred Wiseman documentary about the Paris Opera Ballet and the Pina Bausch documentary and both of those were so boring I nearly passed-out. I thought Breaking Pointe managed to reach a relatively happy medium between the demands of reality TV and the actual life within a company (i.e. contract renewals, the sense of never feeling too secure in your position, etc.)

Maybe I'm just not the CW target market / demographic - they want the same girls who watch "America's Next Top Model".

The CW very specifically targets the women 18-34 demographic (and, on the basis of the upcoming Green Arrow promos I saw during Breaking Pointe, I would say homosexual men as well.)

SPOILER AHEAD

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After Adam fired Katie, I wish she had had the presence of mind to say: "I'll just join the drama department!"Posted Image

#11 Natalia

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 04:13 AM

I saw and rather enjoyed it. How often do we see ballet on 'normal TV'?

Enjoyed the small rehearsal clips of Balanchine's Emeralds and Petipa's Paquita. Hopefully we will see, in the coming episodes, how the rehearsals evolve and, finally, see some substantial performance portions on the stage, in costumes. I watch more for that than for the 'outside melodrama.'

Also, I wonder how many of these dancers we will be seeing in Washington, DC, in the December 2012 Nutcracker tour to the Kennedy Center? By the time they get to DC, many in the audience will 'know' some of the faces quite well.

#12 little-junkie

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:03 AM

I can't help but jumping into this discussion.
I personally don't like how ballet, ballet companies and dancers are presented in the reality shows. I understand you need drama to keep the shows going, and I do feel that it's a positive thing to see ballet on the mainstream media outlet more often nowadays. I just don't like the fact that it's gearing toward to the gossip side of things, when at times (most of time if you ask me) it is completely irrelevant from the art itself and the essence is lost. On one side, yes, the ballet world is open up to the general public in a broader way, that's a plus. Then on the other side, I still don't think the TV viewers actually get to know the "authentic" reality because they are distracted with gossip and rumors. That's creating a false "reality" (do you still call it a reality when it's staged?) about what dancers are like.
I'm not completely against seeing ballet in reality show, I only hope there would be more depth into it.

#13 Natalia

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:20 AM

I agree, little-junkie. I'm just grateful to see bits of serious ballet on the tube! Last night, I kept thinking that some of the lines seemed to have been scripted...that these dancer-'actors' would not be uttering such words in real life.

Well, If we think that this show is 'phoney' and scripted...wait 'til ABC Family's own ballet-'reality' series begins next week: titled BUNHEADS. (eek!)

#14 stinger784

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:42 AM

I think I made it very clear in my first post that I am not happy with how the dancers were portrayed. We received enough damage, as dancers, from Black Swan, and now we have to put up with this show making us look infantile. (Can you tell yet that I am upset with this show?) It would have been great for Ballet West to sign on for a project like this with PBS or Ovation. It would have at least been taken seriously. Remember when A&E and Bravo used to show arts all the time, it would be great for them to get a show like this and bring it back to true reality. CW just wants the drama, but now I have to go to everyone that asks me on the street if that is what it is really like. I had to do it with Black Swan and now I have to do it with this show.

OY!

#15 lmspear

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:44 AM

Enjoyed the small rehearsal clips of Balanchine's Emeralds and Petipa's Paquita.


I've haven't had the chance to watch the program, but 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. I hope that others can other groups can use whatever process the producers/network/Ballet West used as a road map.

Cheers.


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