Main cast: Amanda Schull (Jody), Ethan Stiefel (Cooper), Sascha Radetsky (Charlie), Zoë Saldana (Eva), Susan May Pratt (Maureen), Donna Murphy (Juliette), Peter Gallagher (Jonathan), Debra Monk (Nancy), Eion Bailey (Jim), and Ilia Kulik (Sergei)
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Hunky guys in tights! Zoom-in’s on muscular leotard-encased legs and all those intriguing bulges! Of muscles, of course. Thigh muscles. Ahem.
You know I can’t resist.
Center Stage aims to be a hip and cool movie about ballet. I have to admit, it’s a great movie while it lasts. Lots of pretty buff, aerobicized bodies in tights and body hugging costumes, dancing so sensually… who would’ve thought ballet can be so sexy, so hip, so hot?
Too bad about the story, really. Teenagers trying to be admitted into the American Ballet Theatre include the sensitive underachiever Jody (you know she will end up heroine of the day), token Black gay guy, token spunky Black girl, anorexic and ambitious bitch, fat girl, the jock, the token Russian wimp, and the bad boy. All act as predictably as expected, sprouting lines right out of a grade school play. There’s an intriguing romance between spoilt bitch and a happy-go-lucky waiter, but thanks to the dumbing down of characterization in the script, the whole thing ends up like something you would hear in a moral education class.
Only when they start dancing… wow. You know, if only they have removed all dialogues and stick to a two hour dance performance, that will be heavenly, because these actors, many of whom are actually ballet dancers (probably explains the wooden acting), dance as if they are gliding on air. Pirouettes are never so orgasmic.
The phrase “Shut up and dance!” sure comes to mind.