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Dance! It’s the 20th anniversary of ‘Center Stage’

The finale of the movie "Center Stage"
This iconic final dance scene from the movie “Center Stage” features Ethan Stiefel (left), Amanda Schull (center) and Sascha Radetsky.
(Barry Wetcher)

With much of the arts moving to online and streaming platforms, here’s a look at a weekly standout:

My pick: American Ballet Theatre celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 2000 film “Center Stage” with a fundraising event titled “Up Close and ‘Center Stage’.”

Why: Let’s not pretend “Center Stage” is a brilliant movie or anything — it’s a predictable teen romance with a 42 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

But it’s a movie that takes place in the world of ballet, and because of that, “Center Stage” has evolved into one of the most beloved dance movies of all time. Or as pop culture site Vulture puts it, “arguably the defining dance movie of its generation.”

The film is set at the fictional American Ballet Academy. But its boarding school premise is modeled after New York City Ballet’s real-life, prestigious training program at the School of American Ballet. And it stars actual dancers from American Ballet Theatre (ABT), namely Ethan Stiefel, Sascha Radetsky and Julie Kent.

Though it’s full of cliche teen drama and expected shots of bruised ballet feet, the movie also has truly excellent and authentic moments of dance, including the iconic final number featuring dancer Amanda Schull in a red dress and matching red pointe shoes.

So in honor of its 20th anniversary, ABT is celebrating with a reunion and fundraiser. Schull, Stiefel and Radetsky will be joined by co-star Zoe Saldana and other special guests to reminisce about their time at American Ballet Academy and reflect on the impact the movie made on the ballet world. The event will be moderated by CNN’s Poppy Harlow.

(And if you’re looking to stream “Center Stage” before the reunion, it’s available to rent on Amazon.)

Find it: The event will be livestreamed for free at 4:30 p.m. (PST) Tuesday, Sept. 1 on ABT’s YouTube page. An exclusive Zoom reception begins at 3:15 p.m. with tickets starting at $150.


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