Everything We Know About Prime Video’s “Étoile,” Plus 4 Ballet Shows to Watch in the Meantime

September 21, 2023

Ten years after the curtain fell on Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino’s “Bunheads,” we learned that the “Gilmore Girls” creator had a second ballet show up her sleeve.

Daniel Palladino and Amy Sherman Palladino. Photo courtesy Prime Video.

As entertainment-news site Deadline reports, Amazon has ordered two seasons of “Étoile,” a drama series about the dancers and staff at ballet companies in Paris and New York City. In the show, the companies join forces and exchange some of their best dancers in an effort to save their institutions.

The cast for “Étoile” boasts some big names from the world of acting. Fans of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will recognize two “Étoile” stars: Luke Kirby and Gideon Glick. Also included in the cast are Camille Cottin (“Call My Agent!”), Lou de Laâge (“The Innocents”), and Simon Callow (“The Witcher”), as well as David Alvarez, from Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. (Fun fact: Alvarez trained at American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and starred as one of the original Billy Elliots on Broadway.) In a statement, Sherman-Palladino and Palladino also said that the cast would include “the most talented ballet dancers in the world,” although it’s not yet clear who.

With the husband-and-wife duo at the helm, it’s safe to say that viewers can expect the same sharp dialogue, brilliant dancing, and original choreography that enabled “Bunheads”to become a firm favorite.

Deadline initially reported that “Étoile” was due to start filming this summer, however with production suspended due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, the show’s release may be delayed. In the meantime, we’ve rounded up some classic family-friendly ballet TV series to keep us entertained and inspired.

“Bunheads” (2012–13) 

At the top of our list, perhaps unsurprisingly, is “Bunheads.” This series stars Sutton Foster as Michelle, a showgirl who finds herself teaching ballet in a sleepy town following the death of her husband. Kelly Bishop plays Michelle’s mother-in-law and principal ballet teacher at the school, and a cast of talented young dancers (Kaitlyn Jenkins, Julia Goldani Telles, Bailey Buntain, and Emma Dumont) play the school’s students. The show was beloved for its witty one-liners and relatable storylines, but also for its creative choreography, which incorporated elements of ballet, musical theater, jazz, and contemporary dance. You can stream “Bunheads” on Hulu.

“Strictly Ballet” (2014)

This YouTube series allows the viewer to step inside the School of American Ballet in New York City in Season 1, and Miami City Ballet School in Season 2. “Strictly Ballet” follows the students as they work towards their goal of receiving a highly coveted apprenticeship and kickstarting their careers. The episodes may be short, but they succeed in capturing the challenges these students face. (Many of them are dancing with major companies today!) Additionally, “Strictly Ballet” offers some useful advice for aspiring dancers, including tips on dealing with injuries, homesickness, and performance nerves.

“Dance Academy” (2010–13)

Set in a fictional school in Sydney, Australia, “Dance Academy” charts the highs and lows of its protagonists as they tackle exams, competitions, and auditions as well as everyday teenage struggles, including friendships, first relationships, and family drama. Like “Bunheads,” “Dance Academy” cast ballet dancers in the lead roles, which elevated the performances throughout. The three seasons—which are all available to watch in full on Amazon Prime—follow the students as they progress through the academy, while Dance Academy: The Movie (available on Prime Video, YouTube, and for purchase on Apple TV) revisits Tara (Xenia Goodwin), Abigail (Dena Kaplan), and Kat (Alicia Banit) as young adults taking on the world.

 “Breaking Pointe” (2012–13)

While many ballet-based TV shows focus on students, “Breaking Pointe” goes behind the scenes at Salt Lake City’s Ballet West. This reality show offers viewers a glimpse into the creative process behind Ballet West’s repertoire, which includes George Balanchine’s Jewels and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella. In addition to the dancing, “Breaking Pointe” also focuses on the dancers’ personal lives and captures the highs and lows of company life. The reality show also thrust some of its young stars into the national spotlight, including Allison DeBona and Beckanne Sisk. Expect intense rivalries, big personalities, and plenty of drama throughout. You can buy “Breaking Pointe” on Amazon and Apple TV.