Bunheads season 1 returned this week on Monday, January 7 on ABC Family. The cast, including Sutton Foster, Kaitlyn Jenkins, Julia Goldani Telles, Bailey Buntain, Emma Dumont and executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino spoke at TCA 2013 about what fans can expect the rest of this season, as well as some other fun facts about the show and the cast.
Here are a few highlights from the panel:
Sutton Foster's motto when she was starting out as a dancer was to "take any opportunity I could, except for porn."
Foster's worse job was as a waitress at Macaroni Grill. She also worked at an Italian restaurant where she was expected to sing Italian arias, but since she didn't know any she sang showtunes instead.
Foster's real-life brother will be guest-starring on the show in an upcoming episode as Michelle's brother. The episode will also introduce Michelle's mother and meeting both family members will be very revealing to Michelle's character.
Finding the four main bunheads wasn't as easy as it sounds. When asked about casting the four main dancers, Amy Sherman-Palladino said, "I had four very specific kinds of girls in mind, and that always makes casting harder. They all had to dance en pointe and that knocks out 50 to 60 percent of the people.
The girls had to go through "bootcamp" at the beginning of the series. Sherman-Palladino talked about what it was like when they first started filming, saying, "They had to dance, and they had to do all the other stuff. So it was really sort of boot camp, almost, for the first ten [episodes]; getting the pace up, making sure that the dancing was up to snuff, and then these past eight [episodes] was the first chance we had to really sort of meet boyfriends, meet parents and open the world of the girls up. Now I felt like we pounded into them enough, "Here's how you talk. Here's how you dance, kid. Now let's see you act."
Michelle was always going to come back. Despite the fiasco that Michelle inadvertently caused during The Nutcracker at the end the summer finale, Sherman- Palladino said, "We never went into the first episode like, "Let's pretend like maybe she's gonna live in Henderson the rest of her life." The people aren't schmucks. They watch television. They know, "Eh, she's coming back." There's no "Bunheads" unless she comes back. It was really about the journey, and it was a chance for us to learn, you know, now that this crazy person came into their world, once she leaves, what is the world? She's changed it. What is the world without her?"
The rest of season 1 is about Michelle figuring out what's next in her life. Sherman-Palladino spoke about theme of the rest of this season, saying, "The show is about growing up, so the next episodes are about her coming back. Now that she's sort of gotten the "I'm running away" out of her system, it is figuring out what's next. As we learn more about [the girl's] lives; as they fall in love and get their hearts broken and their parents act like crazy people or lovely people or whatever, and they bring all that into the world of the dance studio, it's even more interconnected with Michelle.
There will be a lot more dancing in the next eight episodes. Asked about how much dancing we can expect to see in the rest of the season, many of the cast had a response. Elia Dumont said, "Yeah, I had a lot more dancing this season. I wouldn't say it's one full dance every episode, but there are a lot more [dances]." Julia Goldani Telles said, "One dance that I'm really excited about is another, sort of, spontaneous dance routine."
The girls find Dance Moms mostly unrealistic. When asked to give their opinions about reality show Dance Moms, the girls pretty much agreed that they found it mostly unrealistic because they haven't met any moms in their own experiences who were quite like the women on that other show.
Bunheads airs on Monday nights at 9pm on ABC Family.
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(Image courtesy of ABC Family)