Main cast: Larisa Oleynik (Juliana), Shiri Appleby (Samantha), Peter Coyote (William), Amy Madigan (Jackie), Shane West (Paul), and Lynn Whitfield (Linda)
Director: Peter Gilbert
The promotional tag of this movie hypes it up to be a teenaged hybrid of Dirty Dancing, A Walk to Remember, and Flashdance. It sounds like a train wreck. That’s what I thought when I went in to watch Center Stage and I had a reasonably entertaining time watching that one. So how bad can A Time for Dancing be? At least it should have some cute guys in revealing leotards, right?
No. It has Shane West instead, second only to Milo Ventimiglia when it comes to portraying annoyingly stereotypical teenage boys. It also has Shiri Appleby, eek. A Time for Dancing is like a Sweet Valley High special adaption for Hallmark, and naturally, someone has cancer in this story.
Samantha and Juliana are two childhood friends that love dancing. But somehow things don’t turn out the way one wants them to. Sam ends up working at a fast food restaurant to help her single mother while Jules succeeds in entering the Julliard Academy to pursue her dreams of dancing. Jules’s success comes at the cost of her relationship with Paul, eek eek eek. Then Jules has cancer, sob sob sob. Now Sam must find the courage within to find her real self and help Jules pull off one last fanfare swan song.
A predictable movie filled with the usual overly sentimental and maudlin muzak, A Time for Dancing is still a watchable movie. The dance productions are pretty good. Unfortunately, its trite and predictable feel-good message will more likely appeal more to less cynical people willing to be manipulated by blatant “teenaged crush, dancing, and cancer” clichés. This movie is no Dirty Dancing but a Lifetime movie, that’s for sure.