"Breaking Pointe" Season 2, Episode 9 Recap

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.

After the glories of last week's show, with its extensive footage of Ashton's beautifully crafted Cinderella, "BP" circled back to the far less interesting human drama going on behind the scenes. I cheered for Allison when she handed Adam her re-signed contact—brava for following your passion!—but groaned at all the semi-staged will-they-or-won't-they scenes between her and Rex. Christiana looked regal in the Cinderella pas de deux at the gala performance, but I winced at the episode's unsparing look at her crumbling marriage. Yes, even a deeply private person knows what she's signing up for when she joins a reality show, but the depiction of Christiana's troubles with Chris felt especially exploitative.

As I was watching last night, I kept imagining another, better "Story of Us" episode. The "us" that dancer fans of "BP" care about is the ballet community—we're part of that "us." And while I know we can never hope for a mainstream ballet show aimed squarely at ballet dancers, I'd like to think that the rest of the world wouldn't mind hearing a little more of the dance side of the story, too.

That said, having professional ballet dancers on television is a wonderful thing, regardless of how much we actually see of their dancing. So the let's-finish-this-neatly feeling of Adam's closing monologue worried me—there were no loose ends, a là last season's Allison-Rex cliffhanger. Will we see another season of "Breaking Pointe"? Fingers (and toes) crossed.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Coppélia" (1976)

Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov share the unique experience of having danced at both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet during their careers. The two overlapped at ABT in the mid-'70s, where they developed one of the best-known partnerships in ballet. They were both celebrated for their dynamism onstage; however, in this 1976 clip of the pas de deux from Coppélia, Kirkland and Baryshnikov prove they are also masters of control.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks