Breaking Pointe

First "Bunheads" and now "Breaking Pointe"—it seems like the ballet-on-television trend might be on its way out.

The CW has announced that it has not ordered a third season of "Breaking Pointe," the docudrama following Ballet West. The news isn't particularly surprising, as "Breaking Pointe" had very low ratings throughout the show's first season, and continued to fall during its second. Nevertheless, we'll miss our weekly dose of soapy ballet.

As a ballet lover who watches "Breaking Pointe" for the dancing, my heart sank a little when I heard that the title of last night's season finale was "The Story of Us." A whole episode devoted to offstage love stories? Oh, dear. And I was right to be afraid.

What does Sir Frederick Ashton's Cinderella look like? Although it's been the focus of the current season of "Breaking Pointe," up until last night's episode, we never actually saw much of the ballet. But we finally got a good dose of stage time this week.

"Breaking Pointe" fans have gotten used to The CW exaggerating Ballet West's backstage drama. Sometimes, the tortured plot lines are simply laughable (that Beckanne-Chase-Zach lover's quarrel, anyone?). But in capturing the company's opening-night anxieties in last night's episode, it was finally spot-on.

 

On last night's episode of "Breaking Pointe," we were finally treated to tons of footage from inside the studio. We got to see the dancers rehearse Cinderella—and dance full out. Of course, it was just a quick clip here and a quick clip there, but at least we got a healthy dose of choreography in between all the chatter about marriage.

 

Each week after "Breaking Pointe" airs, we always hear the same complaint: "Too much drama, not enough dancing!"

 

I get where the reaction comes from—these are amazing dancers, so why can't we see more of them doing what they're best at? We're teased with three-second clips of rehearsal, but then the camera always breaks away to a close-up of someone sitting there talking. Every time, I want to scream out, "No! Show us more!" I hate getting just a taste of these dancers as artists, and not being able to tell what they actually look like on stage.

 

Is it possible for a ballet dancer to get both her dream job and her prince? This week's episode of "Breaking Pointe," titled "Love or Ballet," would make it seem that in ballet, careers and relationships are two parts of life you can't have at the same time.

 

We see Christiana and Chris trying to deal with their fracturing marriage while working together in the studio. As hard as they try to save their problems for after hours, it can't help but distract their focus.

 

On last night’s episode of “Breaking Pointe,” the casting decisions for Cinderella were made, and with them came a tidal wave of drama and emotions for everyone at Ballet West. Along with showing the awkward mix of disappointment and happiness that comes with every casting, the episode also addressed the effects of ballet’s lack of diversity.

 

I'm all for behind-the-scenes peeks at the world of ballet, for moments that show dancers as humans rather than superhumans. But the dancers of "Breaking Pointe" are just so much more compelling when they're dancing—when we can see them for the extraordinarily talented artists they are, rather than the pretty normal people they are.

"Breaking Pointe" is back, and with new characters. Thank goodness! The newbies help flesh out the show, and give the company more realistic depth.

 

Chris Ruud is an especially welcome addition. He's got a real personality, and as both a principal dancer and artistic director of Ballet West II, he can offer intelligent insight into ballet—and what makes certain dancers successful.