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Breaking Pointe Season Two


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#16 Helene

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:28 AM

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.



#17 EvilNinjaX

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:55 PM

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



#18 Helene

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 02:15 PM

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.



#19 pherank

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:53 AM

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?



#20 Jayne

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 01:39 PM

*************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.  



#21 pherank

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 02:17 PM

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.



#22 pherank

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 03:18 PM

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/...0d-c001a1056491



#23 Helene

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 03:26 PM

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. 

#24 pherank

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 03:42 PM

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...



#25 Helene

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

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.



#26 pherank

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 06:00 PM

The dancer who was actually in jeopardy was Bennett, since her partner 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.

 

This occurred to me too, regarding Bennett - in a major story ballet the chemistry between leads is so important, and they also need to move together 'naturally' - presumably because they've worked together for endless hours. Throwing in a replacement at the last moment rarely yields a great performance.

 

I certainly remember NOT seeing Korbes in Diamonds when the injuries hit at the end of the season.  ;)



#27 Jayne

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 06:23 PM

Helene brings up a good point about future runs of Cinderella.  Per the casting that I googled, BW had 10 performances of Cinderella!   For all their other programs, they have 6 (excluding Nut).  I would call that an unqualified success!  SFB jumped the gun on their PR announcing that the Wheeldon Cinderella would be "back by popular demand" (before the first run had even sold through).  Fortunately their PR boast turned out to be true, because the run did eventually sell out.

 

In this case as well, I think 10 performances in a midsized city is a great success, and Sklute will most likely bring Cinders back in a year or so.  Beckanne Sisk will have the experience of auditioning to help her for the next round.  

 

Since we don't see all the footage, perhaps Sisk is indeed an understudy for the initial production, but all 3 Principals were able to perform, so she was given other featured roles instead. 



#28 Helene

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:07 PM

From tonight's episode, it was clear that Sklute was pushing for Sisk, even if she was partner-less.   From what was shown, though, it seemed like Somes was:
 
http://mckaylaisnoti...age/35914202850
 
with anyone.

#29 sandik

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:49 PM

At Pacific Northwest Ballet, dancers often learn roles as new works are taught, with the understanding that they are not in line to perform during this particular run.  Occasionally, this becomes a form of insurance against multiple cast injuries, but more often it is simply getting a running start on future performances.



#30 Helene

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 11:58 PM

The way the show is shot, all five women and the four men with whom four are paired, appeared to be auditioning for the roles of Cinderella and Prince. We should know next week whether either of the two dancers who weren't cast continued to rehearse the roles. We should also know whether one cast member is the equivalent of the guy in the red shirt in the first scene of "Star Trek."


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