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Breaking Pointe Season Two

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Season 2 premiere Monday night.

What members of Ballet West are hoping to see is more dancing in Season 2. That’s pretty much a given, because Season 1 was only six episodes. Season 2 is 10.

"It certainly seemed that way in production, but we never know what’s going to happen once they go into the editing room," Sklute said.

Fingers crossed.

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Looking forward to the premier tonight... here's to hoping there is more dancing than last season!

I still enjoyed the show last season though...

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I broke down and watched it - still unnervingly juvenile television.

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They kept saying Wendy Ellis Somes and I kept waiting for them to say Frederic Ashton. But I am glad that's the version of Cinderella they will be working on all season...

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I do think Adam Sklute has great taste in rep. I'd go see all of the works that he's programmed. I know I am double the age of most of the BWII kids, but yeesh, I hope this isn't true to life for most companies.

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This first episode doesn't bode well for the 2nd season. Another boring relationship's travails, the two new characters seem extremely unappealing so far, and no dancing to speak of.

I hope we get to see some real coaching from Wendy Ellis Somes. I will gladly (well, almost) sit through all the made for teen audience aspects of the show for that!

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I totally agree, the first episode was simply awful. What a terrible example for young dancers. I was enchanted by Beckanne last season but to see her drunk (as well as others) was a big disappointment. I cringed every time I heard her say, "I's and Chase's relationship..." I really hope I misheard her.

I have a question that's been nagging at me since last season - they refer to Christianne as a prima ballerina. I know she's a principle artist but prima? In my mind I reserve that title for dancers like Fonteyn or Plisetskaya (or many more that could be named). Opinions, anyone?

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I totally agree, the first episode was simply awful. What a terrible example for young dancers. I was enchanted by Beckanne last season but to see her drunk (as well as others) was a big disappointment. I cringed every time I heard her say, "I's and Chase's relationship..." I really hope I misheard her.

I have a question that's been nagging at me since last season - they refer to Christianne as a prima ballerina. I know she's a principle artist but prima? In my mind I reserve that title for dancers like Fonteyn or Plisetskaya (or many more that could be named). Opinions, anyone?

I take it Christianne means she is the company's "Prima Ballerina" (their top dog as it were)--I had a slight mental hiccup the first time I heard her say it, but I accept a certain amount of contextual latitude in how terms like "Ballerina" and "Prima Ballerina" are used. And in fact don't begrudge her the term at all.

(Also don't know if the producers are pushing this or if it's the term the company likes to use for her or ...well, whatever. But I think the general audience does likely want to see a show that includes "ballerinas" not just principal dancers.)

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This is my first viewing. The Director seems nice enough so far. He calls the dancers "Ladies and Gentlemen."


I liked a few of the scenes where the 'coaches' and dancers describe how they think the best posturing should be, etc.

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I totally agree, the first episode was simply awful. What a terrible example for young dancers. I was enchanted by Beckanne last season but to see her drunk (as well as others) was a big disappointment. I cringed every time I heard her say, "I's and Chase's relationship..." I really hope I misheard her.

Well, young dancers are just that - young. They went to a party and tied one on. As Ian noted on the show, enjoying yourself too much has its risks at what is in effect an office party, but I saw no degenerate goings-on - Ronnie never even took his shirt off - and these young people work pretty hard at their day job.

Sisk said "Chase and I's" and I think she said it once. I did wince but it's a common error and I've winced hearing/ reading it in some unexpected quarters.

If the show follows an arc similar to last season's, which focused more on dance and company life as the series went on, that wouldn't be so bad. Some of this isn't easy to watch, but then I'm not the CW's target demographic. A problem for the show as a reality show is the lack of a breakout personality to provide a focus and I don't think they're going to find one in this lot. (There is nothing wrong, of course, with not being promising material for a fun reality show.)

I still think it's good in itself to have a show like this focused on a ballet company, so I'll hang with it as long as it's around. The ratings were down from last season's debut and they were already small so that's not a good sign. However, the show's online following saved it the last time around. We'll see.

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I'm hoping Christina Bennett gets to show a different side than the first season "crying at the coming end of the career" and "the younger competition makes me nervous". Surely this beautiful dancer has other interesting things going on her life?

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I still think it's good in itself to have a show like this focused on a ballet company, so I'll hang with it as long as it's around. The ratings were down from last season's debut and they were already small so that's not a good sign. However, the show's online following saved it the last time around. We'll see.

Very much my feelings.

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I watched this when I got back to Vancouver, and never again will I knit and watch this show: from now on, I'm not letting go of the fast forward button. The parts with Wendy Ellis Somes in class and in the studio were great. If I see another minute of the Ballet West II guys or of Beckanne's relationship dramas, though, I will be tempted to poke my eyes out with Addi Sock Rockets.

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Here's a shortened version that cuts out all the drama and still retains some of the narrative...

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I cringed every time I heard her say, "I's and Chase's relationship..." I really hope I misheard her.

You didn't. Alison deBona also occasionally uses "I" after a preposition.

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I have a question: why is Beckanne learning Cinderella without a partner? It looks like precious time waisted. With 8 male "soloists" of varying rank at Ballet West, and 1 out with a significant injury, that leaves 7 males to partner the 5 potential Cinderellas. Even if dancers are having to learn an additional role/part, how can things be weighted towards - What? The Demi-soloists roles in Cinderella? Or the Corps? The principal roles have to look strong and the partnering natural. What is Sklute likely to be thinking here?

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*************Spoiler Alert*************For obvious reasons

If you google "Ballet West Cinderella Cast" you can see the final choices for casting. I don't know why Sklute failed to bring in a 5th male dancer. It would have given Beckanne a better chance to be seen by Ms Soames.

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I don't know why Sklute failed to bring in a 5th male dancer. It would have given Beckanne a better chance to be seen by Ms Soames.

That's why it seems like a set up - doomed to fail. Beckanne is being given a taste of what it is like at the "top" of Ballet West, but there's next to no chance of her being chosen under these circumstances. She gets to do preparation for the role, but Skulte seems to be implying that she's not ready yet - and he's not wasting resources on her.

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Well, young dancers are just that - young. They went to a party and tied one on. As Ian noted on the show, enjoying yourself too much has its risks at what is in effect an office party, but I saw no degenerate goings-on - Ronnie never even took his shirt off - and these young people work pretty hard at their day job.

Hi Dirac,

I was confused by your comment, because in the online version of the episode, this is exactly what happens - Ronnie takes his shirt off, and there's the lovely licking of tequilla off of Ronnie's belly - and at least one other dancer. There's definitely a lot of alcohol and drunkeness in the party scene, and I kept thinking, "Their parents must be so proud". ;) Not that I haven't been there myself, but I never would have allowed my private behavior to be recorded by TV cameras. There's a level of narcissim at work in this culture that just didn't exist when I was a 20-something. Perhaps their parents really are proud - because the kids are getting exposure!

http://www.cwtv.com/cw-video/breaking-pointe/its-not-brain-surgery-its-ballet/?play=bbe877f3-dedc-4245-8d0d-c001a1056491

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In Merrill Ashley's book she described how, as a younger dancer, she was called to a rehearsal, but wasn't used right away and sat on the side reading a book. She then realized that she was missing the opportunity to watch Balanchine at work. I don't see how it is a set-up for failure to be in the studio with Wendy Ellis Somes as she rehearsed and auditioned the couples.

There are plenty of situations where it is a long-shot for a dancer to be used. Looking at the actual casting, three of the four female Principals were cast as Cinderella. Sisk and Ohtaki, the other two shown to be in contention, are Soloists, with the rank of First Soloist between them and Principal. It would have been quite a negotiation to bump a Principal as the female lead in a full-length story ballet with limited casts, regardless of how talented a young dancer is, since there aren't two other ballets in which the Principals can lead. The fourth female Principal was not one of the five shown to be vying for Cinderella: she danced Winter Fairy, Beryl Grey's role. (So did demi-Soloist Allison diBona and First Soloist Elizabeth McGrath.)

Because the camera is on Sisk, we get a disproportionate sense of her importance to the company in relation to other leading dancers of whom we get the occasional glance.

As far as getting a taste of what it is to be at the top, whether it was deliberate or not, being in those rehearsals knowing she didn't have a partner was a test of character and resilience, and very few dancers rise rapidly through the ranks without any setbacks.

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In Merrill Ashley's book she described how, as a younger dancer, she was called to a rehearsal, but wasn't used right away and sat on the side reading a book. She then realized that she was missing the opportunity to watch Balanchine at work. I don't see how it is a set-up for failure to be in the studio with Wendy Ellis Somes as she rehearsed and auditioned the couples.

What I meant was that Sisk wasn't being given the 'resources' and attention to succeed and be chosen for the Cinderella role, specifically. She could of course dance any other role in the production - we just don't know what Skulte has planned for the rest of the production. What you are saying about taking the opportunity to learn from Somes I totally agree with. But when we are young, we don't often think in those terms. It's always interesting to me that these rules remain 'hidden' - something to be learned by hard knocks, but there's an easier way: the company leaders could reinforce the importance of learning at all times. And we adults can say, "Why should they have to remind the dancers to be professional and learn all they can when the opportunity presents itself?" But that's precisely the issue in this kind of community - they don't KNOW HOW to be 'professional', responsible, focused: they're still kids for the most part. Turning 21 doesn't transform us into instant adults, so there's going to continue to be a lot of teaching and learning...

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If success is defined as getting the role and performing it, no, she was not given the resources, but being singled out by Somes is a success, because companies usually don't get a known and esteemed production like this hoping to do it once, and Sisk is very much in BW's future. It puts her at least temporarily in the lead for a chance in the next run. To assume that with five couples each had equal opportunity is isn't realistic, since Sklute said casting was a negotiation and not entirely up to Somes, whose concerns would be the ballet, not the internal hierarchy of the company, which Sklute has to consider. (He could dismiss it after consideration, but he would consider it.)

If Somes wanted to give extra consideration to Sisk, she might have asked to have one of the other men to partner her - and we don't know what happened off-camera -- but she also could have been a distant fifth even if Underwood had been healthy. The timing is confusing because it looks like Sklute and Somes were using post-Nutcracker class to get a list of contenders, by which point Underwood's injury would be known, but Sklute may have meant that he had pre-cast them together in his head before Somes came. It didn't sound like he was planning for Sisk to be, literally, a fifth wheel.

The dancer who was actually in jeopardy was Bennett, since her partner (Rex Tilton) had an injured foot, and if it hadn't held up or had become re-injured, her partner would have been on the sidelines like Underwood. Not every dancer gets to get a new partner because the partner is injured, especially with this kind of specific and careful coaching. At PNB, for example, Korbes gets almost all of the top roles in the post prestigious slots and is featured in all of the tours for which she is healthy. That still didn't get her a new partner for "Diamonds" when hers was injured.

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