Director: Nicholas Hynter
Cast: Amanda Schull, Zoe Saldana, Susan May Pratt, Peter Gallager, Donna Murphy
Released: May 12, 2000
Center Stage isn't the greatest film and the acting is pretty awful, but yet I've seen it numerous times and own the DVD. This is a little perplexing because I'm not a dancer, have never danced in my life, and couldn't dance to save my life. So why do I love this movie so much? Because it's the best dance movie ever made, that's why! I mean, the whole dance sequence at the end with the motorcycle and the two main leads dancing to Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel was just pure genius.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The movie starts with our main character, Jodie (Schull who presumably got the part because she's a dancer) getting into the American Ballet Academy and trying to vie for a spot in one of the prestigious companies and there are only a few spots open for that.
Her roommates are Eva (Saldana) and Maureen (Pratt). Eva has an Attitude with a capital A. She's black, so she's tough and from the hood, yo. While she's a good dancer, her dance instructors do not like her rebellious ways. Maureen is a huge bitch, but you can't blame her because while she's a good dancer (well, of course they're all good dancers or else they would never have gotten accepted to ABA!), her heart isn't in it. See, the only reason why she's dancing is because it's her mother's dream for her to dance. Maureen's mother is a bigger bitch than Maureen: when her daughter confided in her that she was throwing up her meals, her mother replies, "Well, it's good to watch your weight!" Hmmm...somehow I don't think that's very good parenting. Maureen's mother is not pleased when she finds out that her daughter is secretly seeing a boy and -GASP- going out and eating pizza.
Jodie falls for Cooper, who is a professional dancer and a total douche bag. After an intimate night together, she thinks they will be together forever, but when she discovers that Cooper is blowing her off and flirting with other girls, she is so heartbroken. Well, duh. The guy is a total douche (albiet a great dancer). However, she forgives him (and ends up with the only straight male dancer from her class) and ends up dancing for his Company because she prefers his style of dancing to the more traditional ways of the older teachers.
The acting is horrible, but the film has some great dance sequence: the one at the end and the one where Jodie enrolls in a dance class and they dance to Mandy Moore's Candy and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper's Higher Ground. I love the music in this movie so much that I even own the soundtrack.
Even though I'm not a dancer, the movie gives a pretty good indication that the life of a ballet dancer is not a fun one: long hours of rehearsal, watching what you eat, puking up what you eat, not being able to have a life. Geeze, no wonder Natalie Portman went so crazy in Black Swan!