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Center Stage Controversy - I object!


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39 replies to this topic

#16 BalletNut

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Posted 23 June 2002 - 12:08 PM

My main beef with Center Stage is that I found Jonathan's boring, stick-in-the-mud, ivory tower ballet to be better choreographed and more interesting than Cooper's exciting and hip real-world ballet. Also, if Jody Sawyer's physique and technique are so substandard, why on earth did she get admitted to what was supposed to be the finest ballet school in the country?

It was interesting, though, that when the ballet mistress was addressing the other students in the film, she called them by the names of the real-world dancers portraying them: e.g. " Relax your fingers, Janie" to Janie Taylor; " This is a chasse, not a tombe, Pascale" to Pascale van Kipnis, and " Beautiful, Aesha" to Aesha Ash.

#17 dufay

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Posted 16 August 2002 - 09:25 AM

Speaking of the ABT documentary- which I have watched nth times thru the years, and always find entertaining- who is the very young dancer being offered a contract before she finishes school? I can't see from the angle.

#18 Guest_Little Swan_*

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Posted 22 June 2002 - 04:04 PM

Cabriole- what exactly is this ABT documentary? And is it currently available? Sounds very interesting.....:)

#19 Cabriole

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Posted 22 June 2002 - 05:07 AM

My teen/adult beginning classes were packed after Center Stage (and Save the Last Dance) came out. We were even moved to the large studio, replacing the hip-hop class:D True, many only lasted one semester, but many have stayed on (I remember this also happening after Turning Point).

Personally, I prefer Wiseman's documentary of ABT: the truer sense of tedium, fatigue that we know to be 'company life'. Also, to be able to hold onto Ulysses Dove a bit longer and watch Ms. DeMille fight to remain choroegraphically vibrant despite the odds.

#20 Cabriole

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Posted 23 June 2002 - 04:51 AM

Film is called Ballet by E. Wiseman. I know my local PBS station aired it a few years ago. You might want to check with your local library.

#21 LMCtech

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Posted 19 June 2002 - 02:42 PM

My biggest complaint was not that it wasn't realistic (actually some stuff was, some wasn't), it's that the dancing wasn't very good or very ample. Julie Kent and Ethan Steifel were not shown at their best in the tiny amounts of dance footage that was shown, and the student dancers were also not shown very well either. If you are going to make a dance movie, please don't film the dancers from the shoulders up the whole time. Frustrating. Show me the DANCING!

#22 LMCtech

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Posted 22 August 2002 - 04:29 PM

I'm going to say this again: it was a mediocre movie. It was a one dimensional movie about a three dimensional world. I was severely disappointed in the choreography above all else. I was amused by that whole Kent/Steifel/ artistic director love triangle gone horribly sour. That was actually the only part that rang true to me.

And I disagree that a movie about what a dancer's life is really like would be boring. You just have to pick the right dancer.

#23 LMCtech

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Posted 28 August 2002 - 06:04 PM

Actually I was just thinking that "Dancing on my Grave" would make an excellent trashy movie. they wouldn't really have to "spice" it up or "dumb it down". It's kind of already there.

#24 dmdance

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 01:45 PM

I need to voice an opinion about Billy Elliot being that the movie was already mentioned. I don't think that it ever meant to be about serious ballet training. It never pretended or tried to be that. It was about a boy and his joy in and passion for dance. It was also about a family struggling through arduous economical. personal, and political times. On those terms, I found it to be an excellent movie. Perhaps not every movie that has dancing in it needs to be filtered through our elitist "ballet" minds. Just a thought. I couldn't "keep my mouth shut."

#25 sylvia

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Posted 24 June 2002 - 08:02 AM

I enjoyed Centre Stage for a while, though it's so cheesy and simple I sure got tired quickly.

Billy Elliot I could watch over and over. I think it's a wonderful story. It makes me want to be 10 again, when you could have all that potential, that genius to go in any direction you want. And it makes me wonder what on earth I was doing at age 10 - watching tv no doubt!

#26 sylvia

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Posted 06 July 2002 - 04:56 PM

Oh, there was no way I was going to let this thread end on that post! Billy Elliot is one of the most touching and inspiring movies I've ever seen! Ed, do see the movie - you may be surprised. Trailers can be so misleading. The movie never makes Billy out to be odd because he's a useless boxer and likes ballet. Rather he is very ordinary, but what separates Billy is his big talent and dreams and the movie is about not letting family or circumstance hold you back from your potential. It's the people around him that see him as a bit of an oddball but they have their own quirks (so ultimately all differences are celebrated as being ordinary) and their harsh judgements are realistic ones anyway.

On your last point, I know it's not the same but we did have this British tv programme called 'Faking It'. It's a series testing people's ability to completely change their identities. Kasper Cornish a ballet dancer from London had just one month to transform himself into an aggressive wrestler and take on the former NWA World Champion in front of a paying audience and a panel of professional judges. I think he was successful-ish, but wrestling wasn't really for him and he went right back to ballet.

#27 piccolo

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Posted 25 July 2002 - 02:48 PM

Ballet movies are to me what Star Trek movies and shows are to a Trekkie. I don't care if it's good or bad, I'm going to go see it. Sometimes, it's good. Sometimes, it's bad. Sometimes the story sucks but you get treated to a few minutes of exquisite dancing. At least it's out there for the general public to see.

#28 BW

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 02:30 PM

Ah yes, The Turning Point - I have to say that I always did like it...but I felt sorry for Anne Bancroft's character... kind of made ballet vs family an either or type of thing. :(

OK dmdance, I'm going to hop on here and say that I loved Billy Elliot and for all the reasons that you've already stated!! :D

As for Center Stage, I enjoyed it, my daughter and her ballet friends all enjoyed it... Although I "hear" all the negatives that have been posted, I still thought it was entertaining - motorcycle and all. :) If any nondancers did see it, I think they would come away with more of an appreciation for the athleticism and hard work involved in ballet - and that alone would be a major plus, in my opinion. :)

#29 ballet_shalom_forever

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Posted 19 June 2002 - 06:58 AM

A lot of dancers seem to dislike the movie "center stage" because it portrayes the ballet world in a fake, unrealistic way.

They have all the "ingredients" for a politically correct ballet movie - the girl that really wants to dance but isn't 'what companies look for' (Jody Sawyer), the womanising dancer (Cooper - Ethan Steifel), the gay dancer (Erik), the dancer who's ben pushed into ballet by her pushy stage mom and is amazing but doesn't 'have the heart' (Maureen) and the gum chewing"rebel" (Eva) who just doesn't know how to suck up to the ballet master. Oh yes, and the girl who kick kicked out because she was getting too big.

Yet a lot of people (especially dance people) critised it for being not realistic enough and not showing things the way they really are, although that seemed the main goal of the film considering the type of characters (all common examples of dancers in the ballet world).

Even though I agree the movie was unrealistic in terms of showing the reall, hard stuff, one must consider, would a viewer actually want to see a movie about a day/month/year on the life of a dancer? Would anyone really watch if all the footage was of dancers massaging, sore, bleeding feet? I know I wouldn't! They showed Jody's feet at the end of a practice session which gave the viewer a glimpe into what's it like to dance on pointe and i think that was more than enough.
Besides, do you want some one attenting your performance to think "that poor dancer!" or "wow what a great piece and what a great dancer!".

I know not everyone hates Center Stage but just giving another opinion to the people who do.

thanks for reading,
Ballet_sh
:)

#30 ballet_shalom_forever

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Posted 21 June 2002 - 09:29 AM

I haven't seen Billy Elliot but usually the films critics like tend to be not as entertaining. Even the male dancers I know didn't like it (and that is something bceause I assumed most of them would be grateful that a movie "in their honor" was shot).

As for the dancing on CS, what I tought was unoriginal was the was Ethan's character made a ballet entirely on his affair with Jody's character it wasn't very creative, and the dancer who played Jody Sawyer actually can't do that many fouette's, that's why they showed her close up on the last ones. She is a pretty young dancer, so I'm not critisising her, but I think they should have taken a few more days to shoot so she could get the time to nail them, OR simply let her do less. I don't know it just bothers me hehe.

Thanks for your replies!

Ballet_sh


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