Center Stage

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Director(s): Nicholas Hytner
Production: Columbia Pictures
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
115 min

And one.

Heel forward.


That's right. Shoulders down.

And brush.

- Do you know how many they take?

- Usually no more than 12.

- Twelve? Out of this class?

- Out of the whole planet.

In the middle. Number 15.

Not enough turnout. Bad feet.

But look at her.

- Excuse me!

- You're excused.

Here we go.

Am I a bad mother

if I hope she doesn't get it?

Don't ask me.

I was against this from the start.

- Mom!

- Jody!

Mom, I got in.

- I made it.

- Wonderful, honey.

Can you believe it? I'm going to New York.

What happened?

- They didn't take you?

- No.

No? Those bastards.

Not, "No, they didn't". No, they did.

Do you know who went there?

Everyone who matters in American ballet.

The school feeds right into the company.

But there's no guarantee

you'll make the company, right?

And you could still dance in college, honey.

Indiana has a great dance program.

This is the best thing

that's ever happened to me.

I don't think it would kill you

to at least pretend to be happy.

It's a scholarship. Everybody gets one.

It's the only way they can get people to go.

- When are you going to start?

- I don't know. Maybe I won't go.

What are you saying?

What are you going to do instead?

I could work at the new Hooters.

- As what?

- You do not have the rack.

I'll get implants!

- You need a hand?

- No.

- No?

- I mean, no, thank you.



I'm Eva Rodriguez. How you doing?

- Jody Sawyer. Fine. I'm new here.

- Me, too. I took the top.

This is good.

- You know who I saw on my way in?

- Who?

Cooper Nielson.

Yeah? Did he seem as cocky

in person as he is on TV?

It freaks me out that we'll be seeing

people like him around all the time.

You get used to it.

I'm Maureen. I guess I'm living with you.

Don't sound so excited.

I'm Jody.

- Nice to meet you.

- This is Eva.

What are you doing?

I'm knitting a sweater.

If you want to smoke,

you have to go outside.

Fine. I'll go outside. Are you coming?

- Bye, Maureen.

- Bye.

- Erik Jones.

- How you doing, Erik?

My stage name is Erik O. Jones,

after Oprah. She's my idol.

Eva Rodriguez, after no one.

An individual. I like it.

I'm Jody Sawyer.

We were going to smoke. Want to come?

Come downstairs. It's Marlboro Country.

- So, Serge...

- Sergei, Sergei.

Who's the babe?

- It's my girlfriend, Galina.

- Don't get him started.

She was here all four years with me

and now dances with San Francisco Ballet.

- You've been here for four years?

- Yeah.

So you know this Maureen chick

we're living with?

You're living with Maureen?

- Well, good luck.

- Big-time b*tch?

Biggest time. And of course,

she has the best technique in the school.

She's been here since she was nine.

Is this the right room?

If it's not, I'm staying anyways.

No argument here, baby.

- You're Charlie? You're in the right place.

- Excellent.

That's Sergei, Jody, Eva,

I'm Erik, and you're cute.

- Long trip?

- From Seattle.

My girlfriend dumped me

for leaving her there.


Would the new students

raise your hands, please?

Which of you was the best dancer

in the last class he or she took?

Come on.

It's a heady thing, isn't it? Being the best.

Teachers dote on you.

Other students ask for your help.

And an aura builds

and then you get accepted into ABA.

And whether or not you admit it,

you start thinking...

...soon you'll be doing Giselle

before packed houses at Lincoln Center.

For most of you, that will never happen.

I say this to help you clarify

your expectations for the year ahead.

If you work harder every day

than you've ever worked in your life...

...this school will turn you into

the best dancer you can possibly be.

That may or may not be the kind of dancer

I have room for in the company.

At best, I can take

three boys and three girls.

I'll watch you carefully

over the coming months.

But I won't make any decisions

till I see how you dance in the workshop... the end of the year.

They won't be easy decisions to make

because you're all very talented.

You wouldn't be here if you weren't.

Thank you for bringing your gifts

to our community.

I wish you all a very good year.

I hope he doesn't think

that was inspirational.

One more thing.

Next week's the company gala. We always

invite advanced students to attend...

...and then help at the party afterwards.

I expect you all to be there.

- And you are?

- Eva Rodriguez.

So glad you could fit us

into your busy schedule, Eva.

No sweat.

All right, ladies, we'll start with plis.

First position. Demi and stretch.

Demi and stretch.

Full grand pli. And return.

Port de bras forward.

Full port de bras back.

The same in second,

fourth and fifth positions...

...and then we'll rise

and take a balance in fifth.

Yes? Let's begin. Steven?

Relax those fingers, Janie.

Very nice, Maureen.

Pull those ribs in. Really support.

Nice long lines, ladies.

Put the energy coming up over your heads.

- What's your name, dear?

- Jody Sawyer.

You need to concentrate on your turnout.

From the hip.

We have a dress code here.

Black leotard, pink tights.


No gum.

Get your hair off your face.

Dvelopp cart.

Change to effac.

Pli. Tendu. Lift the leg, first arabesque.

Maureen, will you show us, please?

Now, look at Maureen's arms.

They're perfectly supported

from underneath, not above.

Not wilting at her sides

like dead chicken wings.

She's so good.

Yeah, just ask her.

And one.

Really extend that front leg. Yes.

Ready, second group.

Where did she come from?

Softer landing, ladies, please.

Anna, eyes off the mirror, please.

Thank you.

Watch where you're going, sweetheart.

We don't carry collision insurance.

Who let that disaster in here?

I swear I'm better than that.

I'm just really nervous.

Don't sweat it.

First day never counts. Okay?

Everything counts here.

One and hip.

Fresh meat.

In the middle.

- And one. Good. Not bad.

- Cute. Who is he?

Charlie, from Seattle.

We only met him yesterday.

Is he gay or straight?


Hey, you guys. Look.

Hi, girls.

Maureen, Anna.

Hi, Kathleen.

- That was Kathleen Donahue, wasn't it?

- Yes.

The Kathleen Donahue.

Oh, my God. She's beautiful.

Well, I think she looks kind of like a gerbil.


She does.

She just married Mr. Reeves, right?

Wait a minute. She married the director?

- Now I get it.

- Yeah. This summer. It was a scandal.

She had been with Cooper a few years.

Then out of nowhere she tells him

she's leaving him for Jonathan Reeves.

No one even knew of their affair.

Cooper throws a huge fit in rehearsal

in front of the company. Calls her a slut.

It was unbelievable.

Then he drags his broken heart

to London to dance for the season.

Where rumour has it, he drinks like a fish

and screws every girl in tights.

- He's back, you know.

- I know.

I heard he hasn't spoken to anyone.

He talked to me.


He offered to help me with my bags.

Bob, it's a benefit.

If I give you an extra seat,

I'm taking money from the company.

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Carol Heikkinen

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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