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Movie Reviews

Center Stage  

Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher)
Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schulla)
Cooper Nielsen (Ethan Stiefel)
Charlie (Sascha Ra Detsky)
Eva (Zoe Saldana)
Maureen (Susan May Pratt)

Directed by Nicholas Hytner Written by Carol Heikkinen

Rated PG-13 for sensuality and language
Running Time: 113 minutes Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Center Stage
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Center Stage is a dance film that serves its purpose. The film follows the hopes and dreams of a group of young dance students as they try to make a name for themselves and become stars in the fiercely competitive world of professional dance. Vibrant and supremely gifted, they are students who devote themselves to their talent, sacrificing ordinary pleasures of life to train with the rigor of Olympic athletes. While experiencing the normal joys and sorrows, loves and conflicts of youth, they live for a place in a selective professional dance company.

Center Stage is a dance movie that will please its targeted audience, which are teenagers. I didn't really care for the film too much, but I know that it will entertain most audiences. It reminded me of a mix between Fame and Riverdance.

Carol Heikkinen wrote the script for Center Stage. The script isn't sharp, but the writer gets her point across. The characters are established, but most of the sequencing is predictable and vague. The one aspect that I really liked in Heikkinen's script is how strict and mean the director of the dance school is. Artistic directors are exactly like the way Heikkinen portrays them. From my own experience in some theater and the stories I have heard from my young cousin, who is an up and coming ballet dancer, Heikkinen's creation is a accurate depiction. I believe that the directors' attitudes and reactions to their dancers are what make this film watchable.

Peter Gallagher turns in a slimy performance as the dance school's head director. The rest of the cast is mostly inexperienced actors. Zoe Saldena's performance is the only effective one in the film as the hot-tempered dancer Eva. Even though they don't pull off good acting, I tip my hat to the cast's respectable dancing abilities. Famous world dancers Ethan Stiefel and Sascha Ra Detsky star as the two lead male characters. Outside of Riverdance, I have never seen guys move and dance so swiftly as these two.

Like I said before, I like the strict director aspects in the film and the admirable dancing, but not much else. The film lacks the teamwork side of making a dance show achievable, this film is more about each character's quest to excellence. However, watch for Center Stage to be a sleeper hit with teenagers this summer.

Report Card Grade: C

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