The education of three young students, Jodie, Eva and Maureen, as they study at the American Ballet Academy. Life isn’t what they expected at the esteemed ABA, and all three face problems along the road. Jodie doesn’t have the “ideal” body for dancing, Eva doesn’t have the right attitude, and Maureen doesn’t have the heart. Along the way, they learn that love can be found in unlikely places, and dancing should be a passion, not a duty.

Also Known As: Center Stage, Треска за шоу, Κεντρική σκηνή, Sob a Luz da Fama, No Centro do Palco, Авансцена, Danse ta vie, Camino a la fama, Kentriki skini, Il ritmo del successo, Światła sceny, I rampelyset, El ritmo del éxito, City Ballet, The Dance Movie, Centre Stage, Rivaldafényben, Kraljevi plesa

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  • pan-arsen-zhadan
    pan arsen zhadan

    Center Stage was a 2000 comedy-drama that followed the lives of various teenagers as they audition for a spot in the American Ballet Company. The film opens as students audition for the company but we learn that they have only been chosen to study at the company and are not actually members of the company yet. There is a showcase at the end of the year at which time, only a handful of students are chosen as actual members of the company.The primary characters focused on are Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull), a young girl who has the passion for dance but doesn’t really have the technique. Eva (Zoe Saldana) has the technique but doesn’t have the attitude. Maureen (Susan May Pratt) was pretty much pushed into ballet by her mother (Debra Monk) who works for the company and though she has what it takes in terms of technique, learns that her heart isn’t really in it. We are also are introduced to Jonathan (Peter Gallagher) the egomaniacal director of the company who constantly butts head with Cooper Nielsen (Ethan Stiefel), the principal male dancer of the company who longs to have his own company and finds himself attracted to Jody. Tony winner Donna Murphy is also featured as a teacher in the company whose battle of wills with Eva keep their working relationship very tense.Yeah, it’s pretty much a soap opera on pointe shoes, but the characters presented are pretty realistic for the most part, as dancers, for the most part, are not the nicest people in the world and that film makes this very clear. Jonathan and Cooper pretty much grate on the nerves throughout, only made worse because Ethan Stiefel, though a brilliant dancer, can’t act his way out of paper bag.On the other hand, Schull is charming as Jody and Saldana steals every scene she is in. There is also a cute cameo by original A CHORUS LINE cast member Priscilla Lopez as a dance instructor who is an old friend of Cooper’s. There is some first-rate dancing though and Cooper’s final ballet, featuring Schull and Stiefel, is spectacular.

  • margaret-schwartz
    margaret schwartz

    Center Stage (2000): Dir: Nicholas Hytner / Cast: Peter Gallagher, Zoe Saldana, Amanda Shull, Susan Mary Pratt, Ethan Stiefel: Insightful look at the arts and the struggles and ambition that young people who embark upon this as a career move. Title indicates that those who participate are gearing towards the top of their form. It is not the masterpiece that Fame is but it is structured in similar fashion with students assembled at the school of the performing arts in hopes of acceptance. Those who succeed will be part of a dance program where their skills will be applied to theatre arts. Plot is thin and structure is predictable but the climaxing play is a steal. Directed by Nicholas Hytner who made mediocre The Object of My Affection. The dance numbers are done with great passion but Hytner also casts the film well. Peter Gallagher is the instructor and this is a vast improvement over his last couple of failures. Zoe Saldana, Amanda Shull, and Susan May Pratt are among the ensemble for whom travel the clichés but ultimately present real character. While Fame will appeal to both students and adults alike, Center Stage is clearly aimed at teenagers who have ambitions similar to those expressed here. Although not the masterpiece that Fame is it still presents an interesting character study in an energizing film about reaching goals in high places. Score: 8 / 10

  • kayla-dean
    kayla dean

    Cartoony variation on “Fame” concerns a group of teenagers enrolled at the American Ballet Company who rebel against their instructors, struggle with their weight, battle with their parents and–most especially–check each other out during morning ballet exercises! While cobbling together scenes from “Flashdance”, “All That Jazz”, “A Chorus Line” along with “Fame” (its prime inspiration), director Nicholas Hytner and screenwriter Carol Heikkinen appear to assume that a few jazzy dance montages set to an artificial backbeat will substitute for the lack of honest characters–or any kind of characters, for that matter. Despite stray vulgarities and a bit of underage sex, “Center Stage” is squeaky-clean and square, the kind of matinée underachiever which attempts to combine Michael Jackson moves with tutus. As timid over its sexuality as it is about dramatic backstage business, the movie is nothing more than a smelly soaper scored for gullible ‘tweens. * from ****

  • dr-metinkaya-pehlil-yilmaz
    dr metinkaya pehlil yilmaz

    Great movie. This movie is about a group of training ballet dancers from top ballet a school in NYC. The dancers become friends facing challenging situations together. A story about artists finding themselves in situations that help them overcome certain personality traits. Great talented cast, a staple in the dance community, a realistic storyline that captivates emotions and real life events. Thus a much too similar plot, the story was of great deliverance. A story many dancers can relate to. Not just about dancing. More so, about the obstacles you have endure to gain respect as a dancer. A must watch. Great film

  • erica-simmons
    erica simmons

    I felt that the movie could have been better if there was more focus on Maureen Cummings. Nancy Cummings played an employee who is also Mama Rose in getting her daughter accepted at the American Ballet Academy (fictional New York City dance company). Debra Monk played the mother, Nancy, and she was the best part of the film. The older supporting actors really deserved more attention. Peter Gallagher played the artistic director. Elizabeth Hubbard played Joan Miller, a wealthy New York City socialite. Donna Murphy played a teacher. When it comes to ballet movies, I prefer this one over the Black Swan. It has its moments but isn’t as dark. There are notable appearances like Marcia Jean Kurtz who graduated from Juilliard in Ballet and became a great actress. Priscilla Lopez is also there as a choreographer. It’s worth watching once. Sir Nicholas Hytner directed this film.

  • shawn-hutchinson
    shawn hutchinson

    I love this movie and the soundtrack. I used to be a dancer and this soundtrack was always played back in the early 2000s in my dance classes and it’s so much fun to dance to! I love the end dance sequence so much!

  • jason-flores
    jason flores

    Sure the plot is kinda cheesy, as well as the acting (other than the always flawless Zoe Saldana) but the dancing is fantastic! I couldn’t help but get taken in by how talented these dancers are. It made me want to take more dance classes when I first saw it! Overall a very fun movie that shares a pretty good lesson.

  • nicolaj-bech
    nicolaj bech

    “Center Stage”, a film about young students of the ballet trying to succeed, is diluted by too many characters (most of them sophomoric stereotypes) and soapy subplots and plagued by bad acting, melodrama, juvenile music, and even mediocre choreography. The film lacks the verve and passion of the art it attempts to represent though it does showcase plenty of dancing. This flick will be appreciated most by young females and dance enthusiasts.

  • elena-herranz-esteve
    elena herranz esteve

    Wouldn’t it be nice if someone produced a film about ballet with an interesting story? Unfortunately, `Center Stage’ is not it. While charming at times with a very upbeat ending, the story is ultimately just another jejune and unoriginal teen flick. Instead of teens in jeans, we have teens in tights. Otherwise, the storylines are indistinguishable, lacking anything that approaches novelty, depth or substance.That having been said, this likeable film was easy to watch and the dancing was exquisite. If only there had been more of it. The fact that the cast was filled with real dancers instead of actors pretending to be dancers improved its realism and delivered fantastic dancing scenes without the need for stunt dancers. Unfortunately, the flip side of this decision was the fact that the acting was generally mediocre.Two standouts were Amanda Schull (Jody Sawyer) and Zoe Saldana (Eva Rodriguez). Schull was affable yet determined and was most credible in her portrayal of a struggling dancer. Saldana played the irreverent bad girl who was brilliantly talented but had trouble with authority. She emerged as the most complete of any of the cast members, being both a good dancer and an excellent actor.On the terrible side, we have Susan May Pratt (Maureen), who has done a string of teen flicks (`Drive Me Crazy’, `Ten Things I Hate About You’). As always, she was consistently puerile and abrasive. Peter Gallagher is not known for lighting up the screen, but he was flat even for him (if that is possible).I rated this film a 7/10 because I love ballet and all kinds of dance. Subtract at least two points if you don’t share that passion, unless you love teen flicks.

  • dacian-ardelean
    dacian ardelean

    This was a surprisingly good film. The plot and characters were believable, though somewhat formulaic. The rest was so well executed I didn’t care about that. I was impressed that the director got such good performances out of dancers who don’t have acting experience. The more seasoned actors/actresses gave a boost in quality that improved the overall effort quite a bit, especially Debra Monk who played Maureen’s mother.All the flaws aside – which really are comparatively minor – the film was a superb portrayal of the world of dance and those who aspire to a professional career. The hard work, the sacrifices, the competitiveness and sometimes isolation are all part of the process so wonderfully done here. The dancing is quite excellent in many parts and is worth the price alone.

  • ricardo-williams
    ricardo williams

    The best finale dance sequence ever – I could watch just that part over and over…Also, an amazing soundtrack and some classic quotes. I think I especially like it for nostalgia, but I enjoy it anyways!

  • samuel-sims
    samuel sims

    Center Stage was a fun dance movie that is very entertaining and enjoyable, it isn’t one of those boring dance movies that start out slow and end slow. Center Stage is a fast moving and fun movie to watch. I give center stage a 10 out of 10!! 🙂

  • lucy-vallee
    lucy vallee

    A group of young dancers ‘fight’ against each other to be selected in a workshop promoted by ABA (American Ballet Academy). Only a few of them will have a chance to be professional dancers, but all of them love to dance. The movie focuses the plot in Jody Sawyer (the delicious, gorgeous, graceful Amanda Schull – what a beautiful woman she is!); the rebel Eva Rodriguez (Zoe Saldana); and the anorexic Maureen Cummings (Susan May Pratt), in the female side, and Cooper Nielson (Ethan Stiefel) and Charlie Sims (Sascha Radetsky) in the male side. There are many other secondary characters that participate in the plot, like the mother of Maureen, the director of the company Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher) and many others. The first point that impresses is the number of characters, all of them well defined in the plot having a major or a minor participation in the storyline. Second, the natural and powerful acting of these young and unknown actors and dancers. It seems that they are indeed fighting for a chance to be recognized by Hollywood as great actors and actresses, trying to show their skills to the studios. It shows a splendid direction of the excellent Nycholas Hytner. The choreography and soundtrack are also great. Certainly it is a lovely and wonderful film, highly indicated for fans of ‘Fame’, dance, ballet and good movies. My vote is nine.Title (Brazil): “Sob a Luz da Fama” (“Under the Spotlight of the Fame”)Note: On 17 February 2018 I saw this film again.

  • kotryna-naujokas
    kotryna naujokas

    I understand that a movie must be about emotional expression, otherwise people would not like it, but a film about dancing should be, in my view, more about expression through dance. This film was not like that and, even if it had some nice dance scenes in it, the rest was sadly disappointing.I may be biased, since I am watching the second movie in as many days about a self-obsessed blonde dancer who believes her feelings are more important than anything else, but I found the main character hard to sympathize with and the rest of them really cliché. The black girl with talent but lack of self control, the black gay guy, the blonde dance god and the nice muscular perfect boyfriend, the bitchy perfectionist and the overcontrolling mother, they are all in here, playing their cardboard parts in hard to believe scenes on the music of Michael Jackson and the like.Bottom line: if you are passionate about dance and/or ballet, you might want to check it out, but bare in mind that the dancing here could have been replaced by sports or literature or automechanics and the script would have remained mostly untouched and the film very similar to something you’ve seen before on TV.

  • valerie-gonzalez
    valerie gonzalez

    The title comes from the dancer’s center of gravity, which I’m told is used to explain the difference between Russian and American dance to us non-dancers. The Russian tradition is one of capturing and controlling it; the American (since Balanchine, whose work is employed here) is to understand it and let the center `go.’ And insofar as it can, that is the point of the drama employed to tie together the dance segments of this film. It is a non-trivial point, underlined by employing not actors in the key roles, but dancers who `act.’ These kids are surely endearing.Two points seem worth mentioning.The first is the matter of dance in film. Dance is intrinsically cinematic in terms of emotion as motion. But it is too personal, too directly a matter between humans, to convey well to the funnel of film: everything squashed into an image, then given indiscriminately and undifferentiatingly to all viewers. So the cinematographer has a tough choice: what to do with the camera to increase bodily intimacy.One, unacceptable, extreme is to stay stationary at a few points, another is to choreograph the camera so the viewer is one of the dancers. In this case, at the end at least, we have a happy medium so far as camera involvement. The camera is stationary, but often within the field of dance, and it pans. The staging of the dance was partly to the audience pictured, and partly to us, which is very clever. But it would have been nice to be more adventurous in this regard, especially since there are several choreographers in NYC who are up to the challenge, and cheap!The second point is a matter of self-reference, which I appreciate almost without qualification when I see it. The filmmaker gives us a bunch of young actors (actually dancers) who surprise us by effectively showing us their souls in a little love triangle drama. And the matter of their story? A bunch of young dancers who surprise the audience in the film by effectively showing their souls in a little love triangle drama. The film as summarized in the dance is a very intelligent device which I appreciated. And you will too.

  • monica-strong
    monica strong

    Being of the male persuasion, this isn’t a movie I would typically go to the theater to see. However, not being the stereotypical male, I decided to rent it on video and watch it together with my girlfriend.This movie is your typical teenage gal film. All the elements are there… good girl, bad girl, holier-than-thou girl, homosexual friend, domineering mother, bad guy, good guy… the list goes on and on.Jody Sawyer (played quite well by newcomer Amanda Schull) wants to be a ballet dancer. She is already good, but she wants to be the best. She joins on with a famous ballet school, and commences auditions for the all-out ballet blast at the end of the school year, where the dancers will be watched very closely, and some of them will be signed with major ballet companies.Along the way, she runs into some problems with the other members of the school, as well as the company director. She finds that ballet schools aren’t all they are cracked up to be. (Who knew?!) They are more about politics than they are about dancing.She gets burned by one guy, encouraged by another, and tries to be the best she can. Eventually, she finds the way to her dreams, but not in the typical way, the one the viewer may expect.Acting here is a tad hollow. However, for a cast of unknowns, it’s prettyfair. After all, this movie is about dancing, not about acting. As might be expected, everybody here is gorgeous. (Are they trying to tell us there are no visually unpleasant ballet dancers… anywhere?!) Aside from that, the storyline is rather unbelievable, and contrived. This leads to a loss of major points.The best thing about this movie is the dancing. If you are a fan of ballet, be sure and rent this video. It has some of the best ballet dancing that can be seen in any other movie. In particular, the dance exhibition at the end is magnificent!If you are male, watch this one with your female significant other. (It’s good for points.) If you are a gay male, watch it with your male significant other. If you are female, just watch it, you’ll love it, especially if you are into cotton candy type films. Overall, it it’s no Oscar winner, but it isn’t too bad, either. Did I mention the dancing was pretty good?My Rating: 6/10

  • kimberly-jensen
    kimberly jensen

    What makes this something unique? What the difference with other movies about dancers?.I just can tell I’m not a fan of the dance things, I mean I really hate those many pop singers who abuse of the dance to hide their bad work, so for year I was avoiding these movies.But when I saw the music video of this film, something was different, there was not the same old story with the cast of pop stars trying to show they are more than a cute face. There was a cast of amazing dancers showing the best of them in just a few minutes.So, finally I found myself watching this movie with the strange desire about an endless story. Weird, but for one who doesn’t like the dance, this was a discover of whole new world were the dancers and the cast make an incredible work in a story who deserve to be with the classic of these themes.This movie it’s not shallow love story of a group of teenagers trying to become in big stars, it’s about the crash of the passion and the reality, the time when the real love for something has to be tested to found the perfect place in the universe of the society, something that it’s hard to find in a good film.

  • brittany-hill
    brittany hill

    “Center Stage,” a film about the lives of young modern dancers who want nothing more than to make a name for themselves, dazzles with some of the best on-screen dance performances since Patrick Swayze shook his hips in “Dirty Dancing” thirteen years ago. Starring some of the most talented modern dancers ever to hit the silver screen, “Stage” focuses its attention on the lives surrounding the young dancers and their struggles for stardom. The film is a revealing exploitation of the complexity associated with modern dance, diving into the realities of dance phenoms that sacrifice their social life for a role that will find them performing in front of a live audience.Rating: 6

  • katie-peters
    katie peters

    What can you say about a movie that not only makes you want to get up and dance yourself, but one that keeps you hanging on every dance step and word? Perhaps fabulous. While everyone was running off to see the spring Block Buster Gladiator, I was watching the sneak preview of Center Stage, along with 300 to 400 others. The chemistry between these first time movie actors was just amazing. That dancing was breathtaking and the plot was wonderful. It was full of surprises and excitement. Had to be my favorite movie in the last couple of years. There was barely any language and a bit of sex, but it was appropriate for the story line. This is a movie for everyone young and old. It is a must see in the theater, and I promise you it will get your heart pumping!

  • theodore-lombard
    theodore lombard

    Let’s see–you’ve got a bunch of young hopefuls in a tough ballet school in NYC–you have the tough, but lovable, black girl; the token gay man; the sweet virginal heroine; the arrogant Russian guy; the sweet lovable guy who’s perfect for the sweet heroine, but she doesn’t know it; the b**** who’s starving herself to death; the guy who loves her and wants to help her; the tyrannical (but lovable) ballet teachers–yep, they’re all here! The script is utterly predictable, you know how it’s going to end 10 minutes into the movie, but I loved it! The acting is surprisingly good, it’s beautifully filmed, the whole cast is attractive and the dancing is simply superb. I wasn’t bored once during the entire 2 hours. Well worth seeing.

  • scott-ross
    scott ross

    I loved this for the dancing – the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, the dance of the little swans from Swan Lake, a bit of the Stars and Stripes, and some great modern stuff, especially the show sequence which works through Michael Jackson and Jamiroquai. The story is just a bundle of cliches in looks and personalities and you just know how it is all going to end. So, worth seeing for the dance sequences, but its turn off your brain time for the rest. With a stronger storyline this could have been a really good film. As it is, its a high 7 out of 10.

  • jyotsnaa-kunnddaa
    jyotsnaa kunnddaa

    Ballet movies are incredibly rare. Some are good movies even without the dancing and some are bad with great dancing. This movie happens to be an ok movie with incredible dancing. The characters are really caricatures with exaggerated behaviors that come off feeling very afternoon teen special-ish. The plot is incredibly predictable. You can tell what’s going to happen to Jody after the first 15 minutes. However, this movie is lucky enough to have no less than three ABT members in its cast. Ethan Steifel is of course arguably the greatest male dancer in the world right now and while I was watching him I was struck with how similar he is to Baryshnikov. His every move looks effortless and gravity-defying. Sascha Radetsky shows that if he was with any other company that he’d be a principal dancer. Julie Kent should prove to be a mixture of Leslie Browne and Gelsey Kirkland and be an inspiration to another generation of girls. Amanda Schull shows a great deal of promise which really shows in the last number. Zoe Saldana is very good and is perhaps the most complex character. She carries off this acting job adequately. Susan May Pratt is of course the only non-dancer who is also lacking in any dance experience. It’s actually kind of ironic that her character has to be the most technically accomplished of the students. However, she looks as natural in the environment as do her fellow dancer co-stars. The final dance sequences are amazing. One includes Rachmaninov’s “2nd Piano Concerto” and is a beautiful piece. The other ballet is one that illustrates where ballet is heading. Full of flashy colors, flashy costumes, and effects, the sequence also includes some fabulous dancing. As long as you watch it for the dancing, this movie will please you. If you watch it as a movie than you’ll be disappointed.

  • hannah-mcmahon
    hannah mcmahon

    Every now and then there’s a new movie about dancers, or dancing, or one with a lot of dancing in it. From Astaire to Kelly to Hines, it’s the poetry of motion. If you have any appreciation for the art form whatsoever, the one to see right now is Center Stage. It’s about a school year in the life of three teenage girls who are roommates at a ballet academy in New York. They pass the auditions to get into the school, but then have to work as hard as possible to move on from there. At the end of the year is a workshop performance where they can be seen by most of the people in the industry who could hire them, including the resident company. They work toward and hope for a career in the most demanding pursuit imaginable, facing gifted competition, and placed on a limited schedule. “A dancer has ten years, maybe fifteen if they’re not injured” in order to peak in their career and be the best they can ever be. A singer can sing most of their life. An actor can act all his life. A dancer’s clock is ticking. It’s only a matter of time before they can only teach and choreograph, so there’s a unique sense of urgency to start young, study hard, and survive. All that might make a good movie. Might not.Along with the good, you have to take the less than good. The characters are nothing new. There’s the naive female ingŽnue (Amanda Schull), the bad girl (Zoe Saldana), the favorite girl (Susan May Pratt), the cocky lead boy (Ethan Stiefel, “hailed as the most advanced male dancer in the world”), the nice guy dancer (Sascha Radetsky), the nice guy non-dancer (Eion Bailey), the gay friend (Shakiem Evans), the pushy mother (Debra Monk), the demanding teacher (Donna Murphy), and the dictatorial company director (Peter Gallagher). How’d he get in there? There’s even a Russian figure skater (Ilia Kulik) in the cast as a dancer. By the way, everybody is amazingly good-looking. Kind of like, Friends as done by George Ballanchine. Only in the movies, right? The story is nothing new either. Will everything work out? Will their dreams come true? Will they survive the heartbreaks of love, and the bodyaches of dance? Well, it’s the movies, isn’t it? Since the cast features some of the youngest and best dancers in the world, the acting comes second. Often a distant second. Or third. Don’t expect any awards to be handed out in that area. Some parts are surprisingly weak, but then they move on and get back to letting their feet do the talking. Did I mention that the only reason to see this is for the dancing? The way it’s filmed here is excellent, without actually having to go to a ballet. The beauty of movement, the grace of the girls, and the strength and skill of the boys is captured as well as any other movie in the subject you’re likely to see. The big dance numbers at the end are worth seeing by themselves, including more modern styles. Beforehand, there are a couple of dance scenes without ballet. The kids go to a club one night and salsa, and later we see a bunch of Broadway hoofers in a jazz class lead by Priscilla Lopez (original cast of A Chorus Line) that reminded me of scenes in All That Jazz. Those were the most fun. Other scenes will remind you of The Turning Point, White Nights, and even Dirty Dancing. The comparison to Fame is inevitable. That was then, this is a new century. The natural talent, dedication, motivation, support, and ass-busting hard work needed to succeed at this kind of life is touched on here, but also touched on is the sheer love of the game. For dance itself. That’s the main thing. E-mail and comments are welcome.

  • matthew-hudson
    matthew hudson

    A group of young dancers arrives at the ABA (American Ballet Academy) in New York to an audition. Twelve are selected to dispute the opportunity to be chosen to a workshop to have a chance to become professional dancers. Among the female dancers, the gorgeous Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull), the rebel Eva Rodriguez (Zoe Saldana) and the anorexic Maureen Cummings (Susan May Pratt) share a room and become friends. The lead dancer and choreographer Cooper Nielson (Ethan Stiefel) has a personal dispute with the director and choreographer Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher) since he married his partner and girlfriend Kathleen Donahue (Julie Kent). Along the days, there are friendship, tension, romance, frustration and many training in the lives of the participants. “Stage Center” is a film that impresses first because of the ballet dancers, most of them professionals. The screenplay with entwined storylines and the natural and powerful performances of these young and unknown actors and dancers are also highly attractive. It seems that they are indeed fighting for a chance to be recognized by Hollywood as great actors and actresses, trying to show their skills to the studios. It shows a splendid direction of the excellent Nycholas Hytner. The choreography and soundtrack are also great. Certainly it is a lovely and wonderful movie, highly indicated for fans of ‘Fame’, dance, ballet and good films. My vote is nine.Title (Brazil): “Sob a Luz da Fama” (“Under the Spotlight of the Fame”)

  • elizabeth-smith
    elizabeth smith

    Come on, I know it’s not cool to admit to liking what is essentially a cheesy teen flick. But go ahead, say it aloud – this is a fun movie! Sappy, badly acted, full of exaggerated clichés and one-liner groaners, Center Stage nevertheless has a kind of charm to it. No, it’s not an Oscar contender or a change-your-life kind of movie. This is pure escapism, plain and simple. But – say it together with me now – there’s nothing wrong with that.Amanda Schull plays Jody, a wannabe ballet dancer who gets accepted to the prestigious American Ballet Academy. The movie follows her life and that of her friends and fellow students, who fall into the predictable stereotypes. There’s Eva (Zoe Saldana), the city kid with attitude. There’s Maureen (Susan May Pratt), the teacher’s pet. There’s Erik (Shakiem Evans), the gay guy. There’s Cooper (Ethan Stiefel), the bad-boy celebrity who’s still in love with the director’s wife ballerina. There’s Charlie (Sascha Radetsky), the perfect good guy. One has the obnoxious stage mom. Another has the talent but not the drive. A third has the drive but not the talent. Etcetera. And the lives of the students take the typical high school romantic twists and turns, as the students compete for one of three spots in the company by the end of the year, and also in the various love triangles between the cast. There are few surprises here.None of the cast is much of an actor – Schull is particularly uneven – and the plot has a sort of predictability to it that make eyes roll.So why the 8/10? Well, because despite all this, Center Stage is a great amount of fun – mostly due to the dancing.By casting real dancers in a lot of the roles, Center Stage lends an air of credibility to the lavishly filmed dance sequences, clearly done with love by such talents as world-leading dancers Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel (widely considered to be one of the best ballet dancers in the world) as well as relatively new talents such as Amanda Schull. Some of the actors have body doubles dancing for them, such as Zoe Saldana – who had some dance training but not at the level required by the film. But overall, the dance scenes are the best part of the movie, especially Cooper’s ballet at the end.Some movies are great because they change your life or make you think. Center Stage is great because it’s like candy – full of saccharine sugar and empty calories, but eminently watchable over and over again. Sometimes movies don’t have to be socially relevant or intellectually stimulating to be good. Sometimes, escapism is OK too.