Tiny Pretty Things is far darker and more mature in content than its Australian counterpart. Like Dance Academy, the Netflix original features actors with actual ballet training. This is the most appealing aspect the series, which presents a beautiful and visually compelling picture of the talent and discipline involved in classical dance training. Tiny Pretty Things also expertly tackles the tenuous history of racism in ballet. It follows a group of young dancers, including Neveah, who is new to the prestigious ballet school and faces overt anti-Black racism.
This unfortunately, is quite realistic. The dance world, and ballet in particular, has done a poor job of ensuring racial equity and representation in schools and even professional companies. Another sadly accurate aspect of the series is its portrayal of the lengths young dancers will go to to push through injuries, from painkillers to deception. In an interview with SFGate, the artistic director at the Bay Area Ballet Conservatory, said “That’s actually very realistic. I think that is a really prominent issue that dancers aren’t being smart with their injuries. They’re just thinking of this role that’s in front of them.” However, viewers of the series will be happy to hear that just about everything else, such as murder, violence, and sex between dance partners, are not remotely accurate aspects of dance training.
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