We’ve been watching the new Starz series Flesh and Bone, a new ballet drama that premiered in the US this weekend (there are no details about a possible UK release yet). Created by Breaking Bad writer and executive producer Moira Walley-Beckett, the series comes with a great cast and solid ballet credentials. Here are our five reasons to watch it:
1) It’s all Black Swan meets Center Stage, which means it gets rather dark and OTT and that ballet purists will definitely not like it. However, as Vulture put it, the series may feature a few clichés “but they’re melodrama clichés, specifically ballet melodrama clichés, and that automatically makes them feel less wearisome than cop or gangster clichés”. Admittedly, we are not so keen on some of the “raw reality” subplots (which we won’t give away), but our main gripe so far is not seeing enough of Sascha Radetsky. Is he there just to partner, or does he have his own storyline? We certainly hope for the latter. Plus, it was great to see a female choreographer show up in episode 3.
2) Ben Daniels as the obnoxious Artistic Director, Paul. Some of you might know him from House of Cards (as Adam Galloway), and others might have been lucky enough to see him as an epic Valmont a few years ago on Broadway. In the UK, we have often seen him on stage - from Shakespeare to Schiller, via Euripides – and Ben always impresses. Here, he gets all the outrageous one-liners: “You call that a grand jeté? I’ve seen 3-year-olds skip rope with more intensity!”
3) Ballet crew & cameos: hello Sascha, Ethan, Irina Dvorovenko, Carling Talcott (if you’re following ballet on Instagram and Twitter, then you probably follow lovely ex-RDB dancer Carling, or @darlingwithaC) & co.
4) Legit leading lady: those who had complained about Natalie Portman as a ballerina will be pleased. Dresden SemperOper Ballett soloist Sarah Hay can dance and act. According to Vanity Fair, having ballet dancers who can act (and not vice versa) was Walley-Beckett’s own stipulation because she did not want to be worrying about body doubles. Great decision, but are they dancing enough? We’d love to see longer dance sequences… that Rubies rehearsal with Sascha and Irina in episode 3 was “blink and you’ll miss it”!
5) Ballet at its bitchiest! We rest our case.