“Second Cast Is First Place for Losers”
We are half way through Breaking Pointe and it remains the best new Summer Show this year, especially in its Thursday night time slot. I can’t imagine what you are watching if you’re not watching Breaking Pointe! Strap on your shoes, let’s dance.
Its Week 3 and following on last week’s contract decisions, we’re finally into the dancing phase full time. This week is casting for the upcoming shows, in particular, Paquita. By the way, Salt Lake City looks like a really beautiful place and I should definitely get out there, maybe if a comped ticket to Ballet West comes through …
To set the scene before the individual run downs, Ronnie and Katherine (Ballet West’s other principal female that is not Christiana) are in competition for first cast principal leads against Christiana and Rex. Vying for the 4 soloist spots are Allison and Beckanne. Overseeing the staging for the ballet is Russian hardass and ballet legend, Elena Kunikova.
In the B plot, Beckanne tries to infiltrate the ranks of the older dancers club given how the casting turns out but feels slighted. Over and over again. The C plot is about Allison and her awesome roomie, Katie C, taking it upon themselves to find Tom, the only gay member of Ballet West, a man. If you’re surprised that there is only 1 gay man in Ballet West, you’ve forgotten that the company is based in the heart of Mormon country. To no one’s surprise, they hook him up with Alex and its true love (at least for the night). Back in the A plot, when casting is settled, Ronnie and Katherine win the first cast leads in Paquita and Allison finds herself cast in 4 roles in the three ballet performances to be performed, including soloist and corps roles. Just typing that made me exhausted. By the way, first cast means that you dance on opening night and get to be reviewed by the critics which is what these dancers live for? I guess? To me, that sounds horrible.
On to what everyone was up to this week … except Ronald who apparently was in the bathroom or something all week of shooting because he doesn’t appear once. Even Katie M., who was fired, appears in a scene or two.
Allison - First, its obvious to anyone who has ever watched a reality show before that Allison is the break out star of Breaking Pointe. Through careful manipulation or just natural occurrences, the shows producers have turned the focus of the show on her and her struggles in and out of the studio. And, as a storytelling device, I think it works because this girl has conflict up the ying yang, both external and internal and it makes for compelling television. Second, Allison gets kicked in the teeth quite a bit this week with hard rehearsals and public (well, public in front of the rest of the dance company anyway) humiliations which clearly takes a toll on her confidence and swagger. Its nice to see Allison as a human with real emotions and not just a rain cloud on Rex’s puppy love parade. Caught up in rehearsals for the three shows, we see a terribly vulnerable Allison who is exhausted and frustrated and really at somewhat of a breaking point (pun totally intended) by the episode’s end without any clear resolution. Its an interesting comparison to Beckanne who is taking her role as soloist and Elena’s teaching all in stride without difficulty or afterthought. I like Allison as she is portrayed on the show and found myself yelling at the TV screen to suck it up because she is better than this. As rehearsals rage on, Allison gets more and more worn down and is even calling herself old by the end. Also, that blue tutu seems very un-Allison like. Adding to her plight is the dawning realization that as she is getting older, maybe it is time for her to start thinking about settling down and finding a life outside of dance (i.e., love). Some more Allison backstory? She quit ballet at the age of 12 for five years due to her parent’s divorce and feels like that time cost her the chance to be on the same page as her peers. To sum up Allison’s time with Elena, Elena says that “Allison has a personality. She has a very individual approach” and Allison says, “she probably thinks I’m a fucking idiot.” Yep, sounds about right.
Ronnie - This guy just bugs me so I am not going to talk about him much. He doesn’t like Rex and tells us that he’s made that very clear to him. Note, they are not and will not be buddies. Who says that to someone after the age of like … 7? All you need to know about Ronnie is summed up in a line bogarted from this week’s Bachelorette, “if Ronnie was the next bachelor, the bachelorette would be a mirror.” Enough already. For the episode, Ronnie spends equal time condescending to Rex and talking about how awesome it is to be him, because he’s awesome. My favorite part of the week was when Adam talking headed that Ronnie has some technique issues that he needs to work out if he wants to be a successful principal dancer … but, then he cast him in a difficult ballet, technique wise, so, whatever I guess? Ronnie tells us that he’s too cool to be worried about casting so he heads to get his tattoos touched up with his dancer sister, Sher’ron (?). He has a tat behind his left ear of 2 checkered racing flags with the number 93 over them. Classy. I call bullshit on the premise of this scene since Ronnie is ALL about casting and getting ahead.
Christiana - Christiana is worried about the casting at the opening of the show but is comforted by her dancer husband (and Ballet Wet principal), Chris, who kind of looks like Patrick Dempsey to me. We gets some useful behind the scenes knowledge when she tells us that being a principal dancer not only doesn’t guarantee you a leading role, it doesn’t guarantee you any part in a ballet. When Ronnie and Katherine get first cast for Paquita, Christiana is visibly bummed (Rex is always kind of hang dog so its tough to know how upset he is) but she finds her silver lining since she’s first cast in Emeralds and Petite Mort (the other two productions going on). At the Paquita rehearsals, Christiana is too nice and acknowledges that Ronnie and Katherine are great dancers. Be More Mean! Towards the end of the episode, Christiana takes Allison for mani/pedis and comes off as a really good influence on Allison and someone that can appreciate the difficult professional and life choices that Allison is dealing with. She’s definitely in the running for Best “Best Friend” against Katie M.
Rex - Rex doesn’t have much of his own storyline this week other than the fact that he is called Ballet’s Rock Star but that his lack of charisma and abundant introvertedness holds him back (especially when compared to Ronnie who is basically a proud peacock). In other stories, we see him being a calm ear for Allison to bend in her dark moments (natch) and working with Christiana through rehearsals in their second castness.
Beckanne (and Katie M.) – Beckanne is (I think) unintentionally super annoying all the time and has only one note, “she feels slighted by the older dancers because she’s awesome.” She also calls Allison (and Christiana) old about a million times though I will tell you most of it comes off as well intended statements rather than bitchy attitude but I am the first to admit I don’t speak “women code” so I can be totally off here. As we learned above, Beckanne got a first cast solo in Paquita which is, if you haven’t heard, really unusual for a 19 year old. Its hard being awesome. At the girls night out dinner, Beckanne feels slighted and judged for being young. At the dinner, Christiana and Allison are pretty honest that they don’t associate with everyone in the company and especially not the younger girls, because, really, what would they talk about? In rehearsals, for as hard a time as Allison gets from Elena, Beckanne gets the same amount in love and encouragement. She also misses Katie, her BFF. Enter Katie M who comes bearing lots of food. Beckanne waits about 2 seconds before sharing her girls night out story and Katie M is a good friend that acknowledges the awkward position. In her Talking Head, she tells us that she also understands the threat Beckanne poses to the older dancers which explains their standoffish attitude. These besties hatch a genius plan to marry a set of Tilton brothers, live next door to each other and have well timed double pregnancies. Genius! Adding some sticks on the jealousy fire, we learn that Beckanne has landed an interview for a dance mag featuring dancers “on the rise” and Tom is so super psyched for her that he tells everyone. At least she has the decency to look embarrassed about the attention but she totally misses the mark in how Allison and Christiana will react seeing as “they have already risen.” Allison takes her Darth Vader death eye rays and leaves the room. Love it!!
Wrap Ups. All of Ballet West cut loose at a mud bath party complete with bikinis and abs and swim trunks. Ah, it is a CW show afterall. I was starting to wonder. I need a dancer to talk to me about tattoos since I see that Chris is also sporting some major ink. Is that a popular thing with male dancers? Anyway, less you think these guys aren’t dorks, someone utters the phrase “bomb.com” in describing how good a class with Elena was. Bomb.com? Really? My final thought in the episode was, “Katie C., don’t let Ronnie touch you. No!!!”
Tune in for next week’s episode 4 where Allison’s stress level (and Adam’s ire) seems to hit 100 on a scale of 10!