(Lisa is currently in the process of trying to clean out her DVR by watching and reviewing all 40 of the movies that she recorded from the start of March to the end of June. She’s trying to get it all done by the end of July 11th! Will she make it!? Keep visiting the site to find out!)
The 38th film on my DVR was Center Stage: On Pointe, which premiered on Lifetime on June 25th.
Center Stage: On Pointe is the third film in the Center Stage series. The first film, which was released in 2000, is one of those films that, at the time, you pretty much had to see if you were into ballet. The second film, Center Stage: Turn It Up, aired on the Oxygen Network in 2008 and laid much of the groundwork for what happens in On Pointe.
At the start of On Pointe, Jonathan Reeves (Peter Gallagher), the head of the American Ballet Academy, has a problem. The Academy is still doing great work but it’s not bringing in much money. Unfortunately, the ABA has developed a reputation for being stodgy. It needs to be shaken up. It needs new dancers who are going to challenge the teachers even as the teachers challenge them. Over the objections of just about everyone else at the ABA, Reeves decides that it’s time to bring modern dancers into the Academy.
Reeves and his choreographers (including Kenny Wormald’s Tommy Anderson, the male lead from Turn It Up) set out to recruit dancers to compete at a camp where the winners will be invited to join the Academy. Among those dancers: Bella Parker (Nicole Munoz). Bella is the younger sister of Kate Parker (Rachele Brooke Smith), whose story was previously told in Turn It Up. Seeking to escape from her famous sister’s shadow, Bella auditions under a false name. However, everyone immediately knows who she is. It’s not easy being Kate Parker’s sister.
The camp turns out to be absolutely beautiful (even if it did remind me a bit of Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th) but the dance world is a competitive and often unforgiving one. Not only is there tension between the ballet students and the modern dancers (and that tension is one of the most realistic aspects of the film) but one of the instructors appears to be obsessed with trying to destroy Bella. Will Bella and her fellow dancers survive the grueling camp? Will Bella ever escape her sister’s shadow? And will the ABA manage to change with the times?
You already know the answers. There’s not a surprising moment to be found in Center Stage: On Pointe but the film is well-shot, the music is great, and the dancing is amazing. Yes, some of the performances could be better but when you’ve got dancers who can move as well as the ones in this cast, it really doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the greatest actors in the world. This is a dance movie, after all. The dance scenes are amazing and that’s what is important.
(By the way, fans of Dance Moms may be interested to know that Chloe Lukasiak has a small role in Center Stage: On Pointe. And, though she may no longer be a member of ALDC, she’s still a great dancer.)