By Debra Schreiber/Pittsburgh
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.
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.
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.