Why Dancers Will Never Get "Breaking Pointe"

"Breaking Pointe" closed out the season last night heavy on the drama, light on the dancing. Although the finale ostensibly focused on the simultaneous excitement and let down during the close of a run, most of the episode concentrated on Katie's goodbye and Rex and Alison's breakup. Even Christiana ended up in tears (seemingly due to something about the pressure of being too good?).

 

Encouragingly, the closing shots—Adam at an audition in New York, Alison literally knocking on Rex's door—set the scene for a second season. I'd love to see the show back next summer. Because despite the melodrama that obviously panders to non-dancers, "Breaking Pointe" can't help but drum up interest in ballet.

 

Of course, most dancers will never be happy with how they're portrayed by outside eyes. Pointe writer Kathleen McGuire put it really well in an email to me last week: "I don't think ballet dancers will ever fully embrace a pop culture image of ballet. They're like Goldie Locks—this is too soft, this is too hard. Ultimately, to accept any popular understanding of ballet would be to admit it's possible for someone outside to 'get it.' Part of what helps ballet dancers pursue such a challenging lifestyle is the feeling that it somehow makes them special. If just anyone can understand their world, it becomes less special."

 

There's something to be said for the mystique of the ballerina. But for the past week, my morning commute has brought me past a bullpen of paparrazzi outside the apartment where Katie Holmes is staying, and it's reminded me that people today want to know everything about their idols. They want to read Ashley Bouder's tweets during intermission between Odette and Odile. They want to learn which dancers date each other, and what it's like inside the artist's world. It will still be a special world—only the most talented will ever get invited. There just might be a fuller house on performance days.

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