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By Jenny Dalzell
With three episodes down and four weeks until Ballet West's production of Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, the reality show starring Salt Lake City ballet dancers is heating up. What’s more is that only two scenes this week included booze! But I have to ask: Are you a true fan? Take the Breaking Pointe Ep.203 quiz to find out. (It’s True or False, so don’t worry if you haven’t studied.)
1. The opening scene in Zach’s apartment was totally worth it.
FALSE. Not all that surprisingly, the Breaking Pointe producers drew out the silly love triangle between Beckanne Sisk, Zach Prentice, and Chase O’Connell into a third episode. Keyword: silly. I’m assuming that if Zach were a lady, critics might chalk up his crocodile tears to a bad spell of PMS. We do learn, however, that his seemingly absurd reaction to Beckanne's monopolization of Chase might be brought on by extreme stress. And then as quickly as it escalated, the scene ends.
I believe I stand for all Breaking Pointers when I write, Amen.
2. BW2 dancers Ian Tanzer and Zach audition for the same role.
FALSE. Ian wants to be the Shoemaker and Coachman, while Zach is vying for the comedic role of Napoleon. Ballet West corps dancer Josh Whitehead also wants Napoleon. Results: Josh and Ian are both cast as court couples (corps de ballet roles) and Zach lands Napoleon. So Zach gets what he wants, Ian is worried that Zach will also get the coveted spot in Ballet West’s main company, and Josh is worried about his place in the company.
3. Ian looks up to BW principal Chris Ruud—perhaps so much so that he starts accessorizing like him.
TRUE. Did anyone else notice that Ian and Chris both wear bandanas when discussing Ian’s disappointment over his role assignment? Twinsies!
4. Injured dancer Ronnie Underwood looks competent behind a desk.
FALSE. Also, did you see the dinosaurs computers behind him? Let’s start a campaign for Ballet West to purchase office supplies manufactured post 1995.
4. It’s clear that Rex Tilton is a smart dancer.
TRUE. He’s not jumping yet, heeding doctor’s orders. (If Rex pushes his foot too hard too soon, he runs the risk of re-injuring himself.)
He also shows a real maturity after the cast list goes up without his name listed as Prince Charming. “I’m going to continue like casting hasn’t gone up, and just keep working,” he says. And when he and Josh—flannel twinsies!—discuss casting at Josh's apartment, Rex continues: “This is your first year in the company. Things can change really fast. My first year I was a goat. And then, someone gets injured. And I’m not cast to do anything, but they’re like, we need someone to come in. So I start covering something and all of a sudden you’re doing it. So as hard as it is to deal with not getting what you want now, it will happen. You just have to be ready for it.” Kudos, Rex.
5. “Man, this Ashton stuff is hard.”
6. Real dancers don’t wear leotards.
FALSE. Beckanne gets the fashion award this week! The flower print, zip-up tank leotard with a mesh back she wears is gorgeous. I would have also loved to see Allison DeBona's white bodysuit with lime piping, but she wore another (of course snuggly) shirt on top.
Want to know what the pros can’t live without? Check out “Dancer’s Choice” in every issue of DM. This month, Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Ansa Deguchi divulges her shopping addiction.
7. It’s OK to yawn in a ballet studio.
FALSE. Let down by her casting as Summer Fairy, Beckanne practices catching flies in rehearsal—instead of practicing her part. Attention serious dance students: This is not appropriate etiquette. It shows a lack of respect for the teacher, you, and your peers. Beckanne certainly knows this; the producers caught her in a bad moment and aired it.
8. The discussion between Adam and Josh (about Adam's casting decision) might open up a welcome dialogue about race in ballet.
TRUE. The emotional scene begins roughly at minute marker 35. If you only watch three minutes of the whole season, this is the part to see.
Basically, Adam says that out of the upmost respect to Josh, he did not want the company's sole black male dancer to play the part of the buffoon. “Maybe I’m being overprotective,” he says. “But, I don’t want to make a joke out of the one African American guy in my company.”
Josh replies: “I know where you’re coming from, and I appreciate it. But I want them [the audience] to see so much of my heart, they don’t see the color of my skin… I want to be judged by my talent, by my acting, and if anyone in the audience sees it in a negative way, that’s on them.” He continues in a one-on-one with the camera. “For some reason, we can’t get past this in ballet, and it is really sad.”
NEXT WEEK: Allison confronts Adam about her thoughts on retiring. Stay tuned.