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.

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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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