Ruth Sadelle Alderson

Disagreeing with fandom since 1999.

Ruth Sadelle Alderson rsadelle
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Ballet-Related TV I've Watched This Summer
Dance Academy

I watched all of season one of Dance Academy some time ago, but this summer I got caught up on season two. Dance Academy is basically a teen dance movie, only Australian and in half-hour increments. I absolutely love it. (Forewarning: the end of season two is hopeful, but I also bawled my eyes out at the last two eps. Also, it has a bit of second-season syndrome, where once they got renewed, they added characters and had to come up with dramatic plot points.) The entire run of the show is on Netflix instant, and if you like teen shows and dance movies, you will probably also like this show.

The only fic on AO3 is Sammy/Christian, which makes sense as you get later in season one, although the beginning of the show seems to set up Ethan/Christian. If I were going to do Yuletide this year, Dance Academy would be my number one fandom requested. I really want some Kat/Abigail - they used to be best friends - or something about Kat and Ethan, who are each other's family in a way that their parents don't quite fit into.

Breaking Pointe

Breaking Pointe was a six-episode reality show covering six weeks in the life of Salt Lake City's Ballet West. The show aired on The CW, but was co-produced by the BBC. I expected this to bring high production values; instead, it seems to have brought respectability and possibly financing. The lighting, particularly when people are at restaurants, looks like soap opera lighting, which is understandable given that they're probably trying not to interfere too much.

The first episode introduces us to, and sticks closely to, the main characters: Adam, the artistic director; Christiana, the principle dancer; Beckanne, the ingenue; Ronnie, the ego; and dancers Rex, Ronald, Katie, and Allison. Once they've established the core group, later episodes also let us meet additional members of the company and the dancers' families.

Breaking Pointe is an interesting show for its look inside a ballet company. (If you want to just watch dancing, skip to episode five, which is opening weekend.) The problem with the show is Rex and Allison. For whatever reason, the showrunners decided that devoting a hell of a lot of time to their relationship - Rex is in love with her, she's afraid of commitment and doesn't really want a serious relationship but relies on him for emotional support, it's heavily implied that they hook up somewhat regularly - and it's terrible. I spent a lot of time saying, "Just break up already!" They have a fight that could have been scripted by a soap opera writer where they decide no more, and then the final shot of the show is Allison showing up at Rex's place and Rex letting her in. My mom watched the opening weekend episode and pointed out something I hadn't noticed: in that ep, they each have an experience on stage where things don't go right, and both of them blame other people for it. The interesting thing to me is that the portrayal of Allison in the show is probably good for Adam and bad for Allison: he has a lot of ideas about how to manage her and probably wants to keep her in the company, where I expect that the show's presentation of her as unable to hold it together will hurt her career if she ever wants to move to another company. Possibly the funniest thing about my feelings about Allison is this: I was watching an episode and tweeted about what a jerk Ronnie is (trust me; he's a jerk). I was thinking that I didn't much like Allison either, but couldn't figure out what to say about her, and then it turned out to be a good thing I didn't, because she replied to my tweet about Ronnie.

I did like both Christiana, who is not only a phenomenal dancer but also an adult in both age and temperament, and Beckanne, who is very young but very professional and a fantastic dancer. (She jumps from pre-company to demi-soloist, skipping the corps stage.) Beckanne is also best friends with Katie (who is dating Ronald). In the first episode, everyone is waiting to hear about contracts for the next year, and Katie is the only one of our core characters who doesn't get a contract. Not only are she and Ronald devastated, but so is Beckanne since Katie is both her best friend and her only friend in the company. Ronald (who is Rex's brother) has several siblings, and Katie at one point says that Beckanne should marry one of his brothers so then Katie and Beckanne can be together forever. If anyone wanted to write me Katie/Beckanne or Ronald/Katie/Beckanne, I would be totally into that.

Although I enjoyed it - and it did, of course, make me cry - I wouldn't really recommend Breaking Pointe unless you're really into either ballet or reality TV.

Bunheads

The original previews for Bunheads showed us Vegas showgirl Michelle marrying Hubbell, a guy who is her biggest fan, and moving with him to his house on the beach in fictional Paradise, California where he lives with his mother, Fanny, who runs a dance studio out back. (There is a real Paradise, California, but it's in the foothills about fifteen minutes from where I live in Northern California, while this one is on the beach somewhere near Santa Barbara.) What the original previews don't show is that Hubbell dies at the end of the first episode, and the show then becomes about Michelle and Fanny figuring out what to do next and eventually how to live and work together; Hubbell has, of course, left everything to Michelle, and Fanny eventually gets her to teach in the dance studio. The other characters are Truly, a local woman who was in love with Hubbell, and Fanny's older students: Boo, Sasha, Ginny, and Melanie. (I had to go to Wikipedia to look up Ginny and Melanie's names, which should tell you something about their place in the story.)

Bunheads is from Amy Sherman-Palladino, who was also the showrunner for Gilmore Girls. I've never seen Gilmore Girls, and maybe I would like Bunheads more if I had. Sherman-Palladino is one of those showrunners whose main concern is the snappy dialogue. The problem with Bunheads (and I don't know if it's a problem with this show in particular or Sherman-Palladino in general) is that the emphasis seems to be on getting all the words out smoothly and not on doing anything with them. This show should be deeply emotional - and it did make me cry a couple of times in the first few eps - but it mostly falls flat. I'm relatively sure this is an acting/directing failure more than a writing failure because I noticed in one particular episode ("Blank Up, It's Time") that only two of the scenes held emotional weight, and they were both scenes Fanny was in.

I really want to like Bunheads. It's all about relationships between women - the four teenage girls, Fanny and Michelle, Michelle and Truly, Fanny and the teenage girls, Michelle and the teenage girls - and it's about dancers, but the fact that it sacrifices emotion to dialogue delivery keeps me from really liking it that much. I checked AO3, and most of the fic is Boo/Sasha, which I want to want more than I actually want it. The only fic I really want for this show, which, again, is a show full of women, which is totally my thing, is Michelle/Truly.
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I feel you would enjoy The Secret Lives of Dancers!!!

http://www.tv3.co.nz/Shows/TheSecretLivesofDancers.aspx

Oooh, that sounds like exactly my kind of thing (especially since everything else is done with their seasons). I will have to check it out. Thank you!

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