Breaking Pointe: ‘Second Cast Is First Place for Losers’
For some of us, just being on stage would be a triumph, but in the highly competitive world of real ballet dancers, being second best means you lost. You are runner up. That’s the main theme of the third episode of “Breaking Pointe,” “Second Cast is First Place for Losers” originally broadcast on 14 June 2012, but available on-demand at the CW website.
“I need all my dancers to be one hundred percent focused,” says the artistic director Adam Sklute. He’s casting for “Paquita,” “Emeralds” and “Petite Mort.” Elena Kunikova, a Russian dancer, has been brought in to help cast and train for the piece “Paquita.”
Yet you have to give Sklute credit. He’s part coach and part psychologist.
We see Ronnie Underwood who has a realistic if slightly arrogant assessment of the situation, vying for the lead in “Paquita.” Underwood has charisma. You never think of him as a pansy, but Sklute notes that he isn’t as consistent as Sklute wants him to be.
Also, Rex Tilton is up for the lead role in “Paquita” but Sklute feels he lacks confidence. He has the relationship with Allison DeBona, also a demi-soloist, and she’s the source of much of the drama in the company itself. That problem isn’t lost on Sklute or her company members such as Ronnie Underwood and even the new girl, Beckanne Sisk.
Allison DeBona and Katie C. are roommates and Allison is the center to much of the drama–in the rehearsal, in the dress rehearsal and in her private life. DeBona and Sisk are competing for the same roles. Sisk is fresh and eager. DeBona frets that the five years she took off of ballet after her parents’ divorce prevented her from being further up the ladder in the company hierarchy.
Underwood’s sister was also a professional ballet dancer and retired four years ago. She’s a bit heftier than you’d imagine a ballet dancer, but she’s also a tough girl. She goes with her brother when he gets his tattoo touched up.
Being in the first cast means you dance opening night and there will be a review about you. You try to be respectful, as DeBona says, “if you get a fantastic role, you don’t jump up and down like a kid in a candy store.”
Underwood and his partner Katherine are first cast for “Paquita.” Rex Tilton and Christiana are second cast. Beckanne gets a solo. The other demi-soloists are in their mid-twenties and Beckanne is 19. Allison DeBona (28) gets principal, soloist and corps. Sklute explains to DeBona his reasoning.
The demi-soloists talk about how much food they eat because they need the calories despite their thin physiques. DeBona, we aren’t entirely surprised to learn, has a specific routine before each show.
Allison DeBona and Katie C. take their friend, the 24-year-old Tom, to find someone. Tom is the only gay guy in the company and he mentions the stereotype of the gay, weak male dancer, but reminds us that men have to be strong to lift up a ballerina. For Allison, this is also a competition, but at least, it’s for a good cause.
We get to see just how hard ballet is on your feet and there are a couple of scenes of the dancers having fun. And you get to see good-looking men and women in their bathing suits.
Over all, this was an insightful episode although you might be getting tired of the drama queen Allison DeBona.