This Sunday, ballet is back on TV with Starz's new drama "Flesh and Bone." Though the dark, fictionalized take on the dance world is more Hollywood than reality--and be advised, the content is not appropriate for young viewers--the cast features a range of ballet superstars, including Sarah Hay (Pointe's current cover girl), Irina Dvorovenko and Sascha Radetsky. For Pointe's bi-weekly newsletter, we spoke with Ethan Stiefel, the show's choreographer and dance consultant, about life on set.
Aside from class and rehearsal scenes, you made Dakini, the final ballet in the show. What was that experience like?
Moira Walley-Beckett, the executive producer, saw this ballet as the journey of a young lady finding her own feet and becoming self-empowered. Trying to make a storyline in just 13 minutes--when that would typically happen over 25, 30, 40 minutes for a one-act ballet--wasn't easy. Another challenge was to make the dancers look like a cohesive group that could have worked together for years, when actually they'd only been together for months.
What was the filming process like?
We shot the final ballet in two long days. I have to say it took me back to myCenter Stage days. You know, doing things over and over and starting and stopping, which is very different from what a dancer would experience in live performance. But my job was to keep everybody focused, energized and hopefully inspired. Any time you have a chance to put ballet on film is a real opportunity.
What's next for you?
This has been the year of working in TV and film. I just choreographed for "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," and now I'm revisiting my role of Cooper Nielson for--working title--Center Stage: Dance Camp. I'm also setting a pas de deux fromBier Halle, which I made for Royal New Zealand Ballet, on ABT Studio Company. I'm happy to have all these creative things popping up.