Bunheads Recap: Growing Up in Ballet

This week’s episode of "Bunheads" opens with the dancers rehearsing in the studio, all in black leotards and tight buns. Watched with the volume turned down, the dancers appear to gracefully and seamlessly dance in unison. Turn the volume on and this vision of mature young ballerinas dissolves as Melanie and Ginny partake in a catty repartee about Melanie’s friendship with Cozette, which Ginny experiences as a best-friend betrayal. The contrast between the childishness of their dialogue and the maturity of the dance is mirrored by the dramatic contrast in height between Melanie and Ginny as they dance together. This jarring juxtaposition sets the tone for an episode that is all about children, adults and growing up.

The show moves from one pas de deux or trois to another. Fanny manipulates Millie to pay for the theater space and performance, each woman jousting for power. Sasha sets up her own apartment, buying furniture, setting up utilities and hosting a housewarming party, but ultimately ends up sleeping on the couch in Michelle’s apartment. Michelle herself encounters her estranged mother. In a parallel to the parentless Sasha, it’s not clear whether Michelle’s mother is child or parent.

 

What is clear is that for Michelle, Sasha, Fanny, Ginny and Melanie, ballet provides a framework for growing up. All the chaos of the personal stories fades away as we see the dancers practice a perfect pas de deux, in this unrealistically ideal dance studio, each paired with a male partner.



Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Promotes Katlyn Addison and Hadriel Diniz to Principal; 8 Others Say Farewell

Last week, Ballet West announced that first soloists Katlyn Addison and Hadriel Diniz have been promoted to principal artist. The news marks a historic moment for the company.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Eighteen-year-old Sarah Patterson (foreground), with her classmates at New Ballet School. She's decided to stay home this summer to take advantage of outdoor, in-person classes. Courtesy New Ballet School.

Why Planning Summer Study This Year Is More Complicated Than Ever

When it comes to navigating summer intensives, 2021 may be more complicated for ballet students than last year. On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic's spring spike in 2020, summer programs went all-virtual or had very limited capacity. This year is more of a mixed bag, with regulations and restrictions varying widely across state and county lines and changing week by week.

Between vaccines and variants, can students aim for a full calendar of intensive training at local and national summer programs?

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks