Interview with Breaking Pointe Star, Allison DeBona

Posted by on 06.14.2012

After the popularity of my review on the new CW series, Breaking Pointe, I was put in touch with one of the show’s stars, Allison DeBona.  She left a comment on my review of the show, so I thought I would give her the opportunity to sound off here on TENDUS.  Ms. DeBona dishes on how the show was filmed, her relationship with Rex, her response to critics, and what we can expect in coming episodes.  You won’t want to miss this exclusive interview with Ballet West Demi-Soloist, Allison DeBona:

Allison DeBona, © Ballet West

RK: Can you tell us a little bit about your your career and time you have spent with Ballet West.

AD: I started at Ballet West in 2007 as an Apprentice. I had my first professional performance the night of my 24th birthday. I chose to go to college out of high school and attended Indiana University. I took some time off of ballet between the ages of 13-16 and at the end of my senior year of high school my parents and I decided it was best that I attended college. I was so grateful when I was asked to join Ballet West.  I spent two years as an Apprentice, two years as a Corps member and was promoted to Demi-Soloist last season. My first year as an Apprentice was a little slow, but my second year as an Apprentice really started to pick up. At end of that season I had the chance to be second cast to Christiana Bennett (Principal) in Nicolo Fonte’s original work The Immeasurable Cadences Within. That’s when things really started to change for me. That next season I was understudying Principal roles in Serenade and Agon and started to perform Soloist roles like the “Pas de Trois” in Agon and first cast “Big Swans” in Swan Lake.

RK: Thus far, what have you thought about the way the show came together?

AD: Overall I am very happy with Breaking Pointe! What dancers, in particular ballet dancers, need to know is that we didn’t do the show to reach out to each other because dancers already know how ballet companies operate. We decided to go forward with Breaking Pointe because we thought it was an excellent opportunity for ballet to become accessible to the general public. I’ve been reading dancers’ comments saying there is not enough ballet on the show or too much personal drama, and so on. Well, first off, the general public does not know ballet jargon. If we would have started off throwing around ballet terms, we could have lost viewers because they wouldn’t know how to relate to us. The show needed to capture the audience in ways they are familiar with, like introducing the dancers personally, and introducing them to our lifestyle to get them hooked and involved. I definitely know that episode three will really start to get into the rehearsal process leading up to the final episode, where you see us on stage.

RK: Do you feel that your words and opinions have been accurately represented on the show?

AD: Well you know, its a bit crazy to think that you can have an hour long conversation with producers and you only see 15 seconds of it on TV! In episode one, I come off as, and let me quote social media, “bitchy,” “a witch,” “ruthless,” “jealous,” just to name a few. I know in particular, the fat foot conversation with Beckanne has become a hot topic. People can take my words and actions however they like. It’s impossible for people to get to know me enough in a few episodes to know when I’m joking or being sarcastic. I actually tell Beckanne every day how beautiful her feet are and I wish my feet weren’t so narrow. I was injured at the time of filming and I was excited, a little, when my foot started to swell because we all know a little swelling on the top of the foot gives us a better arch!

We are all friends here and know the truth about what goes on at Ballet West. As far as Rex and I go, all of that craziness is very real, actually. If you keep watching the series, you will learn why I am so apprehensive about our relationship. He’s a wonderful guy, an amazing person, friend, and dancer! I was going through a difficult stage in my life while filming and all that was important to me was being successful at my job. I think it may seem harsh at times, but Breaking Pointe accurately portrays that. With all that being said…. people need somebody to hate, so why not me?

RK: How often was the film crew around? Do you feel that they have enough material to create a well-rounded representation of your life as a dancer with Ballet West?

© The CW

AD: The crew was in the studios every day for six weeks. What was so tiring was having them come into your house at 7:45am and sometimes not leaving until 11pm.  (They had a key to my house actually, so I would be sleeping and they would wake me up. I hope none of that footage makes it on air!) I think they have plenty of footage, but I know there is more of our story that can be told, that’s why we need a Season 2!

RK: You mentioned in a comment on my blog that “our lives really play a part in our performing.” How do you feel your personal life, portrayed on the show, either positively or negatively affects your performance?

AD: Well I think, as dancers, we all know that our personal experiences help us on stage, both the good and bad. For me, when my personal life is kinda nutso, I really look to ballet for comfort and relief. I also draw from my experiences for certain roles. It’s amazing how your acting gets better the more things you go through.

RK: How were you able to deal with having your personal life filmed by a camera crew? Are you surprised by how much focus has been placed on your relationship with Rex? Does it bother you at all, or do you feel it is a valid part of your life as an artist and important for the viewers to see?

AD: I knew what I was getting into when I signed the contract. So, that meant allowing the world to see all my “dirty laundry.” The truth is, people go through this every day, work drama, personal life drama, etc.  If anyone tries to deny that they can relate to my situation, they are either in denial or very blessed! It doesn’t bother me at all: the Rex/Allison saga is a huge chapter to my story. I’m not ashamed of it and I’m okay with people seeing it. I think its very important for young girls and boys to see that in order to make someone else happy, you have to make yourself happy first. I hope people see that. I think it’s very important to focus on yourself sometimes to be a better person.

RK: Breaking Pointe is sure to bring great exposure to, not only Ballet West, but the ballet community as a whole, which is why dance enthusiasts have had a close eye on the show. What potential do you think the show has for reaching out to people who don’t know anything about ballet?

AD: That’s what we believe too! We think Breaking Pointe will reach out to general public, especially the people who haven’t seen ballet at all. It’s amazing. People are tweeting at me saying that after watching Breaking Pointe they want to go to the ballet now. This is why we did this! We cannot allow people to think we are characters in Center Stage and Black Swan. Breaking Pointe will show people that we are real Americans who work hard to be successful at our craft! I think everyone can relate to that! The sky is the limit as far as I am concerned.  That’s why we need dancers everywhere to start tweeting about the show and getting their friends to watch. We want ballet to be mainstream, not just for Ballet West, but for all of us!

RK: On my review of Breaking Pointe, many readers have left comments discussing the show. People are unanimously looking forward to seeing you and your cast mates dance more in coming episodes. What do we have to look forward to?

AD: In the next episodes you will definitely see more dancing. They were waiting to reveal “casting’, which is all leading up to the final episode where we are in performance mode!

 

Have a question or comment for Allison?  Leave your thoughts below!

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11 Comments

  1. Besides being a beautiful dancer, Allison comes off as a very hard worker, who is extremely hard on herself. This is quite typical of many professional ballet dancers. Having been a member of Ballet West many years ago, I can remember how difficult it was with all the different personalities. I think what I enjoyed about this show was that it showed how many different types of dancers there are.
    Allison has worked so hard to advance to where she is, and she seems to be a very sensitive artist who is never satisfied with herself. This drives her to be even better.
    This was a really fun, and informative show. I am glad Allison had a large part in the show. If you dig below the surface of the editing, which made her look like a drama queen, I think you will find a very self critical dancer. One who just wants to make sure she does everything to the very best of her ability and beyond. Keep up the work!!

    • Miki-

      The show certainly did do a great job showing different personalities. I think that is one of the main elements that made the show realistic from the dancer’s perspective.

  2. Nice job, Rebecca. Best interview of Allison, yet. Let’s hope Breaking Pointe adds to the current building appreciation for the arts and specifically for ballet.

    • Let’s hope indeed!

  3. Dear Allison,

    I wanted to address the notion that you came off as a “bitch.” I have not been reading any other comments or opinions about the show, but from what I have seen on the show, you simply came off as a very driven, centered, and self-aware woman with a very clear goal. In my opinion that is highly commendable. I am a medical student who takes beginning ballet classes as a form of exercise, so I’m speaking as a fan with some very basic knowledge and experience with ballet. My medical career is everything to me and have made many sacrifices for it, one of which is relationships so I can relate to your, albeit very different, struggles. You sacrifice a lot to be the best dancer you can be, and that is clear. The problem is that many people take issue with strong women who choose career and their own needs above men and relationships and especially with women who find true love in purpose and not in a boy. I think your behavior overall reflects an intelligent, mature adult and you should be proud of your commitment to your art.

    Sincerely,
    Viktoriya

    • Viktoriya-

      So glad the show is something you are identifying with. Very glad Allison is an inspiration.

      Thanks for the comment.

  4. Love this interview with Allison! Allison, I love that you are completely honest about what is portrayed realistically and what we may not have seen quite as accurately. I think it’s fantastic that your career is blossoming so wonderfully after going to college.

    • Agreed! Thanks for the comment Kim.

  5. My 12 year old daughter aspires to be a professional ballerina. We absolutely love watching Breaking Pointe to see how a real company works – it is very eye opening. I loved reading this interview because it shows that you can go to college and have a great career in dance…so many think you have to give that experience up. Thank you Allison! Love you, love the show.

    • Brooke-

      I am so glad that Allison can demonstrate that it is possible to go to college and become a professional ballet dancer. That is really important for young dancers to hear. I am glad you and your daughter are enjoying the show and am glad you can learn more about the world of professional ballet through this venue.

      Thanks for reading the interview! Hope you will drop by TENDUS again soon!

  6. “People are tweeting at me saying that after watching Breaking Pointe they want to go to the ballet now. This is why we did this.” Well said, Allison – that’s what it’s all about!! It’s amazing so many are still so ignorant about ballet. Example: this morning I mentioned to someone I was on the way to class, and they said, “wow – ballet.. do you work up a sweat doing that?”

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  1. 21/06/2012 – Daily News | Dansecyclopedie - [...] Interview with Allison Debona, one of the Breaking Pointe Star, Demi-Soloist of the Ballet West. [...]

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