AOL Originals first took us into New York City Ballet’s Lincoln Center studios in city.ballet., and now Teen Vogue is doing the same—but this time, the camera is on the School of American Ballet. Strictly Ballet, which launched its first episode today, will follow students at various stages of their training, including dancers in their last year who are waiting to see if Peter Martins will hire them as NYCB apprentices. Episodes will be released regularly through the end of June.
The web series feels very similar to AOL’s: Five-minute segments with quick camera cuts and lots of dancer commentary. But so far, Strictly Ballet doesn’t have the cheese that sometimes sneaked its way into city.ballet. There aren’t any pointe shoes dangling in the NYC subway or rock music to help illustrate that ballet is tough. In a clip of the dancers taking class (the longest cut of the very short episode—please keep those coming!), we watch Martins pick on a student, Alec, at the barre. After getting the correction, he still doesn’t perform the combination to his liking. Martins asks another student to show him how it’s really done. “I’ll spare you,” he says to Alec.
You can see it on Alec’s face. He’s thinking: “Martins is the one who decides my fate at NYCB. Every moment counts.” The stakes are high and it’s subtly communicated—no rock music necessary.