The CW series Breaking Pointe has thrust Ballet West into the national spotlight. One of the show's most compelling characters, Allison DeBona, chatted with Pointe about what it's like to have her personal life and career exposed in front of a million people.
What was the filming like?
Having them come to our homes and follow us out with our friends, that was a crazy experience! People stare at you wondering what the heck’s going on. They followed 11 or 12 of us. We only found out which seven the show ended up focusing on when it aired.
What’s it like to see yourself on TV?
The first episode, when the credits began and I heard my voice, I just started crying. I was like, no way! I’m not on TV! My friends aren’t on TV! This isn’t real! It’s intimidating to see my personal life watched so closely.
Do you feel accurately represented?
To be honest, it was really hard at first. Before I saw a single episode, early reviews were coming out calling me a bitch and witch and a horrible person. I was like, what the heck is going on?! But my personal life with Rex, yes, that’s real. The TV crew showed up at time when I was going though a lot of change—I’d been in a relationship for seven years. And my determination in class and my drive are also very real. To young girls, I may come off a little harsh. But I think women who are my age where they’re trying to put their career first over anything else, they can relate to me. I went to college and didn’t start my professional career until I was 24. I feel like I need to catch up all the time. That’s why you see my eagerness. So I’m ok with how I’m being depicted.
Is there anything you’d do differently in front of the cameras?
Honestly, no. I didn’t try to hide my feelings or hide when I was frustrated. Being a ballet dancer, we always want to look perfect, and at first I struggled with seeing myself. I thought, people are going to think, ‘How does this girl have a job? How is she a demi soloist?’ But our company did this to show everybody that ballet is really, really hard. And there’s a reason why not everybody can do it.
How do you deal with criticism on the show from other dancers?
I know it may seem a little bit dramatic at points and they do focus on our personal lives. But more dancing is to come! Tonight they reveal casting, then you'll see onstage rehearsals and performances of Paquita, Emeralds and Petite Mort. When Ballet West decided to do this, we knew we were going to represent ballet dancers across this country. That intimidated us, but we really wanted to make ballet accessible to the general public. I hope dancers understand that and can get behind us and not be so judgmental about it. People are Tweeting, “Wow, this show makes me want to see ballet live.” Everyday people are getting excited about ballet!
The third episode of Breaking Pointe airs tonight on The CW at 8/7 c.