More often than not, we’re disappointed when ballet is depicted in pop culture. Sometimes, the dance world is made out to be incredibly dark and depressing. Or, worse, non-dancers are hired to play dancers. (Gasp!)
But a new series is giving us hope that it is possible to make ballet content that is both entertaining and true to what the dance world is actually like. “Off Kilter,” created by former Compania Nacional de Danza and Ballet Frankfurt dancer Alejandro Alvarez Cadilla and comedian Amy Cunningham, follows fictional choreographer Milton Frank as he creates his first work in over two decades.
The show’s dry humor is enough to have us hooked (imagine if “Parks and Recreation” was set in a dance company), but “Off Kilter” also cleverly tackles important issues in the ballet world like sexism, ageism and ego.
National Ballet of Canada principal Harrison James and former Royal Winnipeg Ballet soloist Sarah Murphy-Dyson play the dancer roles, so obviously their technique is gorgeous. And they aren’t bad actors, either.
Our other favorite thing about “Off Kilter”: It contains delightful dance insider references, but is still relatable to non-dancers (we think?!). From the ridiculous nonsense sounds Milton uses when he’s choreographing to his refusal to call his return to choreography a “comeback,” we can all recognize these sometimes-quirky, sometimes-irritating behaviors in people we’ve worked with. But as the show’s teaser points out, “You don’t have to be a ballerina to know a Milton Frank.”
The show is in early stages of development, but we can’t wait to see more.