Is Breaking Pointe the Antidote to Black Swan?

November 28, 2001

When Adam Sklute spoke to Pointe earlier this year about his company’s decision to participate in “Breaking Pointe,” he said one of the driving reasons behind allowing cameras into his studios was the opportunity to set “the record straight about the real dramas and the real joys that happen in the ballet world, without having to play into stereotypes.”

After the first couple of episodes, I was dubious. With all the focus on frenemies and doomed love affairs, the show basically seemed to be “The Hills: Dancers.” But last night’s episode was different. It finally captured the major element of ballet that Black Swan missed: the incredible joy of performing. We got to see the performances and action in the wings during opening weekend of Ballet West’s mixed rep program. Even though the producers kept up with their insistence on showing The Drama (I would have counted how many times they replayed Rex’s fall but I ran out of fingers), they also perfectly portrayed the electrifying energy dancers feel backstage, the excitement, the adrenaline—and the sense of achievement after a great performance. Well done.