Thursday, June 6, 2019

Favorite Film Alert: Centerstage

I’ve always loved dance. I love to dance and I have such an appreciation for it. When I first saw the movie Centerstage, I loved every minute of it! To this day this is one of those films that I can watch over and over again!

The movie did not have any big movie stars, but it was still a good movie for me. Zoe Saldana, who played rebel dancer Eva later on became a big movie star, with her recent work being Gamora from the Avengers movies. Amanda Schull, who played the lead character, Jody, starred in the TV version of 12 Monkeys and is currently part of the TV show Suits. Eion Bailey, who played Maureen’s boyfriend, later on starred in the TV series Once Upon a Time as Pinocchio. I also can’t forget to mention that professional ballet dancers Ethan Stiefel, Julie Kent, and Sascha Radetsky were also a part of this movie, with Sascha co-starring with Mandy Moore in the music video used to promote the movie.

Centerstage was about a group of dancers enrolled at the American Ballet Academy, studying and hoping to qualify to be a professional dancer at the end of the year via a workshop where dancers will be handpicked for various ballet companies. While it did focus a lot on the dancing, it also showed the life of dancers and how competitive the world of dance can be. Dancers are shown struggling to lose weight, having difficulty balancing technique with emotion while they dance, and trying to have a life and relationships outside of the dance world. 

There are a lot of dance scenes in the movie (obviously) but there is one scene at a dance studio that I liked a lot, it featured the song Higher Ground by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I remember dancing along to the song in my room and trying to copy the choreography when I first saw this movie!

One particular aspect of the movie that I liked was how they repeatedly mention that Jody does not have the right technique or form but that when you look at her, you see a star. I love that in the end, it was not the right technique that won people over, but the star quality that she had in her. To me, it was the movie telling aspiring dancers to never give up on their dreams, and just like Jody, if you work hard and if it is your passion, you can find your place in the dance world. 

Of course, like any other movie targeted to the younger crowd, this movie has its share of love stories, although I am happy to report that it did not take away from the real focus of the film.

Centerstage was successful enough to have had two spinoff movies: Centerstage: Turn in Up and Centerstage: On Pointe. Ethan Stiefel was in the first one and Sascha joined him in the second. Both dancers were also part of the limited TV series Flesh and Bone, which is a dramatic and darker take on the ballet world. Stiefel was the choreographer for the show while Sascha was one of the lead actors for it. 

The movie will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year. I am hoping that someone can get the cast together for a reunion – maybe to be interviewed for a magazine or something. Or maybe they can do a reunion music video with Mandy Moore, who is just as much a part of this movie as everyone because of the theme song. I’d love to see that happen.

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