Get ready to head back to center stage with the premiere of “Breaking Pointe” Season 2. The CW’s ballet reality show returns Monday (July 22) at 9 p.m. ET, and while some familiar faces are back for the new season, new dancers and a new production stir up drama at Ballet West.
Artistic Director Adam Sklute is back to lead the company in their largest and most demanding production to date, “Cinderella.” As the dancers audition for the life-changing roles of Cinderella and Price Charming, who ends up playing what characters might surprise you.
“I play two very different parts, let’s put it that way,” Principal dancer Christopher Ruud said. “Let’s just say that I get in touch with my feminine side.”
Besides the drama of who will take on which roles, this season also sees some dancers having trouble learning a new style of ballet, relationships form and end, and one dancer might dance their last performance ever because of a serious injury.
“I broke my foot in about five places. Ballet’s a violent activity sometimes, and it was a really traumatic experience for me,” First Soloist Ronnie Underwood revealed. “It was in the middle of a show — one of my last jumps of the evening just dusted my foot. I pushed through as best as I could to not let people see that I was hurt. This is a live art form and bad things happen, so you cope and try to make it through. I have to take baby steps and ease myself back into dancing. It’s a real serious Season 2 for me.” Viewers will see Underwood’s struggle to get back to dancing, if his injury even allows him to ever dance again.
Returning this season are Principal Christiana Bennett, First Soloist Underwood and Demi-Soloists Allison DeBona, Rex Tilton and Beckanne Sisk, as well Ruud in his new role as Artistic Director of Ballet West II (a two-year training program for young dancers aspiring to dance professionally in the main company). But who are the new dancers joining them?
Zap2it got to meet the newest “Breaking Pointe” cast members when they were performing at a charity event in Malibu this past spring. Get to know Corps Artist Joshua Whitehead, Guest Dancer Silver Barkes and Ballet West II Dancers Zachary Prentice and Ian Tanzer before tonight’s premiere:
Joshua Whitehead, 25
Hometown: Portsmouth, Virginia
Whitehead was recently promoted to Ballet West after finishing his training with Ballet West II. Growing up in some of Virginia’s worst neighborhoods, Whitehead is the first person in his family to pursue a life in ballet. When he joined the cast, he had trouble at first figuring out how to balance the ballet aspect with the filming of the show. “My first thoughts were, cool! I’m going to be on TV!” Whitehead said. “But it’s weird because you start thinking about how you want to portray yourself, and that first week of filming was really awkward because I was constantly thinking about that. But then I was just like, whatever. I’ve been me for a while, I don’t have to worry about it, and then I got used to the cameras. It’s been a good experience.” Although becoming a professional dancer has not been easy, he is determined to find his place in Ballet West and become its first black male Principal Dancer.
Zachary Prentice, 19
Ballet West II Dancer
Hometown: Modesto, California
Prentice is a dancer with Ballet West II. It has not been an easy journey for him, as he is a young and openly gay dancer. This is his last year in Ballet West II’s two-year training program, so the stakes have never been higher as he fights for one of the few open spots in the main company.
Silver Barkes, 32
Hometown: Novato, California
Silver Barkes is a Guest Dancer with Ballet West. After being let go two years ago to make room for a new generation of dancers, she was invited back to dance in this season’s production of “Cinderella.” Barkes is now a professional make-up artist. Like her fellow dancer and roommate Underwood, Barkes likes to party and have fun, especially when it comes to dancing. “It’s different to dance when you have no pressure. No certain role or production is going to further my career as a dancer now,” Barkes said. “I’m just going out and doing it for me. There is life after dance. It’s refreshing to know that there are other things too.”
Ian Tanzer, 19
Ballet West II Dancer
Hometown: Cheney, Washington
Ian Tanzer is a dancer with Ballet West II. He is completing his second year with Ballet West II and has his personal and professional life riding on receiving one of the few coveted spots in the main company, going toe-to-toe with fellow Ballet West II dancer Zach Prentice.
“Breaking Pointe” Season 2 premieres Monday (July 22) at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.