Ballerina, Reality Star

A day in the life of Ballet West's Beckanne Sisk
Published in the June/July 2013 issue.

Photography by Erik Ostling

 

Before “Breaking Pointe,” Beckanne Sisk’s life was pretty straightforward: breakfast (fried eggs and a coffee), an hour and 15 minutes of warming up (“mostly sitting in a split and talking”), an hour and a half company class, two to six hours of rehearsal, possibly a performance, then home. Being cast in the reality show didn’t change her routine, but it had an impact on her approach. “Everything you say and do matters more all of a sudden,” she says. “It actually motivated me in my dancing because I knew there were constantly thousands of eyes on me.” Sisk admits the first season was a challenge. “I did watch the show when it aired, mostly with my eyes closed,” she says. “I came across a little ditzy.” But the second season, which premieres July 29, felt even riskier as the cameras followed her home: “It’s my personal life as well as my career this time. I’m really nervous about it. They were there every day for 10 weeks, and they saw everything.” For Sisk’s fans—whose numbers have skyrocketed since the show began—that can only be a good thing.

“Being filmed is like having a bug around you constantly,” says Sisk. “But you can’t look at it, you can’t swat it—even though sometimes on a bad day I really wanted to.”

Sisk performing Summer Fairy in Sir Frederick Ashton’s "Cinderella."

Getting ready for the show

“Before performances, I use our break to walk around or relax at a coffee shop. Then I come back and go through all my choreography. I’m superstitious: If my run-through goes well, I’m scared I’ll have a horrible performance, but if it goes badly, I’m like, I’m going to be just fine.”

“Before I got to Ballet West, I never understood how much work goes into being a dancer. Even during breaks now, I’m constantly preparing for my next rehearsal. It’s no longer just having technique and showing up.”