The summer finale of “Bunheads” was last night, but you can watch it for free on ABCFamily.com or Hulu.com! Plus, currently episodes 1-5 are still available so you if you missed out on this new show this summer, you can catch up on the beginning. Though don’t worry, the series is only 10 episodes in and most likely during hiatus the rest of the episodes will be available online.
More good news, “Bunheads” will return with new episodes on ABC Family this winter! (Which typically means early January. 😉 )
Can’t get enough of Bunheads? Our friend Style Savings Sarah interviewed Kelly Bishop, who plays Fannie the owner of the dance studio and the main character’s new mother-in-law. You’re sure to recognize Kelly from Gilmore Girls (Bunheads was created and is written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, same as Gilmore Girls), though you may not know she also has a long history of dance.
Much like the young characters on Bunheads, you grew up studying dance. What did you like the best about it and what was the hardest part of that lifestyle?
Kelly Bishop: What I liked best about it was simply dancing. I just love to dance and I was actually watching a thing on the New York City Ballet School. When you want to dance, when you need to dance and you love to dance, it’s just a wonderful world. It’s terribly hard. It takes you away from any social life you have at school. I mean, I never went to an after-school dance or a prom or a football game or any of those things, and yet I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I would rather have been taking another class at the ballet school.
So it’s a completely different world. It’s very focused. You kind of have tunnel vision actually. It’s just a very focused world, because it’s so very, very difficult. Ballet is really a hard discipline and it takes years and years to just properly even do a position or a step. So you get so wrapped up in that.
It’s also very beautiful. It’s exactly like—I don’t know if you know that, but in A Chorus Line, I played a character who sang at the ballet, which was a song that was written from my life story, from my interviews, which was really very flattering to take my words and turn them into the lyrics of a song. It was about how everything is beautiful to ballet. There is a real romance to it. It’s a beautiful form of dance. We all know how pretty ballet dancers are and how beautiful it looks even if we don’t understand it.
The hard part is having to dedicate yourself completely, and the good part is how much fun it is and how romantic it is. It’s just a great world if you love it. It’s true of gymnasts. I’m sure it’s true of athletes. It’s true of anyone who loves a particular thing. You just get lost in it. I wish that everyone could find their dream and follow that road, because it’s really the way to live life. So I’m very, very happy that my life worked out the way it did.
For girls nowadays, considering your background and everything you’ve been through, would you recommend to young girls to study dance; whether they do it for fun, or perhaps with professional pursuits in mind?
Kelly Bishop: Absolutely. I’ve said this for years, and it’s opening up for boys a little bit more, because there’s always been such a stigma. Kids who learn to dance, and my fondness is for ballet, because it is so tremendously difficult, but just taking ballet lessons or it could be tap, it could be modern, it could be jazz—ballet is just a little more pure form in my humble opinion—you learn so much. You learn rhythm; you learn discipline; you learn the proper alignment of your body and the communication between your body and your mind. It’s just so much; the memory.
The things with dancers is dancers don’t write things down. I mean even with musicians you have music. With a dancer, it all goes into the brain, and you look in the mirror, and you look at your teacher, and you look at yourself, and you look at your other classmates, and that’s how you learn. You also learn a little bit of French if you’re taking ballet, because it’s all in French. So right there, you’ve got five things that are very beneficial and it’s actually fun. You’re actually moving through space to music. So there’s nothing wrong with it.
Usually, by the teenage years, the less-talented or less-driven dancers will start to drop out because they do. They start having crushes on boys and they do want to go to the football game and the after-school hop or whatever they do these days. So the ones who don’t have that dedication will kind of move away, but the ones who do have it, will continue on and be able to hopefully dance professionally, which is a very hard life, but a really fun life.
That’s fantastic advice.
Kelly Bishop: Yes, I think it’s great. If I had kids—I don’t have kids—but if I had kids, they all would have taken ballet. Just to get started—not to push them into it or to have them become dancers, just to get that body coordination and the strength—you get tremendous strength from dance.
Yes, basically, it’s good for anyone, right?
Kelly Bishop: It really is. People can do it their whole lives. There are all sorts of fun exercises out there. You know, cardio dance classes and stuff, that everybody should do it as long as they enjoy it.
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