Breaking Pointe, So Far

Now that we've seen the first two episodes of The CW's Breaking Pointe, I'm left feeling like the producers are missing the point. So far, at least.

 

The show tries so hard to be dramatic. Which is understandable. They have to sell this to a mainstream TV audience. From the shadowy opening dance shots, to the voiceovers of Allison DeBona talking about how ruthless the competition is and Adam Sklute's comments about the expendability of dancers, everything bangs us over the head with "drama."

 

For the most part, the show gets it right: Dancers do have to deal with insane competition; their bodies take a beating; dancers have little outside life; their dating pool becomes incestuous; they do crazy things like forgo a kitchen table in order to have a "stretching room" in their house.

 

But we've yet to see much of the actual day-to-day work in class and rehearsals—the core of what it is to be a dancer. The first two episodes gloss over the fact that dancers spend their entire work day striving to achieve the impossible. Maybe the producers are afraid that people who don't understand classical technique would get bored watching dancers actually dance. But I hope that guess is wrong, and in the next few episodes we'll get to see the sweat, not only the tears.

Latest Posts


xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks