Choreographed Drama: A Tiny Pretty Things Review
Precise choreography, strict instructors, and competition for the spotlight. These three characteristics are the stereotypical markings of a prestigious ballet school. What if a student falling off of the roof of a building is thrown into the mix? Tiny Pretty Things answers that question in a steamy, dramatic ten-episodes.
Premiering on December 14, 2020, Tiny Pretty Things is a Netflix original series that follows the story of a new student admitted to the fictional Archer School of Ballet after another student is hospitalized in a coma. Tiny Pretty Things begins by following Naveah Stroyer, a ballet student from Inglewood, California, who is given a full scholarship to a prestigious ballet school in Chicago. The narrative takes some twists as Naveah figures out her acceptance was only due to the hospitalization of Cassie Shore, another student. As the characters begin to piece together inconsistencies with each others’ stories, they begin to realize that someone had pushed Cassie off of the roof. The Netflix drama unfolds as lies, secrets, and hidden relationships begin to be revealed to the viewer.
The show has various side plots, each discussing complex issues, including chasing one’s dreams despite parental disapproval, racial and class issues among peers, and underage exploitation for wealth and power. The show’s choice of topics to discuss throughout the narrative is intriguing and often dramatized. While this dramatization is, at times, over the top, it is expected for the series’ genre and does work to add to the series at points. The soapy nature of the show does add greatly to its story arcs but becomes messy at times.
A positive highlight of Tiny Pretty Things is the multifacetedness of the characters. One of the most intriguing characters is Oren Lennox, a student who has to make difficult decisions regarding his relationship while simultaneously dealing with an eating disorder. From a surprisingly unfriendly victim to a competitive yet caring friend, breaking away from the simple, traditional archetypes adds to the enjoyment of the series.
Even with a lack of knowledge of ballet, Tiny Pretty Things is an engaging show for any viewer. Although the show’s messy leaps may split audiences like a grand jeté, the cast of characters and various side plots make up for the series’ shortcomings.