"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.
I love that Silver Barkes offers a healthy example of a fuller ballet body type. She's also not an obsessive bunhead. Her more casual approach to her career seems to come with a more well-rounded life outside of it.
Zach Prentice answers one of the main criticisms of last season: That the show was too afraid to present the male dancers as anything less than beer-guzzling manly men. This Ballet West II member is not just gay, but engaged to another man. Although it does feel like he's overplaying his flamboyance a bit for the cameras, at least he offers another side of the spectrum.
The refreshing presence of Joshua Whitehead highlights ballet's lack of diversity. He brings a new perspective to the studio, and it will be interesting to see what he adds to the plot lines caught on camera. His not-so-easy road to professional ballet could be the most compelling story "Breaking Pointe" has captured.
Ian Tanzer might be one of the most intriguing new characters. The premiere set him up as talented and ambitious, and strategically inserting himself with the right people. He seems very promising, but this is ballet after all, and no one can predict how a career will go.