Every year, the Cincinnati Ballet invites a handful of young, talented dancers from all over the country and beyond to train and work in its Second Company. These dancers work for an entire season alongside seasoned professionals. The hours are long and grueling and the pay is a mere stipend—$50 per week. There's one potential ruby of a reward—an offer, after the season, to join the principal company.
In this exclusive documentary, WCPO arts and entertainment reporter Matt Peiken brings you inside this rarified world and follows the six Cincinnati Ballet Second Company dancers through the 2013-14 season as they chase their first jobs in professional ballet.
Dive into the entire documentary in one sitting or divide your viewing into these three parts whenever you choose.
WCPO arts and entertainment reporter Matt Peiken approached directors of Cincinnati Ballet last fall with the idea to document the dancers' journeys after learning that Second Company members must leave the company altogether if they aren't eventually hired into the principal company. Between October 2013 and April 2014, Peiken recorded more than 35 hours of video at rehearsals, performances and settings outside the ballet studio.
Matt Peiken has worked as an arts journalist for more than 20 years. Before coming to WCPO, in June 2013, Peiken spent 10 years as a staff writer with the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, launched and produced two groundbreaking online magazines in Minnesota and wrote dozens of cover stories and other features as a longtime contributor to Modern Drummer Magazine.