I enjoy dance movies and have the first "Center Stage" on dvd. I wasn't sure what to expect from the sequel but decided to check it out when it premiered in Oxygen channel. I found myself hooked within the first 10 minutes. Kenny Wormald and Rachele Brooke Smith are attractive and talented young actors who do a great job of carrying this movie. Both actors are clearly cast for their dancing and athletic abilities, as well as their good looks, and for novice actors, they do a creditable job.
The story centers around Kate Parker (Smith) and Tommy Anderson (Wormald). Kate dreams of attending the American Ballet School in NYC but unfortunately doesn't make the cut at audition. Tommy - a former hockey player turned ballet dancer - gets in. When Tommy spots Kate at the audition, sparks fly. Dejected Kate takes a job at a bar/dance club that is owned by Tommy's friend and Tommy falls for Kate. Tommy offers to help Kate improve her ballet skills, while Kate helps Tommy improve his "hip/hop-street dance" skills. They hit it off and fall in love. Conflicts arise when Tommy's wealthy classmate Suzanne (Sarah Jensen) gets in the way and Kate is torn between her fear of rejection (as she plans to re-audition for ABS) and her dreams of being a ballerina.
If you love dance movies like "Center Stage," "Step Up" and "Save the Last Dance," then this movie is for you. The dancing is more of a blend of the first "Center Stage" and "Step Up" with ballet moves mixed in with hip-hop/street dance. Both leads are very talented and live up to the demands of the complex dance routines. Smith started out as a gymnast and it shows. She is also charming and lights up the screen with her big smile and gorgeous eyes. Wormald was a back-up dancer for Justin Timberlake and was in the reality series "Dancelife." With his brown eyes and intense stare, he is definitely swoon-worthy.
Back from the first "Center Stage" are Peter Gallagher (in the same role) and Ethan Stieffel (Cooper Nelson - now an instructor), but don't expect Amanda Schull and Sasha Radensky from the first film. In all honesty, the new leads are interesting enough to hold the story so I spent little time regretting their absence. The music blends well with the storyline and the dancing is superb.
If you're going in expecting to see a good made-for-tv movie with great dancing, attractive and talented leads and an engaging storyline, then you won't be disappointed. Think of it as "Center Stage" meets "Step Up" with a bit of "Flashdance" sprinkled in and you're all set. For my part, I enjoyed it and certainly plan to purchase the dvd when it comes out. And if they ever do release the soundtrack, then I'll be in line to buy that, too.