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  • Center Stage [VHS]
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Center Stage [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Amanda Schull, Ethan Stiefel, Sascha Radetsky, Christine Dunham, Stephen Stout
  • Directors: Nicholas Hytner
  • Writers: Carol Heikkinen
  • Producers: Caroline Baron, Laurence Mark
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • VHS Release Date: February 27, 2001
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (413 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WMDT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,595 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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The primary appeal of dance movies is the dancing, with some added emphasis on the romance the art expresses. Center Stage wins on these counts, despite its reveling in overly familiar characters and formula plotting. Or maybe this reveling is responsible for what goofy fun this film is. The arduous task of becoming a professional ballet dancer is incarnated by many good-looking teens, all stock dance-film characters affectionately portrayed mostly by newcomers. But center stage holds Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull), who may never be a great ballerina, but she's certainly one sexy jazz dancer. Then there's the arrogant genius (Ethan Stiefel), the dictatorial impresario (Peter Gallagher), the demanding instructor, the bulimic, the stage mother, etc. As we follow these characters, the message develops that one should let go and do what feels good. Jody may not be ballet material, but she scorches the stage when she's uninhibited. And that's really the fun of this movie, which is never seriously interested in ballet to begin with. One ludicrous scene depicts one of the dancers quitting because she realizes she never wanted to be a dancer to begin with but was pushed into it by her overbearing mother. She stands up to mom in the lobby of the auditorium where she's supposed to be performing, the music of her piece providing a syrupy backdrop to her little drama. When she's finished talking, she walks off to the audience's unwitting applause. The scene is so ham-handed you can't help but laugh at its audacity, if that's what it is. The rest of the film is not so overdone, but it's all fun. --Jim Gay

Customer Reviews

Great dancing great music great movie.
new mom
I really REALLY enjoyed this movie and I know if you are like me you would absolutly love it as well.
I watch this movie over and over and love it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is a movie about fresh-faced young ballet dancers who attend the American Ballet Academy and compete for a few coveted spots in the ballet company.
This is the first film for the stars, Amanda Schull, who in real life is an apprentice at the Corps de Ballet in San Francisco, and Ethan Steifel, who is the principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater and considered the best male dancer in the world. Their acting is good, but it overshadowed by their absolutely magnificent dance performances.
There's a good universal story here of the competition among the young dancers, their hopes and dreams, romances and mishaps. There's Zoe Saldana as the wisecracking rebel with an attitude who nevertheless loves to dance. There's Susan May Pratt as a bulimic who has been pressured into ballet by her mother. There are several love triangles and some surprises in the plot.
But most of all -- there is the dancing. Ah, the dancing! There's classical ballet and Latin dancing and a finale that combines elements of jazz, modern and ballet. The music is perfect for the dance pieces. And everyone is beautiful.
The film stirred longings in me to get up and dance myself, and in a way I was doing that as I completely got into watching this video. For all lovers of dance and for 117 minutes of total enjoyment, Center Stage gets a high recommendation from me.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Bundtlust TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2001
Format: DVD
I saw Center Stage once in the theatre and bought it recently on DVD. It hasn't left my DVD player, and I've probably watched it upwards of seven or eight times since. The cast is energetic and amazingly talented, the soundtrack is an excellent match to the various types of dance numbers, and the dancing itself is sublime.
I loved the extra features on this DVD, most notably the isolated soundtrack, director's commentary, deleted scenes and the extended dance sequences. The video by Mandy Moore was also a nice touch seeing as it uses footage of the cast of Center Stage and is an excellent song on its own.
The isolated soundtrack works well with the workshop numbers as well as the club scene. The commentary by Nicholas Hytner was interesting as well--for example, the NY skyline in the dance studio was simply a very large transparency. He also addresses technical aspects of shooting dancers and the infamous dance studio mirrors. There are only two deleted scenes: one of Cooper at a rehearsal for "Stars and Stripes" as he chats with Joan Miller, and one where Charlie performs a solo number in rehearsal, featuring stunning footwork and a playful mood.
The extended dance sequences flow much more smoothly without the constant cuts to the rather bored-looking audience, allowing the footwork and energy to shine through uninterrupted.
Although quips have been made regarding the acting abilities of the mostly dance-oriented cast, I thought that everyone involved did an outstanding job. This has to be my favourite movie of the last five years or so.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Only-A-Child VINE VOICE on November 28, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are thinking about watching "Center Stage", you should first read the plot summary and view the trailer. If neither impresses, you would be wise to give "Center Stage" a wide berth because they are very accurate representations of the film. The story is fairly simple, the focus is on three girls who aspire to a position with the fictional American Ballet Center in New York City. Well, they sort of aspire. The bulimic one (Maureen) is only doing it because her mother is pushing her, the girl next door one (Jody) is wondering if the company is too restrictive, and the angry one (Eva) is considering getting work as a Hooters waitress instead. Eva's seemingly bad attitude disguises the fact that she actually has the best attitude, she is there because she loves to dance.

There is a love triangle between Jody and two guys, she sleeps with the one she loves (Cooper), he does not love her but he gives her the female lead in a ballet he has choreographed. He gives the male lead to the guy who loves her. Coincidentally Cooper's ballet is about a similar love triangle.

This is not exactly new territory, think "Flashdance", "Fame", and "Brave New Girl". Don't expect Fellini's "Variety Lights". The plot is painfully contrived but the saving grace is the wonderful dancing and the realistic portrayal of the grind of dance school. The DVD has a ton of nice special features including extended dance sequences.

The acting is nonprofessional but the director knows the limitations of his ensemble and does not ask them to do anything very difficult, at least acting-wise. The movie is full of mild melodrama, but stays nicely real life and doesn't amp the conflicts and love stories into an overwrought mess.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2000
Format: DVD
I don't know if it's because I've been a ballet dancer since the age of three or if it's because this movie was so amazing. You never hear what goes on behind the scenes, the bloody toes, eating disorders,etc. It's not all the glitz and glam it's cracked up to be. This movie portrays the struggle of a young women trying to make it as a professional ballet dancer and along the way encounters a few romantic, and family struggles. Out of the many things that make this movie so great, knowing that the actors aren't just actors but dancers too so you know there aren't any stunt doubles.I highly recomend viewing and purchasing this movie, if not purchasing, at least add it to your "wish-list" !
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