“Bunheads,” Season 1, Episode 4

By Debra Schreiber/Pittsburgh

Boo/Courtesy of Picktainment.com

“Bunheads” was back with an all-new episode this week, and perhaps the funniest episode to date.

Fanny was on a mission to get the studio in prime condition for the Joffrey auditions, which ended up being difficult when all of Michelle’s stuff (and some stuff that wasn’t hers but came with her partially furnished Vegas apartment) show up on a moving truck.

Boo’s mother was concerned about Boo’s feelings: she didn’t get the audition last year and was very upset by that. But Boo said she feels ready this season. Her mom actually bought her a “Better Luck Next Year!” cake before the audition. And then Boo’s one of Boo’s pointe shoes broke. Luckily, Sasha was bold enough to steal money from her mother’s purse to buy Boo a new pair…but of course played it off as though her father had bought them for her and she was just dumping them on Boo.

Fanny (right) and Michelle (left)/Courtesy of JustJaredJr.com

All did not seem to be going as planned for Fanny when she received an urgent fax notifying her that the audition would not be held in her studio (the floor wasn’t quite right). Fanny was highly upset; after all, she had worked with the summer program for 12 years. And the audition was moved to another part of California. The girls wanted to go but Fanny didn’t.

Meanwhile, Michelle was having her own audition nightmares. She decided to make it her mission to help Fanny and her floors. And she succeeded…well, thanks to Fanny, and they got Joffrey back!

Boo didn’t get the audition, but “she was seen,” which to Fanny was all that mattered.

“Bunheads” Season 1, Episode 2

By Debra Schreiber/Pittsburgh

Two episodes of “Bunheads” down and already one character down.

Courtesy of Crushable.com

R.I.P Hubbell.

So what’s going to happen to Michelle? Nothing as of yet, with Fanny aggressively going about planning his memorial service.  Luckily, Fanny has some friends to help – and maybe keep her under control. An odd mix indeed, but the ladies kept up the humor in this episode.

“I don’t do funerals. There’s no celebration,” Fanny said. “Buddhists believe everyone comes back.” Which translates to party. But what starts out as a traditional Buddhist ceremony slowly turns into a circus – Barnum & Bailey’s tent included.

Michelle thinks Hubbell’s death was her fault, and seeks solace in Fanny’s dance studio…and the bar.

Since Fanny’s in full grief mode, no one’s around to teach the girls, who Boo makes stay in the studio, just in case their teacher shows up.  When Fanny doesn’t come around, Shae takes it upon herself to go and find her, which she does, sad and alone. She also finds Michelle, sad and alone, and tells her that someone needs to act.

So act Michelle does. No more tent. No more plane. No more excessive amount of lilies. No sitar. No more 500 guests. Just candles, a whole lot of tulle, and a dance for Fanny.

Courtesy of Afterellen.com

Fanny seems to warm back up to Michelle, but then comes the news that Hubbell has left everything to her.

Catch this past week’s full-length episode for a limited time only here.

“Bunheads” Season 1, Episode 1

By Debra Schreiber/Pittsburgh

Courtesy of ABCFamily.go.com

ABC Family’s new series “Bunheads” premiered on Monday, June 6.

The show, from executive producer Amy Sherman (“Gilmore Girls”), follows Vegas showgirl Michelle (Sutton Foster) from Sin City to a small town (called Paradise), where there is apparently no movie theatre, for her new husband. But there is a dance studio.

The studio is owned by her mother-in-law Fanny (Kelly Bishop) and home to bunheads. What exactly IS a bunhead?

“Anyone who devotes their life to dance,” said Emma Dumont, who plays Melanie Segal on the show.

“Just someone who … ballet consumes them,” added Bailey Buntain, who plays Ginny Thompson.

“Just kind of an obsessed ballerina,” agreed Kaitlyn Jenkins, “Bettina ‘Boo’ Jordon.”

(Watch the interview HERE)

And then there’s the obvious: a ballerina. Ballerinas wear buns.

But Vegas showgirls wear glitz outfits with big feathers.

The costumes in the opening scene, when Michelle was still in Vegas, were brilliant.

Courtesy of Insideetv.ew.com

As the show opens, she loves her job, but hates that topless girls who follow her act, saying that it’s a terrible message to the girls of America, “Hey girls, forget about actually learning to dance, just take your top off and stand there.”

After the show Michelle tells her BFF that it sounds like she’d be leaving her Vegas job soon for a role in “Chicago.” Then love steps in. Or, rather, a present-toting, flower-wielding admirer who appears once a month to court Michelle. We are led to assume that this has been happening for an entire year.  “Stalker” was probably an adept title for Mr. Hubbell. Michelle quickly ditches him. Quick time lapse to the a.m. and then, as Michelle put it, “show time.”

The “Chicago” dream came to a quick end (a.k.a. a “no” the first time the director laid eyes on her). Back to a run-down apartment Michelle went. Back to the Vegas show. And back was Hubbell, this time with jewelry and another dinner invitation. This time, Michelle went.

During dinner, Hubbell proposed, prompting a humorous no from Michelle… followed by a very drunk yes. Then, hello Paradise, and hello mother-in-law who was trained by Balanchine and runs a ballet studio that looks to have been converted from a barn in her back yard.

At the studio, Michelle meets several of the bunheads. Only the first episode and we’re facing body image and dieting issues for ballerinas. Though bunhead Sasha is thin, the others girls are a tad more shapely, with one constantly complaining that her breasts are simply too big.

“But none of that means you shouldn’t try,” Mother tells a sad, “big-boned” Boo.

Mother is also on the hunt for a missing tutu. If not found, “The Nutcracker” won’t have a Clara. She is preparing her students for a visit from the head of the Joffrey Ballet School as well. And she has to handle Michelle joining her and Hubbell in their home.

Mother provides a less than warm welcome (though she does offer to through Michelle a wedding party) and neither does anyone else in town, especially a sales associate from Sparkle who claims that Hubbell was the only man she ever loved. Michelle and Mother eventually warm up to one another in a sort of “Gilmore Girls” mother/daughter relationship spin.

Courtesy of Poptower.com

However, Michelle doesn’t love Hubbell. And she tells him at their party. He seems to think she will grow to love him. I think he loves her because she reminds him of his mother.

But will we get to see their relationship blossom? Find out next Monday at 9/8c.

Watch “Bunheads” anytime on ABCFamily.com.

Breaking Pointe, Season 1, Episode 1

By Debra Schreiber/Pittsburgh

Dance shows are HOT this summer: “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Bunheads,” (premiering June 11 on ABC Family) and now a new series from the CW: “Breaking Pointe.”

Courtesy of Sheknows.com

The station that has brought us dramas such as “Gossip Girl” and “The Vampire Diaries” promises that there’s more – in the world of ballet:

“Viewers will also see the dark side of this seemingly perfect world; the jealousy, competition and intensity that exist behind the scenes at a professional ballet company. For under the tights and tutus lie warriors, who battle in a gritty world of extreme athleticism, focus and dedication, while hunting for the unattainable…perfection,” according to the CW’s website.

And what professional ballet company is this you ask? The Salt Lake City Ballet Company, Ballet West. Appearing will be Artistic Director Adam Sklute, and his dancers: Principal Artist Christiana Bennett, Soloist Ronnie Underwood, Demi-Soloist Allison DeBona, Demi-Soloist Rex Tilton, Beckanne Sisk, Kathleen (Katie) Martin and Ronald Tilton. For six weeks viewers will get to know them all.

Beckanne, 19, is a frist year dancer who has already had prinicpal parts. Rex, 24, is in love with Allison, 28, who is ok with choosing ballet over love. Ronnie, 30, is a hotrod gear head. Christiana, 32, has worked since age 19, and strives for perfection. Katie, 23, rounded out the cast with Ronald, her boyfriend.

Courtesy of Cwtv.com

But this is no glamour shot. This is an epic cinematic view that brings you right into the dancers’ rehearsals and lives, giving the audience a glimpse of what it is like to be a modern-day competitive ballerina.

“No one sees the sacrifice and discipline it takes to look perfect for the audience. Nobody knows that in order to advance and get the best roles, dancers have to navigate the complicated social politics inside the company. And, no one sees, when the curtain goes down, the drama that bleeds into the dancers’ private lives…until now” said the CW.

Training, injuries, competition, rivalry, relationships and passion were just a few of the topics highlighted in the premiere episode on June 31 at 8/7c. Contract time had come to the company, and with only 40, it was up to Adam to decide who would stay and who would go, leaving everyone on their toes.

“The nature of my work…is to make difficult decisions about the company, and I often have to make decisions the dancers don’t like,” said Adam. “It’s hard on them.”

Christiana wasn’t worried: she would get two years notice if her contract were in peril.

The other dancers said they admire Christiana. Her dedication to perfection is “a lot to live up to” she said.

The other girls seemed to like Katie.

“Good friends like Katie are very hard to find in a company,” noted one of the girls, with another adding she wouldn’t know what to do if Katie had to go.

New artist, corps de ballet, demi-soloist, soloist, principal dancer is the way the ballet company hierarchy runs, viewers were told, and when contracts rolled in, many dancers expected promotions.

Courtesy of Tv.yahoo.com

Christiana’s was, of course, renewed.

Allison was promoted to demi-soloist.

First-year apprentice was given to Ronald, demi-soloist to Rex.

Ronnie wanted to be a principal, but got first-soloist and a pay raise instead. He did not make a decision.

Beckanne had a meeting. Adam praised her beautiful feet, but said he didn’t want to push her too far. However, he decided to move her up to demi-soloist, which he warned would require her to become a role model, at 19.

Katie also had a meeting, and hers did not result in a happy ending but tears. Her contract was not renewed.

That left Ronald with a choice: his love, or his brother. He decided to stay with his brother and to make it work with Katie.

The dancers went to a dance club to blow off some steam, where viewers learned more about Allison and Rex’s relationship, which is rocky, or “tumultuous” said Christiana.

Rex told Allison, “I love you.” Allison basically called him crazy.

With three performances coming up, it was time to push, but Rex was noticeably distracted during his rehearsal. Katie was feeling the pressure as well. While her contract was not renewed, she still had two months to finish with the company, all while looking for other jobs.

“I hate packing,” Katie said, packing for an audition trip to Idaho.

“You’re going to do great,” Ronald said, adding, “I’m going to make it work with Katie, no matter what.”

But will he? Find out next week.

“Breaking Pointe” airs Thursdays 8/7c on the CW.