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Breaking Pointe Season Two


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#46 Helene

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 02:21 PM

I could see having to explain Wellington to an American dancer, and that it's not just a random character name, but it's hard for me to get my head around having to explain who Napoleon is, even to someone with an eighth-grade education, because the famous portrait is a fairly common image and used a lot in comedy.



#47 pherank

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 02:46 PM

I could see having to explain Wellington to an American dancer, and that it's not just a random character name, but it's hard for me to get my head around having to explain who Napoleon is, even to someone with an eighth-grade education, because the famous portrait is a fairly common image and used a lot in comedy.

 

Napoleon is so famous, he's been known by his first name for some time.

 

In the British world, Napoleon may be 'comical', but I doubt he is a comical figure to the French. ;)

It's human nature to try to reduce our enemies in 'stature' - making them less scary, and less attractive.

 

Not to belabor the point, but it sure would be nice if the dance companies learned something about the ballets that they take part in. After all, they will be passing on this knowledge to the younger generations, so better start knowing something.



#48 Helene

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 02:50 PM

It's not like Wellington gets the girl.



#49 dirac

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 05:56 PM

 

Which would be doubly remarkable considering that Josh doesn't know who Napoleon Bonaparte was - and apparently no one is going to educate him on that point.

 

 

In defense of Josh, it was actually Zach who didn't know who Napoleon was.

 

 I add my thanks, love_ballet. Good catch.

 

I have read that when writing for many general-interest publications you have to be cautious about most historical references pre-Hitler. Napoleon isn't a figure in American history and it's not at all surprising to me that a teenager might not know exactly who he is, although it would be nice if he did. On top of that Zach is in a profession that is all-consuming.



#50 love_ballet

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 06:12 PM

Very true. After watching this episode, I asked my daughter (now in college) what she learned in high school about Napoleon. Her response "Nothing really. I didn't take European History, mom!"



#51 pherank

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 07:57 PM

Napoleon is responsible for something besides warfare: probably his most lasting contribution to Europe was the Napoleonic Code, which has formed the basis of the legal systems in France, the former French colonies, and in many European countries that were occupied by Napoleon's armies (Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Poland, AND their former colonies). Civil codes in Egypt, Canada and South America are supposed to be based upon the Napoleonic Code as well. So, an important European figure for various reasons.

 

But now back to Ronnie Underwood and his bare chest!



#52 LiLing

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:47 AM

One more aspect of this series to complain about.  Perpetuating the stereotype of the air headed dancer.
At least the other dancers seemed taken aback that Zach had never heard of Napoleon.
 
My question is, why did Sklute assign Josh to learn the part in the first place?  That seems cruel if he didn't intend to cast him.  And what happens now if Zach is out, and he has to ask Josh to go on for him?


#53 Helene

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 07:03 AM

Sklute showed Josh's photo to Somes during the casting dinner, which was late in the game; he may have had reservations until the end.

Because of the way the show has been shot and the characters on which its focused, it's as if there are few dancers in Ballet West except the ones in they show. There might have been others auditioning/learning the Suitors who were never shown to us. It's hard to imagine that no one else learned/auditioned for part in such a major production even though we may never see it; although no one else was in the public cast list for Suitors except Zach and Ronald Tllton, the Wellington, leaving it to chance that either couldn't be ill or injured during the rehearsal period or run isn't very prudent. It wouldn't have been logically credible for Sklute to have said, "I'm not giving you the role because I'm worried about making you the butt of jokes, but, oh, by the way, I will in an emergency," although it's human, especially when someone is ambivalent, to leave it up to fate to make the decision for them, on the one hand, and on the other, bosses are not known for selflessness in general, and dancers have to suck it up a lot.

Casting Spoilers

#54 lmspear

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 08:48 AM

Very true. After watching this episode, I asked my daughter (now in college) what she learned in high school about Napoleon. Her response "Nothing really. I didn't take European History, mom!"


Didn't they cover the Louisiana Purchase in American History?

#55 pherank

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 03:47 PM

 

One more aspect of this series to complain about.  Perpetuating the stereotype of the air headed dancer.
At least the other dancers seemed taken aback that Zach had never heard of Napoleon.

 

Somehow, dancers come across differently in the film "Etoiles: Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet".   ;)

 

Didn't they cover the Louisiana Purchase in American History?

 

They did at my public school - though I confess to being particularly bored at that point. It's hard for a kid to care about such things.



#56 Helene

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 04:03 PM

Dancers at the schools of Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and at the Vaganova Academy are given a full academic curriculum while they are at the school.  American dancers have to fend for themselves when it comes to their educations, and not all US school systems are flexible with the schedules for elite athletes and dancers.



#57 Jayne

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:19 PM

The US is a large and diverse nation of 50 states and various territories and districts, each governing their educations separately and individually.  With 312 million residents - the size of 2/3 of Europe - there are going to be some good and bad education systems.  

 

On the other hand, I watched "The White Queen" with my mother last night after dinner.  She didn't learn a thing about European / British history.  It was very frustrating to watch with her and have to over-explain everything (except the sex scenes, of course).  Then I had to explain the fictional Phillipa Gregory embellishments to the story.  Such a shame, because the original is such a fine story without embellishment.

 

Back to Napoleon, the wars in that time really set boundaries that were contested in the 20th century.  It was also a lesson in what happens when Democracy fails and a dictator (ahem, First Consul) takes over.  It gives context to Russia's long held suspicion of the West, and anti French hostilities.  

 

I understand Zach's ignorance, but on the other hand - Google is the new Encyclopedia!  A little curiosity paired with a search engine will do wonders for your enlightenment. 



#58 Helene

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:34 PM

Zach made it clear in the episode that his education was curtailed, so the diversity of education systems in the US is only relevant if he wanted to remain in a decent school system, but the system wouldn't accommodate his schedule.

 

Google would only be relevant if Zach knew that Napoleon was a historical person and not simply a fictional character in a ballet.



#59 pherank

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 01:39 PM

Love or Ballet


(Ep. 204)


Original Air Date: 8.12.13

 



Relationship angst. Christiana in rehearsal, Ian hurting while rehearsing. Gratuitous Zach. Gratuitous Ronnie.  Gratuitous go-go dancers (can't really call them strippers).



 

OK, strictly speaking, Ronnie and Zach footage is not gratuitous as they are part of the company, but there's next to nothing about ballet here - it's about goofy behavior and cheap laughs. Zach does make the statement that (and I'm paraphrasing) 'if you love ballet you don't want to be stuck in the Corps de Ballet'. He doesn't realize how demanding Corps roles can be, especially at the big companies. The very best companies have entire corps largely made up of Christiana Bennetts (not Zachs).

The ballet footage is confined to rehearsal shots - this episode is about people's relationship struggles. There is, however, an interesting interview in Adam Sklute's office (and more contract interviews next week, I guess). I couldn't help but notice that Sklute is wearing his winter-weight clothes and a muffler, while his dancers are in their practice clothes. But it's kind of nice that he dresses up.



#60 Helene

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:32 PM

All hail the fast forward button.




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