Projections - Movie Reviews

Center Stage Center Stage

A soap opera fable that highlights New York City's importance for those aspiring to find their place in the world of dance is Nicholas Hytner's Center Stage; more authentic in how its speaks through its quality dance routines, rather than its mostly familiar narrative, and often forced dialogue.

Most of Hytner's latest affection for young dancers takes place in and around Lincoln Center, as Center Stage has a contemporary feel for life's challenges, like his last movie which starred Jennifer Aniston who has a unique relationship in The Object of My Affection.

The director of such famous Broadway shows like Miss Saigon and Carousel will receive the most attention from high school and college age dance students, as the film kind of reworks elements of Fame and its main story line involving a romantic triangle, calls to mind an inversion of the ill fated Staying Alive.

Getting into the American Ballet Company is the goal of new entrants of the American Ballet Academy.  Jody (Amanda Schull) and Eva (Zoe Saidana) who become roommates of the talented academy ballet pupil, Maureen (Susan May Pratt), who may be the most recognizable of the good looking troupe by the teen dominated film goer.

As stated by the arrogant artistic director, Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher) who's up-front with his new class that only three men and women will make it to the workshop which could lead to a place in Reeves' company of ballet professionals.

Through this competitive, backstage tale that showcases the cast's athleticism, with the sacrifices of the body, especially the feet, Hytner nicely works in a repertoire company excerpts from Swan Lake, Stars and Stripes and even Romeo and Juliet where the students look on with awe and emotion.

Stepping into the tale of the struggles of Jody and Eva is Shakiem Evans' openly droll Erik, who consoles the uncaring, rebel Eva.  A boyish ballet student, Charlie (Sascha Radetsky) allures Jody at a New York salsa club and she is later courted by a renowned ballet star, Cooper Neilson, a Harley Davidson man who takes Jody for more than a ride as Ethan Stiefel instills a dark side to Cooper's personality that adds bubbles to this ballet opera.

Hytner's high point in Center Stage comes at its well choreographed climax featuring a multi-ethnic romp around the Big Apple.

Center Stage

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