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Skylar Brandt and Julian Mackay dance Flames of Paris. Vladim Shults, Courtesy Russia-K.

When American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt's phone lit up with a message from Julian MacKay last summer, she never could have imagined the journey it would set her on. Brandt barely knew the Mikhailovsky Ballet first soloist—they'd met briefly in St. Petersburg a few months earlier—but he wrote that he had a project he thought she'd be perfect for. Brandt was flattered, but assumed she'd be unavailable. She'd just come off an eight-week season with ABT and was in Los Angeles finishing up a tour. But MacKay was insistent. The next morning, Brandt was brushing her teeth when his sister, Maria Sascha Khan, called. "She explained that Julian was in Paris rehearsing for a Russian TV show called 'Big Ballet' and his partner had gotten injured. She asked if I could come to Paris immediately, as the show started filming in Moscow in one week."

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Set the DVR: There's a new ballet drama coming to TV. It basically sounds like a serialized version of "Black Swan": The project, described in The Hollywood Reporter as "dark and gritty," will follow a young female ballet dancer with a troubled past who joins a ballet company in New York City. The show promises to "explore the dysfunctional underbelly of the ballet world." Sound familiar?

 

There's hope yet. The show will be produced by Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill), Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) and Kevin Brown (Roswell), all of whom have legit ties to the ballet world. Bender and Walley-Beckett were both former dancers themselves, and Brown comes from the same family as American Ballet Theatre stars Ethan Brown and Leslie Browne. Stay tuned for details about casting.

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