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Starz has been upping the ante when it comes to larger than life original drama, including the recent swashbuckling hit Black Sails and the upcoming epic Scottish romance Outlander. They’ll soon rein in the external thrills for something far more personal and stress-inducing with the series order they gave to the ballet drama Flesh and Bone from creator and former dancer Moira Walley-Beckett, the producer/actress/writer responsible for some of Breaking Bad’s most memorable episodes. I suppose their expectations of drawing audiences back to ballet fiction following 2011’s Black Swan are more reasonable with such a creative talent putting it all together.

Part of the network’s decision came from the central casting of professional footsmith Sarah Hay, who just so happened to star in Black Swan. Hay successfully outlasted thousands of potential applicants in a nationwide search for the right performer, so I think it’s safe to say no one will be worried about the on-screen dance work coming off as unprofessional. She is still a newcomer to the acting game, so it remains to be seen how squarely on her shoulders this cable series can sit. According to Deadline, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said the project wasn’t moving forward without a “world class dancer who had the ability to convey the widest range of emotions that Moira has written,“ which is as close to a perfect recommendation as I can think of.

Hay will star as Claire, a young artist with a troubled past who joins a prestigious New York company, which isn’t quite as luxurious as it sounds. The series will delve into the grit and the grime that go hand in hand with the glamour and prestige of the dancing community. Dance is probably filling in for some other addiction Claire has, which will doubtlessly reveal itself in the most unpleasant of ways. I bet the footpad budget for this is going to be outrageous.

Lawrence Bender, a longtime producer of Quentin Tarantino’s films, will executive produce along with Kevin Brown, who comes from the family of dancers that inspired the Oscar-nominated 1977 drama Turning Point. Center Stage star and world famous performer Ethan Stiefel has signed on to the project as a consultant and choreographer. November was also a good month for the project, as four supporting roles were all filled by professionals, including American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Redetsky (Center Stage), Emily Tyra (Boardwalk Empire), former ABT principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko and Ballet Arizona company dancer Raychel Diane Weiner. Nobody can say they aren’t approaching this from a method angle.

Starz recently opted out of their series order for the drama Fortitude, which was meant to air in the last quarter of 2014, which would be a prime spot for Flesh and Bone, but it looks like the series won’t be hitting the air until 2015 at the earliest. Production is scheduled to begin in New York City early this year.
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