Genre: Reality TV
TV Rating: TV-PG
Other Choices: Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Iron Chef America
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: Intensity, drama mark eye-opening ballet reality series.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that, as reality series go, Breaking Pointe has some surprisingly positive messages for viewers, including the value of hard work, the ability to cope with adversity, and the importance of positivity. There's no shortage of interpersonal drama among the cast of dancers, who are forced to compete with their friends for coveted roles, but that doesn't preclude a fair number of moments of genuine affection between some of them as well. Because there's some language (most of it is bleeped, but some words, like "bitchy" and "pissed," aren't) and some casual drinking, this series is best for older tweens and teens, who will get the most from its positive themes. A common point of discussion for the female dancers is their quest for "perfection," which raises issues of self-image you can talk about with your tweens and teens.
- Families can talk about following your dreams. Tweens: What are some of your goals in life? How do you intend to achieve them? What adversity have you already conquered on that path?
- Tweens: What do you expect from your role models? How are you inspired by their example or advice? Have you ever been disappointed in the actions of someone you admired? How does that change your opinion of him/her and your desire to follow in his/her footsteps?
- How does Breaking Pointe stack up to other reality shows you've seen? Do you think this marks a movement away from the controversial side of reality and toward a more inspirational one? Can shows like this one compete among flashier ones like Keeping Up with the Kardashians abd Jersey Shore?
What's the story?
BREAKING POINTE takes viewers to the rarely seen backstage of one of the country's most notable ballet companies, Salt Lake City's Ballet West, where cameras follow seven professional dancers through auditions, practices, and performances. There's Christiana, the company's prima ballerina, who's surrounded by younger dancers she knows would love to fill her shoes. Brothers Rex and Ronald are happy to be dancing together, but each finds that romantic relationships are tough in the dog-eat-dog world of competitive dance. Newcomer Beckanne struggles to navigate the precarious hierarchy among her peers now that she's landed a coveted spot with the troupe. Overseeing the whole process is artistic director Adam, a former dancer who's determined to groom the talent he sees in his company to take Ballet West to the prima spot among the country's studios.
Is it any good?
They may be beautiful and graceful, but there's nothing delicate about the subjects of this eye-opening reality series ... or the series itself, for that matter. Even if you already know a barre from a bar and the point of pointe shoes, you might be surprised at the intensity of this rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the world of professional dance. In a place where your closest friends are also your biggest competition and fresh hopefuls are always gunning for your job, mental toughness can mean the difference between success and falling short of your goal.Surprisingly, though, even within this tense climate, there's little of the overt nastiness and backbiting we've come to expect from reality shows among the cast, most of whom keep up friendly pretenses in mixed company and even go so far as to call out their competition for their skills. Ultimately Breaking Pointe is a thought-provoking, if intense, example of the positive side of reality entertainment: a series that shines a spotlight on regular people making their dreams come true through hard work, sacrifice, and dedication.
The Good Stuff
Messages: On the upside, Breaking Pointe spotlights young adults who are living their dreams through dedication and hard work. Viewers see them cope with hardships and revel in triumphs. But there's an edge to the social dynamics, and competition sometimes brings out the worst in people. The concept of being unable to achieve "perfection" is discussed.
Role Models: The dancers have a firm grasp on their priorities, and they're willing to work hard to achieve their goals, often sacrificing social time and relationships to ensure their success. Competition sometimes brings out the worst in people, but for the most part, they're civil and even friendly to their peers. On the downside, there's a notable lack of racial diversity.
What to watch out for
Violence No violence, but viewers learn about the painful side of ballet as the dancers suffer through aching bodies and recount surgeries they've undergone in pursuit of their art.
Sex: Some kissing and physical closeness between couples, but nothing overtly sexual.
Language: Most cursing is bleeped or muted, but words like "bitchy," "pissed," and "sucks" are heard.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Adults relax and drink at a bar.