'Center Stage: On Pointe' Features Chloe Lukasiak, Which Is Just One Way It's Inspiring For Young Dancers
Growing up as a ballet dancer, Center Stage was my absolute favorite movie — so I quite literally jumped for joy when I learned that Lifetime was making a threequel. (Center Stage: Turn It Up was released in 2008.) Cue all the nostalgia feels. What could be better? I'm glad you asked, because Dance Moms' Chloe Lukasiak stars in Center Stage: On Pointe and it's a joy to see her dancing on the small screen again. Most ballet-focused films and TV series focus on the dark side of the ballet world, but Lifetime's Center Stage: On Pointe is a fun, light-hearted departure from that formula — so it's a great movie for pre-teen and teen dancers to watch.
The dark side of the ballet world most definitely exists, but sometimes media depictions focus on this aspect so much that the positives are lost. Don't get me wrong, I've seen Black Swan more times than I can count and I watched all eight episodes of Starz's miniseries Flesh and Bone in one sitting. But my concern with these depictions is that they send the message that mental illness and emotional torment are assets to a ballerina. I'm glad that Center Stage showed a more positive side of the industry by emphasizing the importance of work ethic and showing that, although ballet is incredibly competitive, dancers can still form strong friendships and support one another even when they're vying for the same jobs.
Teen dancers will undoubtedly watch Center Stage: On Pointe with enthusiasm and the movie sends a positive and important message about working hard to succeed. It also shows that strong friendships can be formed in the dance world. Yes, the dancers in the movie are competing against one another for coveted spots — but they're also in a unique position to really understand each other because the ballet world is such a bubble and they can support one another. For example, when Allegra is late to class, Bella immediately distracts the instructor to cover for her without a second thought. She knows Allegra is hands-down the most talented dancer at the camp, but she wants to earn her spot in the company rather than get it by sabotaging someone.
Since it's a feel-good movie, not every aspect of Center Stage: On Pointe is entirely realistic. After Allegra's duet partner leaves the camp, she's no longer eligible for the final competition that will determine who gets accepted into the American Ballet Company. Bella gives up her spot so Allegra can audition, then they impulsively turn it into a trio. Improvising a trio in the middle of an audition probably wouldn't go smoothly enough to earn all three members a spot in the company, but the message that camaraderie pays off is an important one.
Young dancers will love this movie and I think it will inspire them to work hard, be kind to their competitors, and bounce back from the setbacks that all dancers experience. I love dark ballet movies as much as anyone, but Center Stage: On Pointe is an upbeat departure from that formula and I hope aspiring ballerinas take its messages to heart.
Images: Ricardo Hubbs/Lifetime (3)