First Impressions: Flesh & Bone

Updated 12.21.15 

In the world of ballet you either win or...  you lose a body part 

Premise: A young ballerina with a troubled past joins the American Ballet Company and has to evaluate how far she is willing to go to remain on top

Verdict: I really liked it, but I might be biased.

Here are a few things I should disclose before I begin this review:

I danced classical ballet for 10 years.

I have been complaining about So You Think You Can Dance never getting a companion “scripted drama” like Glee for American Idol.  [OK… so a lot more people used to watch A.I. back in the day, but so what?]

And finally… I have watched Center Stage 50 times.

No… that is not me being hyperbolic. It is an actual estimate of how many times I’ve watched that movie. I watched it so many times, I can still quote it and I can probably dance all the numbers [badly but more or less accurately]. In other words, I am – without a doubt – the target audience for this show. So I am not sure how objective I can be. But I will try.

The show follows Claire, a young ballerina with a dark past who runs away from home and joins ABC. She has a rocky start at the company, but eventually catches the eye of the artistic director [played by Ben Daniels from House of Cards] who decides to turn her into a star. And by that, I mean pimping her out to investors and making it clear that he “owns her”. Of course, the special attention Claire receives doesn’t make her very popular with the other dancers [/part-time strippers]. Drama ensues.

Flesh & Bone [Horrible title BTW] is a soap opera set in the ballet world. It is what Empire is to the R&B scene. And hey…  there is nothing wrong with that. Center Stage was a cutesy romantic comedy with dancers. The movie itself didn’t have the greatest/most original plot [good boy/bad boy/girl triangle], but I love it nonetheless [Those dance numbers were awesome]. The writing of Flesh & Bone had a lot more depth and –although filled with melodrama – there seems to be room for decent character development.

Moreover, Flesh & Bone depicts a particular lifestyle unfamiliar to most. I never danced professionally, but a lot of it resonated with me. The toe-nail injuries, jealousy between dancers and horrible teachers that can intimidate a room with a glance and get away with verbal and physical abuse [Seriously… I have stories…] It is obviously an exaggerated representation… but hey, this is drama and as Hitchcock would say, you have to cut the boring parts out.

Unlike Center Stage - or Bunheads - this is not a family friendly show. It had a lot more edge than I expected, which I appreciate. The world of dance can be dark [not Black Swan dark but dark] and it was about time it was explored that way [Although, it got Game of Thrones twisted by the end…not sure how that is going to play out yet...]

Taking into account that this is - for all intents and purposes- a soap, I have high expectations for it. I think it has the potential to develop a neat story throughout its limited run and deliver great dancing in the process [choreographed by Ethan Stiefel who played Cooper on Center Stage by the way].

Should you watch it? Yes! It was about time we had a scripted TV show about classical ballet! [And no Bunheads doesn’t count] But be warned... this is me being a sucker for dance shows... if they were playing basketball instead... I am not so sure how I would feel... But look at those fouettes!

Update 12.21.15 - I have finished watching the show and here are my updated reactions ( I may have changed my mind about it)

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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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  1. I liked it, and I will keep watching, but was it just me or did they throw every cliche's "bad" thing that can happen to a person all in the first EP. I was great up until the final scene and I caught myself saying "Oh come on." But that being said I will be watching.

    1. Yes... it was definitely over-the-top soapy... buy... hey no-one died and evil twins didn't show! haha well... there is still time....


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