dirac

Flesh and Bone

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The Starz channel has a new series in the works:

The drama will explore the dark side of the professional ballet world through the story of Claire, a young ballet dancer with a troubled past who joins a prestigious New York ballet company. Starz says the series "will unflinchingly explore the dysfunctional underbelly of the ballet world."

and from the casting call notes:

CLAIRE: Female, Caucasian, 21 years old. Series lead. Must dance at a company ballerina level. Claire is beautiful, delicate, soulful and serious. Prototype: Polina Semionova (see video above).

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Those descriptions of the roles are hilarious. I hope the show overcomes them.

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The network has announced:

  • It will be called "Flesh and Bone"
  • It will be created, written, and produced by "Breaking Bad" writer/co-producer Moira Walley-Beckett
  • Ethan Stiefel will consult and choreograph
  • In supporting roles will be former ABT Principal Irina Dvorovenko, ABT's Sascha Radetsky, and Ballet Arizona's Raychel Diane Weiner
"Flesh and Bone" follows a young ballet dancer, Claire Robbins, who has a distinctly troubled past, as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York. The dark and gritty series will unflinchingly explore the dysfunction and glamour of the ballet world.
The producers are an interesting and ballet-deep bunch:
The project will be written and executive produced by Ms. Walley-Beckett and Starz, with Executive Producers Lawrence Bender (Oscar® nominated for Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting), Kevin Brown ("Roswell") and John Melfi ("Sex and the City," "House of Cards," "Nurse Jackie," "Rome"). Bender, Brown and Walley-Beckett all have connections to the world of ballet, which brought them together with Starz on this project. Bender and Walley-Beckett are former ballet dancers, and Brown's family is made up entirely of former ballet dancers and their story was the basis for the Oscar-nominated film, The Turning Point.

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Thanks for the link, Helene. According to the link they haven't yet found anyone beautiful, delicate, soulful and serious enough for the lead.

The "troubled past" is standard issue for the protagonist of a contemporary cable drama. Perhaps Claire will be mentally unstable and reliant on prescription drugs to keep her on an even keel. Her mother earned the money to put Claire through ballet school by becoming a methamphetamine dealer. Halfway through Season 2, we will discover that Claire's real name is Dick Whitman.....

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The show may air in 2015:

The green light comes after an extensive nationwide search involving thousands of hopefuls resulted in the casting of dancer Sarah Hay (Black Swan) in the lead role.

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Evidently the show will be a miniseries. They're using many actual ballet dancers and apparently scheduling them for more than one season is a bit of a hassle. Not necessarily a bad thing, many of these multiseason serial dramas go on longer than they ought to do.

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okay... this is odd... but that flash clip of the homeless girl... I swear I used to see exactly that character in real life in the late '70s... always wondered about her... is that recreated from someone's memory? (I guess I should add that I mean a particular homeless person... there have been countless homeless in the city in the last few decades, but this image speaks of a particular child...)

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Starz' premier episode is available to non-subscribers for a limited period both streaming and online.

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The series is now available in its entirety via streaming and On Demand. I saw the first episode last night. The adjectives “dark” and “unflinching” have been used to describe the show and they are accurate enough. There are the customary shots of dangerously skinny girls with scary feet. The heroine, played and danced appealingly by Sarah Hay, comes outfitted with the emotional problems that, as noted previously, seem to be standard issue for cable drama protagonists these days. (She has the emotional problems because of a Terrible Secret.) There are some humorous moments, but it’s not at all clear that writer/producer Moira Walley-Beckett is in on the joke.

I also wonder about the heroine's habit of sleeping covered in books, presumably as a source of psychological comfort. It make for a striking overhead shot, but there must be quite the racket when she turns over.

The more relaxed censorship that is afforded pay cable is used in ways both good and bad. Good: the casual attitude toward nudity and various states of undress that will be familiar to anyone who’s spent a lot of time backstage in a theater. Bad: pretty much everything else. For a show that is supposed to be showing us the dark underbelly of ballet, we spend a disproportionate amount of time in the dark underbelly of a strip club. Walley-Beckett has made a very big production about casting real dancers, so it’s to be hoped that in the future episodes they’ll get to do some more actual dancing. Sascha Radetsky makes a good impression playing what seems to be a more jaded version of his nice boy in “Center Stage” and I anticipate fun moments from Dvorovenko as the druggie senior ballerina. (Speaking of dangerously skinny – I’m sure Dvorovenko’s thinness is perfectly natural, but gee – get this girl some cheesecake.)

Anyone else see it? (Be careful to post spoiler alerts if you are binge-watching.)

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I watched a chunk of the first episode while it was free (my local cable provider wants much too much money for the package that includes Starz -- not to mention the incredible list of ridiculous channels that come along with it). I agree -- it seems like the creators are working with very familiar soap-opera themes. It's a double-edged blade as far as that's concerned. While I appreciate the way that this treatment could normalize dance in the eyes of viewers who think of the profession as something far outside the world they inhabit, I'd really like to see more actual dance and more actual rehearsal practice. Yes, the foot inside the pointe shoe is often bloody and bruised, but so is the foot inside the soccer shoe, and the stiletto pump, for that matter.

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I kinda like some of those ridiculous channels. Lately I’ve been tuning in occasionally to BUZZR, which is showing old Goodson-Todman game shows. (Well, it beats watching Sarah Hay bring her pointe shoe down on her nail-free big toe.) Back to our topic......

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I caught BUZZR recently during my insomniac hours. They were showing To Tell the Truth complete with Kitty Carlisle, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf.

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I kinda like some of those ridiculous channels. Lately I’ve been tuning in occasionally to BUZZR, which is showing old Goodson-Todman game shows. (Well, it beats watching Sarah Hay bring her pointe shoe down on her nail-free big toe.) Back to our topic......

It's the plethora of sports channels that makes me shake my head. I love old game shows, but how many different sports can someone follow?

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I've watched the first two episodes and so far the story of Claire doesn't interest me at all, but I'm getting some guilty pleasure from watching Irina Dvorovenko camp it up as the drug-addict senior ballerina. I love her icy glares and that husky voice. Hope this leads to more acting opportunities for her, because she's a lot of fun.

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I caught BUZZR recently during my insomniac hours. They were showing To Tell the Truth complete with Kitty Carlisle, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf.

Hmmm. If it was Francis and Cerf, I would think it was "What's My Line?" but maybe Carlisle appeared on that one from time to time. Some very high quality guest stars and panelists on those shows BTW.

It's the plethora of sports channels that makes me shake my head. I love old game shows, but how many different sports can someone follow?

In my experience sports fans, particularly those of a masculine persuasion, can become deeply, if briefly, engaged with virtually any televised sporting event, including those in which they have exhibited no prior interest - say, Canadian dart competitions. I like a few niche sports, myself, so the overabundance works for me - they have to fill all those hours with something.

"Flesh and Bone" has several camp elements, but it doesn't look as if much will be made of them, alas.

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Hmmm. If it was Francis and Cerf, I would think it was "What's My Line?" but maybe Carlisle appeared on that one from time to time. Some very high quality guest stars and panelists on those shows BTW.

You're right, Dirac. They were showing "Line" and "Truth" one after the other, including vintage commercials.

:-)

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Just saw the second episode and it was still overwrought but a bit better. So far we've seen four different men in different ways asserting control over Claire's life and/or person, and the central drama will be Claire trying to reclaim this control for herself. The homeless guy still screams "Plot Device" but the collapse of Claire's evening with the guy bankrolling the new ballet wasn't bad; at first he's all politeness and I-took-the-liberty-of-ordering, and then he tires of her drunken prattle and the gloves come off. Also a nice back-and-forth with the AD and his associate.

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I've now watched five episodes and I'm most turned off by their depiction of all sexual relations in this show. There is not a single encounter that's happy, loving and consensual.

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I've now watched five episodes and I'm most turned off by their depiction of all sexual relations in this show. There is not a single encounter that's happy, loving and consensual.

I too have watched 5 and that's enough for me. Considering all the press Tiler P and Robbie F got about their marriage, along with announcements of pregnancies at NYCB, the whole show seems so alternative universe. A creepy alternative universe that expects us to believe it's the world of ballet. The creative minds should have just put it in a strip club.

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