Breaking Pointe Premiere

So, did you all watch the premiere of Breaking Pointe this week? Thanks to Jeff (who commented on my earlier post complaining that the new TV show Bunheads was unrelated to Sophie Flack’s novel) or I wouldn’t have known about it. I don’t regularly watch the CW network so missed the commercials for it.

I don’t want to judge it yet until I’ve seen a few more episodes. But one thing that surprised me in this first week was how one of the dancers (the clip above introduces them) remarked on how the thing they all strive for is that one perfect moment onstage. It made me think – yikes – was Darren Aronofsky right? Is the end of Black Swan accurate, when Nina’s shrieking, “It was a perfect performance! It was a perfect performance!” that that’s what dancers actually dream of attaining?

I hope not. I hope they know perfection is ass boring. Nureyev was far from perfect. Fonteyn was far from perfect. Natalia Osipova isn’t perfect, Veronika Part isn’t perfect. None of my favorite dancers are technically perfect.

I don’t know. I’ve obviously never been in a ballet company but I’d think a dancer would have deep admiration for a star dancer, say with ABT or the Bolshoi or POB or what have you, and would aim to be like her, would strive to attain her passion and her intensity and her artistry. I didn’t see that at all. But they are probably showing what the producers think will most appeal to a general audience: the competition, the jealousy, the typical boyfriend / girlfriend disputes. Ha, I love the guy with the motorcycle. How Ethan Stiefel 😀

Anyway, will definitely keep watching. It’s on the CW network on Thursdays. Check your local listings for times.


  1. I have yet to watch the first episode but I plan on viewing it very soon. After reading what everyone else has to say about it, I’m anxious to see this show and judge it for myself. I think you may be right though about the producers only showing what they think will appeal to an audience. I suspect a few scenes and situations are manipulated to look a certain way. I wish they wouldn’t do that. I want people to really understand what it’s a like to be a ballet dancer.

  2. I was glad to see someone comment on this. I’ve regularly covered Ballet West for a number of years, and I thought whatever the producers of this video series did to get this progression of events was extremely manipulative. It made everyone look petty and self-obsessed and made Adam Sklute look like a martinet, which I think is what the company was trying to get away from when it hired him. Of *course* you want that perfect moment onstage, but what do you define as perfect? Much as I love, say, Natalia Osipova, for her vibrance and technical brilliance (really, for almost anything she does!), I’ve seen more womanly dancers with less extension and ability to jump and turn and liked them as well if not more for their artistry. Big Christiana Bennett fan from way back, though, so happy to see her get some national press.

  3. Yes, Natalia is amazing but sometimes I feel she is lacking something in artistry. When I was a serious ballet student I was always guilty of focusing too much on perfecting my technique and not enough on improving my artistry. Ballet is difficult because it is a search for perfection that will never end.

  4. I totally agree on the Ethan Stiefel thing, I said the exact thing to my husband the minute he was on the motorcycle and after that it really became clear how they were making him fit that mold.

    • You know, I wonder if the producers chose Ballet West because they thought being located in Utah, there would be more straight male dancers there. All riding motorcycles, of course!
      Which reminds me. When I was in the Zurich Ballet, I created a stir one day when a male model friend of mine gave me a ride on his motorcycle. I wonder if Breaking Pointe’s producers would have filmed that?!

      And, I totally agree with you, Tonya. Perfection is achieved by very few, and the search for it ruins the lives of many. I say leave perfection for the critics of history, forget yourself and just communicate with the audience.


  5. One more thing: I have been reading a book on violin technique, and in it there is a saying that goes something like: “The Hungarian Gypsy violinist has the ability to make a peasant intoxicated drinking a glass of water”. So which would one rather have, the ice cold satisfaction of “perfection” or the passion and feeling of true communication that comes from giving to your fellow human beings through your art?
    Something to think about, for sure!


  6. Tonya,
    Long time no see! I watched the show and thought it amusing and a bit interesting. I’m not interesting in the personal lives of dancers but seeing them work in rehearsal has appeal to me. The personal stuff is just reality TV voyeurism rubbish… and they figured out that people are peepers and so if you find a genre… anyone… ballet or bowling you can make a reality show for the peepers.

    It’s interesting that they seem to be crashing perhaps the stereotype of what ballet dancers are like and I suppose this is either a good, because stereotypes are rather limiting… or bad because stereotypes also support some myths which may not be all that bad (for us).

    Perfection is of course the thing many people who do things strive for. But if everyone was perfect it would be perhaps boring. However this is where real artistry in something like ballet or music performance lives. These are not automatons perfectly executing motion but artists who INTERPRET music, dance and so forth and provide nuance. And how wonderful that is. We’ve all seen different cast perform the same ballet.. even the same company with most of the case the same from one night to the next and the Vishneva performance bears almost no resemblance to the Julie Kent one. Both are geniuses of their art and we will have personal reasons why we like one performance or interpretation of a role better than another. And then throw a different partner with the same ballerina and she dances differently.

    But there is a sort of technical perfect that performers seek and this is a vehicle with which they can express their nuance of the role.

    I see mostly older people at the ballet and I want to see more younger ones and maybe these idiotic tv reality shows will end up adding more financial support to ballet by upping attendance and interest in the real deal.

    NYC is not the same with you Mlle Plank…


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