Center Stage (Special Edition) (Bilingual)
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The American Ballet Company is not for the fainthearted, it's for the most gifted and beautiful ballet dancers alive. But you'll need more than mere physical prowess and determination to succeed. You'll need to deliver the goods at CENTER STAGE. Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher, American Beauty), the ballet company's owner is evaluating this young tight-knit group of students as they face the growing pains of their ambitions, romances and heartbreaks which prove to be both invigorating and difficult. The results are a celebration of beauty, bodies, and ballet.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The dancing in this movie is spectacular - especially Ethan Stiefel(Cooper)who is amazing. Too often dance movies are made with actors who can't dance so that the "dancing" is shot in a way to disguise the fact that no dancing by the actor is actually occurring. The fact that Cooper, Jody and Charlie are all played by dancers, and in Ethan Stiefel's case one of the best dancers in the world, allows the film to end with a bang up dance sequence that you'll want to watch again and again. Other reviewers have said that the DVD extras aren't worth it, but the extras are worth it just for the extended dance sequences of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Stars and Stripes".
And yes, the plots are contrived, but they are engaging. Not every movie has to be edgy or deep or meaningful. It's often quite enough for a movie to make you feel good which this movie does in spades. If you love dance, you won't regret buying this DVD.
This movie does a very good job of showing the struggle that a ballet student goes through -- the rigor of study and exercise, the attitude of both students and teachers in a professional studio or school...even the stereotypes. A lot of previous reviewers have complained about all the stereotypes in the movie, but the fact of the matter is, those stereotypes EXIST. In mass quantities, I might add! MOST dancers fall into one of those categories; if they had not been in there, quite frankly, it wouldn't have been very true to reality. So I was glad they put them in.
I do agree that some of the acting isn't exactly earth-shattering. On the other hand, this is a movie about DANCE, and I would rather see them employ DANCERS than actors. There is nothing more annoying than watching an actor who can't dance try and pull it off, it just doesn't work. So I was glad they went with that particular choice. The actors they had that didn't dance didn't actually HAVE to. For example, Peter Gallagher. Peter Gallagher wouldn't have been my first choice to cast as the director of a major company, but when he first came onto the screen, I laughed out loud! He played the role PERFECTLY! I watched him and thought, "Oh, my gosh, it's all the directors and teachers that I had when I was a ballet dancer!" He couldn't have done it any better if he actually WAS a ballet director.
The story, though predictable, was still sweet, and the characters ended up being pretty likable.
But, of course, the dancing is why you watch this movie. The dancing is wonderful.Read more ›
That's the real reason to watch this film, becaue if you pay attnetion to the wooden acting, the stupid script and the cliches strewn haphazardly through the film, you'll be disappointed.
It really does show the sick mindset of the dance world though, about how dancers are expected to be thin whether that is their normal body type or not. One of the main supporting characters is bulimic and through the course of the movie stops dancing and confronts her mother their dysfunctional relationship. There is nothing fundamentally wrong here, except that the whole thing is presented very simplistically. In the real world, these events would never happen. When you have an eating disorder you are so emotionally dysfunctional that usually, confronting the people at the root of your pain is the last thing you are capable of doing. It was hard to believe that this girl was seriously ill when all of a sudden she found the self-respect to start standing up to people and vocalising her needs. That just doesn't happen overnight.
On the otherhand, I suppose that someone with an eating disorder who saw this movie might concievably be encouraged to take steps towards recovery. I guess it's possible that you might see what the character did and be given some hope that you could take that direction too.
Most recent customer reviews
I love this movie but I have ordered a DVD twice and received a VHS twicePublished 10 months ago by Nancy Weistra
Class, amazing dancing and choregraphy. Love to watch it every so often.Published 19 months ago by Matt
I bought this for my daughter as a small reward for having such a great dance competition season.
We both love it. Great movie to inspire a young dancer.
Even though I feel like the acting is strained and forced at times, I still really enjoy this movie and have watched it multiple times. Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Dr. K
This movie is all about the dancing, and everyone seems to agree it is great dancing...yet not many people give credit to the Choreographer... Read morePublished on June 25 2004 by Thomas A
"Center Stage" tries desperately to be an entertaining, insightful look into the world of ballet dancers, but fails miserably. Read morePublished on May 29 2004 by Emily Todd
Some think that ballet is for the weak and timid, but this movie exposes that it is for the strong, the bold and the incredibly talented. Read morePublished on May 9 2004