Ballet Arizona's Raychel Diane Weiner Cast in Starz Dance Drama Flesh and Bone

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"Moira has a really great topic to work with, because we really are pretty crazy," Weiner says of dancers serving as Walley-Beckett's inspiration. "We put ourselves through hell constantly. It takes a certain type of mental and emotional state to do this job."

Also behind the scenes of Flesh and Bone is Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director and former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Ethan Stiefel (whom you might recognize as Cooper from Center Stage), serving as a consultant and choreographer.

The show stars Sarah Hay (who portrayed a a member of the corps de ballet in Black Swan) as a troubled young woman joining an esteemed New York ballet company. Rounding out the cast are American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko, ABT soloist Sascha Radetsky, Weiner, and Emily Tyra (who portrayed a dancer on Boardwalk Empire).

"One thing that I know that Moira was really adamant about was that she wanted it to be realistic. As a dancer seeing shows and movies that are kind of built around a ballet company, they're always very exaggerated. Really showing that competitive nature that is very real in the ballet world and the the ballet world on its own is a crazy mind--," she stops short of finishing and adds laughingly, "I think you know what I mean."

Walley-Beckett is a former dancer. Her fellow producer Kevin Kelly Brown comes from a family of dancers who served as the basis for the classic dance film The Turning Point.

"[Walley-Beckett will] focus not only on the costumes and galas," Weiner says. "It's definitely going to be a gritty look at what I consider to be my normal day-to-day."

Weiner will play Daphne, a character she describes as very grounded and confident.

"The way that she interacts with the other dancers made me think of my best friend at Ballet Arizona," she says. "For me it was an easy connection to make. Of course, there's a lot about the character that I don't know. Her undertone and her brief history that I know is very similar to my own personality. So it's exciting to play, perhaps, an exaggerated version of myself. The connection is there."

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski