With some big movies out at theaters, Center Stage was not high on my list. I mean, I don't think I had even seen previews for it, and the only things I knew about this movie were from what I put on this web page. I had no clue what to expect, but, after finishing watching it, I must say that Center Stage is a surprisingly decent movie, if not suffering from a few flaws.
Center Stage deals with a bunch of post-high school students trying to make it big in the ballet industry, all of whom have been accepted to ABA, the American Ballet Academy. Six of them will make it to ABC, the American Ballet Company, and the rest probably won't succeed at all. The film basically looks at several different characters, mainly girls but a few guys, as they deal with the pressures of professional ballet and decide whether it is really right for them. What results is a mix between a comedy, a romance, and a drama.
The romance is the most dominant part of the movie, even if the most obvious part is the actual ballet. I am not a big fan of ballet but there are some pretty intense and impressive ballet scenes, especially near the end. Back to the romance, though, is where things start to get sketchy. The idea is good - the main character, Jody (the very attractive Amanda Schull), sleeps with one of the best ballet stars in the world, Cooper (Ethan Stiefel) and at the same time is sort of mutually interested in one of her fellow students, Charlie (Sascha Radetsky) - and so there is a love triangle going on both in and out of the ballet. Unfortunately, a lot of the lines are rather cheesy one-liners, and it is quite obvious that most of these people were hired on their dancing skills and not their acting skills.
Center Stage does suffer from some clichés here and there, but there's a lot of no-talk dancing where the movie can shine without worrying about words getting in the way. The ending is fairly impressive, giving a new look to ballet that even I would go see if I knew it were to happen beforehand.
A hip, talented dancing cast and pretty good layout make Center Stage the center of attention for my Saturday night, even if it is a little cheesy in parts.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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