Center Stage (2000)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Dance Film, Ensemble Film, Musical Drama, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - May 12, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 116 min.  |   Countries - India , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Tracie Cooper

What's fun, filled with buff bodies, and totally hardcore? Why, ballet, of course. This undeniably formulaic teen movie brings the competitive world of professional dance to center stage. While the ups and downs of ballet-school life (eating disorders, overbearing mothers, "bad feet") are portrayed with all the depth of an after school special, the en pointe posse gives the audience a surprisingly heartwarming sense of the bonds formed between fellow dancers. It's not that the acting is particularly good -- it isn't -- but it's the love of the craft that makes this movie charming. Perhaps it's due to the fact that the actors are largely professional ballerinas themselves (Amanda Schull, who plays Jody Sawyer, is an apprentice at the San Francisco Ballet; Ethan Stiefel, Cooper Nielson in the film, is famous in his own right within the American Ballet Theater). Dance fans and those with a soft spot for unlikely triumphs will cheer Jody in her end-of-term performance in the tradition of Flashdance and Fame.