As a former dancer, ABC Family’s new show Bunheads immediately piqued my interest. I watched all the previews and trailers with increased enthusiasm for what looked like a fun drama created by one of my favorite woman in Hollywood, Amy Sherman-Palladino. Seeing that the creator of Gilmore Girls also created this show got my hopes up that Bunheads would feature strong female leads, fast-paced conversation and witty dialogue — all centered around the world of dance. What could be more fun for a former dancer (who still sometimes misses the dance world) to watch?
Turns out a lot of things would be more fun to watch than Bunheads.
While I went into the show with high expectations for great characters and witty dialogue, I did not really expect to see quality dancing. Truth be told, television and film usually fail to capture the realistic work of dance. Cult classic Center Stage got the closest to capturing the real dance world, but even that movie had major flaws. However with that said, I finished the first episode of Bunheads thoroughly disappointed with what I just saw — the show failed to deliver on even my low expectations. Not only there is very little actual dancing, but it’s incrediby unrealistic and the ballerinas are surprisingly stupid.
It’s not only offensive to watch as a woman, but also as someone who used to love dancing. Now when I say I was a dancer I don’t mean I was a professional dancer or I went to school for dance. But I danced for almost ten years and quit after a go at pointe. I realized I could have a lot more of a life (and save my feet) if I chose another extracurricular, so I moved on to cheerleading which incorporated elements of dance. I actually enjoyed high school a lot more than most of my dancer friends. Although, I do have some foot and toe issues after years of torment, it’s manageable.
When you’re committed to being a dancer, it takes over your life. It starts out as something fun as a kid but it turns into hell very quickly. I remember young girls being on diets from the very beginning. You’re constantly staring at yourself in a leotard, seeing every part of you move and thinking “yeah, maybe my thighs could be thinner.” I remember taping up my feet and tending to bleeding blisters at around 7. With the amount of pressure put on young dancers, you would think prepping for a recital was the only thing that mattered in the world. It’s a very strange place to put a young person in.
Nevertheless, I still welcome watching TV shows and movies about the show in hopes that they recapture the magic of the sport I used to love. Before it made my feet bloody and blistered. So let’s take the show from the top so I can show you why it disappointed me so much.
The name Bunheads alone is ridiculous. No one in my dance community or any other dancer I’ve met in my life had called themselves or anyone else a bunhead. I mean, it makes sense since typically dancers wear buns on top of their heads, but still, a very unrealistic term.