In the world of the dance movie, the ballerina is king, or rather queen. After all, ballet has provided us with classics like The Red Shoes and critically acclaimed films such as Black Swan.
However, ballet also gave us Center Stage, a film with absolutely stunning choreography but an incredibly clichéd script, starring a younger Zoe Saldana and Sandy Cohen from The OC.
The subplots are just as predictable and cheesy. Eva (Zoe Saldana) is a dancer from a rough neighbourhood, but her talent is overlooked in Jonathan’s (Peter Gallagher) production in favour of the academy’s star, Maureen (Susan May Pratt). But Maureen has her own troubles. The pressure placed on her by the Academy and her mother have caused her to develop an eating disorder. Add to this Erik the gay dancer, and Russian Sergei, and you enter the eye of the cliche storm.
Luckily, the predictability of the script doesn’t carry over to the dance productions. Those choreographed by Jonathan are fairly safe and traditional, but Cooper’s routines are genuinely innovative, dynamic, and thrilling to watch. If you want to avoid cliched teen drama and instead watch ballet set to Michael Jackson music, perhaps you should just get on youtube and watch his dance showcase instead.
Center Stage is an enjoyable watch, sure, but other than the dancing, it is not a remarkable one in the slightest. The script, and some of the acting, unfortunately, just doesn’t hold up in comparison. But it does make you want to attempt pirouettes for days to come.