At Ballet West, life is tough.When it's contract season, you may lose your job, significant other, friends and/or career hopes. The high stakes of the competition and the interesting personalities of the dancers make this show a treat to watch. It almost makes me want to run out and buy ballet shoes - (almost!)
Meet the group
Brothers, Rex , 24, and Ronald, 19, come from a family of ballet dancers. Ronald's girlfriend is Katie, 23, who also dances at Ballet West. Rex is in love with Alison, 28, another Ballet West girl, but their relationship is on again, off again at best. Alison doesn't want to commit to Rex, much to his disappointment.
Beckanne, 19, is Katie's good friend and a talented young dancer. Ronnie, 30, a blonde hunk, says he's not what most people think of when they think of a male ballet dancer because he loves hot rod cars. Christiana, 34, is Ballet West's prima ballerina. She wears a pretty, flowing white tutu for dance practice, while the other girls seem doomed to schlep around in tights. The others revere Christiana becasue she's where they want to be - at the top at Ballet West. Christiana's worked up to being a top dancer by being focused on perfection. Yes, this place is definitely not for slackers!
Adam is Ballet West's Artistic Director. He has the tough job of picking which dancers will stay with the company and who will go. He says to the camera that each dancer is both "special and expendable" which sounds confusing, but is true. With only about 40 contract spots and thousands of hardworking dancers, Adam has to be a tough critic.
The dancers all discuss the upcoming contract results. They are waiting for letters and/or meetings with Adam. Katie and Ronald go on a coffee shop date to discuss their chances. They think Adam likes their work enough, but of course they don't know what's going to happen. Adam says to the camera that when a dancer isn't going to get their contract continued or get a promotion, he prefers to meet with them rather than just send a letter.
Read it and don't weep
Rex, Ronald, Ronnie and Beckanne are in the gym opening their letters from Adam together. The brothers both get contracts to stay, so they are happy. Ronnie is offered a promotion as a First Soloist and this means a raise in pay, yet he's not so happy. Apparently, Ronnie was hoping for a Principal Dancer position as he says he's been doing some of these dances already. Beckanne's letter just says to go and see Adam - oh oh!
Beckanne and Katie both have meetings and Beckanne is first. Adam gets to the point and tells Beckanne she's being offered a Demi Soloist position. This is huge news since it's Beckanne's first year at Ballet West and rarely, if ever, are first year dancers ever promoted. Plus, Beckanne is only 19. She's thrilled and accepts. Katie hugs Beckanne and then it's Katie's turn.
Adam tells Katie he appreciates her hard work, but that she needs to be "a little stronger." Oh, this is not good. There is no place for Katie Adam says and he adds that he wishes it could be different. He says he will help Katie in her job search and will make personal calls to dance directors he knows. She is sweet and sobbing. This is tough and out in the hall, Beckanne tries to console her friend. Adam says he couldn't keep or promote Katie as he's not sure whether she could become a leading dancer at Ballet West.
What's going on?
Ronald and Katie hold each other in the empty theater. Rex, Alison and some of the others go out to a bar to celebrate. Rex is not thrilled that Alison is talking to other guys and he says "I love you" to her. Alison replies that Rex knows she's not "playing into that," yet she remains sitting inches apart from him. Way to be confusing, Alison!
The next day, brothers Rex and Ronald go for a walk and discuss Katie. They hope she'll be able to get work with another dance company nearby. Katie goes out to eat with Beckanne and I'm glad these skinny girls have nice, full plates of food. They likely burn it all off in the serious hours and hours of dance practice they do every day. What I also like about Breaking Pointe is that we do see the dancing practice, but not so much that it gets boring.
At the show's close, Adam is still waiting for Ronnie to accept the position he offered, but Ronnie says to the camera that he's "disappointed." Adam also comments that, as a dancer, "Rex has it all" meaning the skills, ability to partner well with other dances and everything. Yet, Adam says Rex's personal and professional lives can collide and yeah, we see Rex having trouble in his dance moves while he's thinking about Alison. Katie and Ronald spend their last hours together talking and packing up Katie's things. They say goodbye, but want to still have a relationship.
I adore this show already and can't wait for more Breaking Pointe next week. What are your thoughts on the premiere episode?