|Tagline||Life doesn't hold tryouts.|
|Writers||Carol Heikkinen (written by)
|Cast||Amanda Schull Christine Dunham Stephen Stout Maryann Plunkett Laura Hicks Barbara Caruso Jeff Hayenga Zoe Saldana Victor Anthony Karen Shallo Carlo Alban Giselle Daly Ethan Stiefel Susan May Pratt Shakiem Evans Ilia Kulik Sascha Radetsky Peter Gallagher Donna Murphy Lisa LeGuillou|
|Plot||The education of three young students, Jodie, Eva and Maureen, as they study at the American Ballet Academy. Life isn't what they expected at the esteemed ABA, and all three face problems along the road. Jodie doesn't have the "ideal" body for dancing, Eva doesn't have the right attitude, and Maureen doesn't have the heart. Along the way, they learn that love can be found in unlikely places, and dancing should be a passion, not a duty.... see Center Stage on IMDb|
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|The primary appeal of dance movies is the dancing, with some added emphasis on the romance the art expresses. Center Stage wins on these counts, despite its reveling in overly familiar characters and formula plotting. Or maybe this reveling is responsible for what goofy fun this film is. The arduous task of becoming a professional ballet dancer is incarnated by many good-looking teens, all stock dance-film characters affectionately portrayed mostly by newcomers. But center stage holds Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull), who may never be a great ballerina, but she's certainly one sexy jazz dancer. Then there's the arrogant genius (Ethan Stiefel), the dictatorial impresario (Peter Gallagher), the demanding instructor, the bulimic, the stage mother, etc. As we follow these characters, the message develops that one should let go and do what feels good. Jody may not be ballet material, but she scorches the stage when she's uninhibited. And that's really the fun of this movie, which is never seriously interested in ballet to begin with. One ludicrous scene depicts one of the dancers quitting because she realizes she never wanted to be a dancer to begin with but was pushed into it by her overbearing mother. She stands up to mom in the lobby of the auditorium where she's supposed to be performing, the music of her piece providing a syrupy backdrop to her little drama. When she's finished talking, she walks off to the audience's unwitting applause. The scene is so ham-handed you can't help but laugh at its audacity, if that's what it is. The rest of the film is not so overdone, but it's all fun. --Jim Gay|
|Buy Center Stage on Amazon.com|
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