Tag Archives: Allison DeBona

“BREAKING POINTE” SEASON TWO – A LOOK AHEAD WITH ALLISON DE BONA OF BALLET WEST

14 Jul
Allison DeBona. Photo: Erik Ostling/The CW ©2012 THE CW NETWORK, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Allison DeBona. Photo: Erik Ostling/The CW ©2012 THE CW NETWORK, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The second season of CW Network’s critically acclaimed docu-series Breaking Pointe will premiere on Monday, July 22, (9-10 p.m., ET) and fans are happy. We loved the first season’s inside peek at Salt Lake City’s Ballet West – the exhausting rehearsals, the behind-the-scenes drama, the striking stage productions. Dance fans loved seeing ballet dancers in a different light than what they see in performance, and wanted more. So now… Breaking Pointe is coming back! What’s in store for us balletomanes in Breaking Pointe season two?

Leading the company once again will be Artistic Director Adam Sklute, who will be guiding Ballet West‘s dancers in their largest and most demanding production to date, Cinderella. The competition will be fierce as the dancers audition for the life-changing roles of Cinderella and Price Charming. Featured dancers will include returning favorites Principal Christiana Bennett, Soloist Ronnie Underwood and Demi-Soloists Allison DeBona, Rex Tilton and Beckanne Sisk. New dancers will be joining the group, including Corps Artist Joshua Whitehead and Guest Dancer Silver Barkes.

A year ago I met with Allison DeBona, one of Ballet West‘s rising stars, to discuss Breaking Pointe as we approached the season one finale. She was happy to meet with me once again and chat about breaking ballet stereotypes, the hard work that goes into being a professional dancer, and what we can look forward to in Breaking Pointe season two. Here are some excerpts from our recent conversation:

(L-R): Allison DeBona and Christiana Bennet -- Photo: Erik Ostling/The CW --© 2013 THE CW NETWORK, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

(L-R): Allison DeBona and Christiana Bennet — Photo: Erik Ostling/The CW –© 2013 THE CW NETWORK, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

It’s been said Breaking Pointe has made ballet more accessible, breaking preconceived stereotypes about ballet dancers and the art form. Do you agree?

Breaking Pointe has without a doubt made ballet more accessible. As far as breaking stereotypes, I’m not sure. It seems people still cannot get past the preconceived notions of eating disorders and homosexual male dancers. We really tried to be advocates for healthy, smart, and strong athletes through our actions. We also tried to get people to understand that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight or in between. It’s about being an artist and doing what you love. Overall, I feel we got people interested to see live performances of ballet and helped the art form gain more respect. I am proud of that.

When we talked last June you said, “I am hoping for season two because I know there is so much more I can offer.” Season two is finally here! Has your hope been fulfilled?

This season you are going to learn so much more about who the cast is as individuals. You will learn what makes us tick and keeps us motivated. I hope to inspire people with my story. I am very open and honest this year because all of my experiences make me the dancer I am today. I hope people appreciate that.

Last year some fans of the show said they wanted to see more dancing – will there be more studio and performance work featured in the upcoming season?

We dance eight hours a day. We put in the work. I hope to see more dancing on the show just like everyone else.

Will Breaking Pointe continue to emphasize the behind the scenes drama?

Without the “drama” we would not get the amazing artists and products on the stage. You will see it all – personally and professionally. You can’t have one without the other!

So, how are things with Rex?

Hmmm… I don’t know. I’m going to watch Breaking Pointe season two to find out!

Follow Allison DeBona on Twitter @allidebona
Follow Breaking Pointe on Twitter @BreakingPointe

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This story first appeared on the Arts & Culture/Dance page of The Huffington Post, on July 9, 2013.

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A LOOK BACK AT “BREAKING POINTE” WITH ALLISON DeBONA OF BALLET WEST

2 Jul

Breaking Pointe, the CW Network’s behind the scenes look at Salt Lake City’s Ballet West, will air its final episode on July 5, 8 pm EST.

The six episode reality series features an inside peek “at the world of competitive ballet,” including day-to-day rehearsals, the drama of company romances and the excitement of main stage performance, all while highlighting the sacrifice and discipline it takes to look “perfect” for the audience.

Allison DeBona is one of the seven featured dancers on the series. Here’s her look back at Breaking Pointe as we approach the season finale.

BREAKING POINTE. Pictured: Allison DeBona PHOTO: Erik Ostling/The CW ©2012 THE CW NETWORK, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Allison, it’s been said that ballet is having “a mainstream moment.” Jane Tranter, the head of BBC Worldwide Productions, said when the movie Black Swan came out she knew “the time was right to seize upon the new awareness of ballet in popular culture.”Do you think the show has succeeded in making ballet more accessible – and more appealing – to the general public?

As ballerinas we are taught to make our art form look effortless, which, in my opinion makes ballet seem unattainable.  When watching Breaking Pointe the general public gets to see how hard it really is for ballet dancers and humanizes what we do day-to-day.  That alone makes ballet more appealing because people can relate to the “blood, sweat and tears” shed.  It makes them want to see us live, which is our ultimate goal.

Do you feel the show is a good thing for ballet? Some ballet enthusiasts feel strongly against “commercialization” of the art.

Ballet has a beautiful history and it must maintain its integrity.  However, ballet is a dying art form and if going “mainstream” helps to revive ballet then I stand by this show and what we are doing.  Ballet companies are downsizing and even worse closing their doors in many cities.  We felt it was time to take a chance at something new because the old isn’t cutting it anymore.  Breaking Pointe is different, but we believe that is a chance to bring ballet into the 21st century and I think it is doing just that.

Do you think the attention being given to Ballet West will increase ticket sales not only for Ballet West but for other regional ballet companies? There are so many wonderful ballet companies out there.

I hope that Breaking Pointe helps to increase ticket sales for not only ballet companies but all performing arts.  Nothing surpasses seeing a live performance and Breaking Pointe is getting people excited to see live theater.

In retrospect, are you happy with the series? If the show is renewed, would you like to see any changes to its content and/or how you were portrayed?

I am happy with the series and how I am portrayed.  It’s not easy to wake up every day and beat myself up physically and mentally for ballet, but I do it because I love it.  I’m not trying to be the best at Ballet West; I’m trying to be my personal best.  I’ve sacrificed a lot to be successful at ballet.  If that comes off as “bitchy” that’s OK because to me ballet has gone beyond just steps. It has become something personal.  I’ve been criticized for taking it too seriously but I’ve fought tooth and nail to get to where I am today, so for me… that is serious.

If you could do it all again, would you have said yes to the filming? It couldn’t have been easy being followed all day by a film crew!

Of course I would do it again!  I am hoping for season two because I know there is so much more I can offer.

Do you see yourself remaining at the company? What is your ultimate dream job?

Being a professional ballerina is my dream job.  I’ve thought about being on stage for as long as I can remember and it is impossible to show how grateful I am to be doing what I love.  People come to see us perform to escape from their lives for a few hours and knowing that I am making people happy is the most gratifying feeling in the world.  I hope I remain dancing for as long as I can.

Breaking Pointe is produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. Kate Shepherd (“Big Brother,” “Wife Swap”) is executive producer. Izzie Pick Ashcroft (“Dancing with the Stars”) and Jane Tranter (“Top Gear,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Torchwood”) are executive producers for BBC Worldwide Productions.

This story first appeared on the Huffington Post on June 29, 2012.

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