A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.
Sara joins Julliard in New York to fulfill her and her mother's dream of becoming the Prima ballerina of the school. She befriends her roommates, Zoe and Miles, who teach hip-hop classes. ... See full summary »
A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In ... See full summary »
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. Written by
The title comes from the dancer's center of gravity, which I'm told is used to explain the difference between Russian and American dance to us non-dancers. The Russian tradition is one of capturing and controlling it; the American (since Balanchine, whose work is employed here) is to understand it and let the center `go.' And insofar as it can, that is the point of the drama employed to tie together the dance segments of this film. It is a non-trivial point, underlined by employing not actors in the key roles, but dancers who `act.' These kids are surely endearing.
Two points seem worth mentioning.
The first is the matter of dance in film. Dance is intrinsically cinematic in terms of emotion as motion. But it is too personal, too directly a matter between humans, to convey well to the funnel of film: everything squashed into an image, then given indiscriminately and undifferentiatingly to all viewers. So the cinematographer has a tough choice: what to do with the camera to increase bodily intimacy.
One, unacceptable, extreme is to stay stationary at a few points, another is to choreograph the camera so the viewer is one of the dancers. In this case, at the end at least, we have a happy medium so far as camera involvement. The camera is stationary, but often within the field of dance, and it pans. The staging of the dance was partly to the audience pictured, and partly to us, which is very clever. But it would have been nice to be more adventurous in this regard, especially since there are several choreographers in NYC who are up to the challenge, and cheap!
The second point is a matter of self-reference, which I appreciate almost without qualification when I see it.
The filmmaker gives us a bunch of young actors (actually dancers) who surprise us by effectively showing us their souls in a little love triangle drama. And the matter of their story? A bunch of young dancers who surprise the audience in the film by effectively showing their souls in a little love triangle drama. The film as summarized in the dance is a very intelligent device which I appreciated. And you will too.
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