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Center Stage

By Luisa F. Ribeiro | Posted

Perhaps one shouldn't quibble about anything that so enthusiastically showcases the classical art of ballet to young people, but Center Stage is so calculated and been-there-danced-that you'd be better off locking the kids in a room with a video of 1948's exquisite The Red Shoes. The dancing here is worthwhile--several cast members are on loan from the American Ballet Theatre--but between pirouettes, watch out. Carol Heikkinen's trite, hackneyed script follows six students accepted into the fictitious American Ballet Academy who come under the grueling tutelage (the only kind of tutelage there is in the world of dance, it seems) of academy head Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher). The students are all types--the insecure but determined blond, the smart-ass, the covert bulimic, the token gay, and the competing American and Russian studs, all with burgeoning talent and bursting hormones--and they're put through paces far too reminiscent of Fame and The Turning Point. Each time the nonactors stumble painfully over their lines, you really just wish they'd shut up and dance.

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