Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33
  1. Ultimately the ballet performances, and notably the work of Stiefel, a star with American Ballet Theatre, are the only moments that deserve center stage.
  2. Audiences will leave the theater ready to sign up for some dance classes themselves.
  3. Reviewed by: Ted Gideonse
    The end is predictable after the first five minutes (two, if you're smart), but the film sucks you in all the same.
  4. 80
    Grand, juicy fun regardless, tapping as it does into some archetypal pleasure center.
  5. 75
    The movie uses the materials of melodrama, but is gentle with them; it's oriented more in the real world, and doesn't jack up every conflict and love story into an overwrought crisis.
  6. Rarely has a dance movie done so many cinematic pirouettes with such a graceful sense of audience-pleasing fun.
  7. 75
    The best dance movie since "Flashdance."
  8. Reviewed by: Monica Eng
    Although the film's ending is a little too neat and happy to be realistic, it does leave you with the feeling of young girls taking charge of their lives.
  9. Sexy and infectious in spite of itself.
  10. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    There isn't a sensible reason to recommend this movie, except that its melange of clichés and conventions is embarrassingly enjoyable.
  11. Reviewed by: Moira Macdonald
    A dopey but sweet-natured I-love-to-dance film, fits nicely into the downhill-since-"The-Red-Shoes" tradition of ballet movies.
  12. Aiming to keep it real, the cast of the new dance casserole Center Stage sweats spunk.
  13. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Anybody who's ever laced on toe shoes, or wanted to, will find something to take away from Center Stage.
  14. Modestly entertaining when it is engaged in such a celebration onstage, but it trips up when the action moves backstage, where bad dialogue ... lurks in the shadows.
  15. 60
    The story is shallow stuff, but pretty entertaining until it becomes utterly preposterous.
  16. 50
    Comes off as an episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210" where, instead of spoiled rich kids, the characters are all ballet stars in the making.
  17. The strained romantic plot is a slow fizzle.
  18. 50
    The cliched script by Carol Heikkinen plays like "Dawson's Creek" in toeshoes.
  19. 50
    Has next to no story beyond some stock clichés about bulimia, stage mothers and internal affairs in the corps de ballet.
  20. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Zimmer
    Pays lip service to the seriousness of craft but won't let us watch the dancing.
  21. 50
    It's so predictable, you can set your watch to when the bulimic will sneak away to the bathroom.
  22. Reviewed by: Jan Stuart
    Only really kicks in when it is dancing, which is about half the time.
  23. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Unfortunately, Center Stage is directed and shot (by Geoffrey Simpson) in a way that doesn't let the audience feel the exhilarating pull of the dance world.
  24. As a Balanchine-like martinet, Peter Gallagher is a hoot, whispering to his minions about good and bad feet.
  25. All that artistry is surrounded by a hackish, paint-by-numbers storyline that makes the time between dance numbers seem endless.
  26. Don't like archetypes? Wait till you meet the cliches.
  27. 40
    An ounce of self-awareness about its almost gleeful use of cliches would have improved this dance soap opera.
  28. 40
    A big disappointment. It's toe-tappin' tripe aimed squarely at the undiscerning Britney Spears set.
  29. Reviewed by: Joanne Spataro
    Despite the fun dancing, sidestep Center Stage.
  30. All dancing and hugging and no good.
  31. Unlikely to receive many curtain calls.
  32. Reviewed by: Staff
    While movie reviewers like to throw around the line, "This is the worst movie I've ever seen," this movie may be the worst movie I've ever seen.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. AnnaS.
    Apr 9, 2007
    The acting is terrible, the choreography only shines in short slips of Ballanchine or MacMillan, and the cinematography during the dance The acting is terrible, the choreography only shines in short slips of Ballanchine or MacMillan, and the cinematography during the dance sequences frequently cuts annoyingly away to reaction shots of the (wooden) actors watching in the wings or the lobby. Nonetheless, the film is well worth watching for one reason, and his name is Ethan Stiefel. Widely regarded as one of the world's foremost technical artists when the film was shot, his dancing is outstanding. He steals every scene in which he appears. Fellow American Ballet Theatre alum Sasha Radetsky, playing a romantic rival, also acquits himself well onstage. Curiously, the female lead dancer is far less technically skilled than the two leading men, which lends the film an odd dynamic. In a picture where so much character exposition relies on dance, it's strange to have two men so blatently steal a number that's supposed to be about female empowerment. The too-brief appearances by Julie Kent (an ABT principal) are the only time that a fellow dancer can keep up with Stiefel, but those scenes are well worth watching. One wishes that Kent had played the female star of the film instead of the utterly unremarkable Amanda Schull, just so that we might see more of the snarky, graceful sense of humor that she brings to her small role. Full Review »
  2. EmilyB.
    Aug 20, 2001
    Fabulous from start to finish!
  3. MollyC.
    Jun 11, 2001
    This is my favorite movie. I've watched it 7 times already this week!