TV and Ballet: Breaking Pointe, Bunheads, and more!

Since Breaking Pointe was renewed for a second season yesterday, I figured this would be an appropriate post for today.

There’s always been a fair amount of dance shows on TV, from Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance to MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. This summer, however, two new ballet shows premiered: Bunheads (my personal guilty pleasure) and Breaking Pointe.

Bunheads is essentially a show about a 30-something named Michelle who leaves her life as a Las Vegas dancer and ends up helping teach ballet in Paradise–a town in the middle of no where. The show has its moments–like when Michelle sprays the entire cast of the Nutcracker with mace. which she had accidentally grabbed out of her gigantic dance bag full of stuff (I’m sure a lot of us have messy dance bags!) instead of hairspray. It’s essentially my guilty pleasure because Amy Sherman-Palladino created it (creator of Gilmore Girls) and a lot of the old Gilmore Girls cast star on the show (Kelly Bishop as the ballet studio owner Fanny) or make guest appearances. I just wish the show focused on ballet more. If you liked Gilmore Girls, it’s definitely worth a shot.

However, Breaking Pointe is what has really inspired me to push myself with doing ballet. The show follows the dancers of Salt Lake City’s Ballet West company members as they train. Beckanne Sisk, my personal favorite on the show, is only 19 and already a demi-soloist for Ballet West (she also studied at the Rock School–which is here in Philadelphia where I live). The show also follows Katie Martin, who spends the show searching for a new company after not being signed for the next season at Ballet West (don’t let that lead you into thinking she isn’t any good–she is!). It’s amazing how she manages to stay so upbeat despite having to find a new job and having to leave her friends behind at Ballet West. Lastly, the shows main star, Allison Debona, (although she’s sometimes terrifying, but she means well), is inspirational to adult ballerinas because she attended college in Pittsburgh before going on to become a professional dancer at a later age than most. And of course, all the dancing on the show is amazing, and it’s the focus of the show, unlike Bunheads.

What shows inspire you to dance? Do you plan on catching up on Bunheads or Breaking Pointe before the new seasons air?

Why should you take ballet classes as an adult?

Audrey Hepburn desperately wanted to be a ballerina. From Diablo Ballet‘s Facebook page.

So why should you be taking ballet classes? You’re probably not going to become an actual ballerina (although Dave from Dave Tries Ballet started ballet at the age of 23 and is now doing pretty well and performs–check out his blog!). But, there are still several reasons to start taking ballet classes as a beginner. Truth is, people do ballet for all sorts of reasons (and your never too old!), and I’m looking forward to interviewing a bunch of fellow adult ballerinas to find out why they do it, and hopefully draw inspiration from them, and add them to this list. But, for now, here’s some of my own:

1. Ballet is great exercise. You probably already knew that, but ballet is a lot tougher than it looks. I was sore for days after my first class.

2. Ballet is fun. Running on the treadmill is boring. Other forms of exercise are boring. Dance gets you moving, doing different movements, dancing, not standing in one place or lifting weights or doing crunches or lunges. (Yuck!)

3. You can pretend you’re a kid again. If you’re like me, you took ballet as a kid (I find that most people who show up to an intro ballet class did), and you wanted to get back to it.

4. Ballet means new clothes. Don’t worry. Everything like tights, leotards, legwarmers isn’t necessary when you’re just starting. But, buying new clothes is fun once you get in to ballet.

5. Ballet means new friends. You’ll meet new friends in class as well in the online community. Those I’ve met through my personal blog have been amazingly supportive.

6.. Doing ballet means you are a ballerina. While you may never get to perform on a stage (although I’d love to set up a showcase of adult ballerina work if I could find enough ballerinas in my area!), you still are taking ballet classes and doing really hard work. Don’t forget that.

7. Ballet makes you more graceful. (By Legal Ballerina)

8. Life is too short to say “What If?” “I started ballet (and continue with it), because I know that life is too short to squander on “what ifs”. As the saying goes, you usually regret the decisions you didn’t make as opposed to the ones you did. I want to seize the day and try to live my life to the fullest while I still have my health, strength, time and courage to do so! Let me tell you, I am so very happy that I took a chance on myself and started ballet. It has changed my life.” (Legal Ballerina)

So why do you want to do ballet? I really want to make this a never-finished list, so leave a comment and I’ll add your reason to the post! Or, post in the forum your reasons why you do ballet!

UPDATE: The old forum was too complicated, so I started a new one using a wordpress blog. Just shoot me an e-mail (your wordpress e-maill to connect accounts) and I’ll be sure I add you as a new author so you can post your own threads!

About The Adult Ballerina Project

Welcome to The Adult Ballerina Project. My name is Kristen Gillette, and I took ballet classes as a child for roughly 3 years. For ages, I debated getting involved in any one of the numerous ballet classes offered in Philadelphia, but I was too nervous to actually go through with it. In April of 2012 with a little encouragement, I finally faced my fears, bought my first pair of ballet slipper since age 5 and began taking classes at Philly Dance Fitness. I instantly fell in love, although I was never any good at it.

Starting ballet classes as an adult is terrifying. My goal with this site is to help those who are looking to start ballet as an adult gain the confidence to do so, as well as give some tips to get the most out of taking adult ballet classes. With this will come videos, advice from instructors, profiles on fellow beginner and adult ballerinas (including you, if you want!) and photos showing the hard work adult beginners are doing.

Check out my blog with my own personal experiences at Awkward at the Barre.

If you have any questions or would like to contribute to the site, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at or leave a response below.

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