Drama Swirls Around Ballerina Allison DeBona on Breaking Pointe
It's not often that reality TV shows are as beautiful and well made as The CW's Breaking Pointe (Thursday, 8pm). So, when the series debuted a few weeks ago, it was a welcome addition to the TV lineup, especially given TV's sometimes thin pickings this time of year.
Breaking Pointe follows real-life dancers at Salt Lake City's Ballet West. One of the company's demi-soloists is Pittsburgh native Allison DeBona. In addition to being a professional, high-level dancer, Allison is also the center of much of Breaking Pointe's drama with fellow dancer, and Allison admirer, Rex Tilton.
Allison spoke with TVFirstLook about being a ballet dancer, starring on a TV show and turning into Crazy Lady.
TVFirstLook: How did you go from being a ballet dancer to being a ballet dancer on a reality TV show?
Allison DeBona: BBC, the production company, had this idea and they were working on it for a couple of years. They were talking to a lot of different companies and settled on Ballet West. We all discussed it and decided it would be good for us and for Ballet West.
TVFirstLook: How did you get involved with Ballet West?
Allison: Five years ago, I went on the ballet audition tour. I drove to New York City (from Pittsburgh) every weekend for four months. I had two or three auditions every weekend.
Ballet West was one of my first auditions. It's a wonderful company. They have a reputation for liking tall dancers. I'm 5'9" so it was at the top of my list. They offered me a job and I said "yes" right away.
TVFirstLook: Breaking Pointe is a beautiful show. It has that The Hills style - very cinematic. Did you know that before you started working on the show?
Allison: The producers explained to us that they were using high-quality cameras. They wanted to make it look like a movie more than a TV show. It comes pretty close to that.
But, as far as what you end up seeing on the show, we had no idea. And we still don't. We don't see the episodes before anyone else, so we're surprised every Thursday, too.
TVFirstLook: On the show, your life - and your relationship with Rex - is the center of a lot of the drama. Did you know that as you were taping?
Allison: I was not expecting my personal life to get as crazy as it did. My life got nuts just as the cameras were arriving. So, it worked out perfectly for the show but not for me.
In the last two episodes, you'll see that I was going through a breakup - a seven-year relationship. Rex came along. He's a wonderful guy. But I definitely wasn't ready for that. What you have seen so far is me transitioning.
It has been crazy to see all that on TV. It was painful the first time around. Plus, it is being scrutinized. A lot of people have been saying that I'm cold-hearted. A lot of people can relate to it, too. Maybe some of the younger girls can't, but women my age can.
I struggled with whether I was going to choose a seven-year relationship or a job. I think having a career is really important, so I decided to go for it. My personal life was going crazy, so focusing on my job really helped me get through that. At that point, I didn't want anything to do with anyone but myself.
TVFirstLook: Last thing, ballet is such an intense, time-consuming career. On top of that, you had TV cameras following you around. Did that affect your ballet performance?
Allison: We dance from 10am to 7pm Monday through Friday. And when we are performing, we're in the theater every day, except Sunday. When we were filming the TV show, we had camera crews at our house at 7am and they didn't leave until 11pm. And we filmed from 9am on weekends.
It was so much fun and we had so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. So, we were all grateful for the experience. But by the time we got to performances, we were exhausted. Tensions were very high between all of us. And when I get tired, I just turn into a crazy lady.