It’s been almost 14 years since Center Stage hit theaters in the year 2000.
The popular movie starred ballet dancer Amanda Schull as Jody Sawyer, a ballerina who is accepted into the prestigious summer intensive of the American Ballet Academy. She joins a group of other ballerinas, all working anxiously toward a spectacular end-of-the-year performance, where they hope to be noticed and hired by the American Ballet Company.
Things get complicated for Jody when she meets Cooper Nielsen (Ethan Stiefel), an arrogant principal dancer with ABC, who has just returned to the company after facing romantic problems. Jody finds friendship with several other students, including tough ballerina Eva (Zoe Saldana), the cute and talented Charlie (Sascha Radetsky), fun and confident Erik (Shakiem Evans), and darling diva Maureen (Susan May Pratt). Together, Jody and her friends try to overcome the harsh ballet world and find their place in the spotlight.
Here are five reasons why Center Stage is still one of my favorite dance movies.
5. The Realities
It’s a tough life for a professional dancer. One of the reasons I love this movie so much is that it accurately portrays the harsh realities of the ballet world. Between Emily’s body criticism, Jody’s constant struggle with her technique, and Erik’s traumatic injury, Center Stage shows the reality of a dancer’s life very truthfully.
4. Real Dancers
Ethan Stiefel performed for New York City Ballet , Amanda Schull danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Sascha Radetsky danced with American Ballet Theater. The audience could see that these hard-working dancers were actually performing, which made for some killer choreography scenes!
3. The leading men
Ethan Stiefel and Sasha Radetsky became everyone’s ballet crush after this movie. They’re cute, strong, and can execute double tours and switch leaps on the spot. Who could ask for more?
2. The Jazz Class
As a “jazzerina,” the jazz class in this movie has always been one of my favorite scenes. I’ve been trying in vain for years to learn that insanely fun combination to “Higher Ground.” Someday!
1. The Final Performance (Cooper Nielsen’s Ballet)
The final performance in this movie is insane. It’s action-packed, completely over-the-top, and incredibly awesome! This piece has everything- two second costume changes, fire-red pointe shoes, a real motorcycle, a love triangle, flawless fouettè turns, and the awesome music of Michael Jackson, Jamiroquai, and more. It’s totally unrealistic for a stage piece, but who cares? It’s the epic-ness of this final routine that makes Center Stage one of my favorite dance movies ever.
IMDB. Check out the IMDB page for Center Stage here.
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