December 16, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

”Center Stage” is a dance movie you need to see

With its far-from-brilliant tagline of ”Life doesn’t hold tryouts,” Center Stage could have slipped, mid-pirouette, into a puddle of sap. But a captivating cast of real-deal dancers makes the story of a ballerina academy interesting and spandex appealing. Dance students (and dance-film fans) will appreciate the authenticity conveyed by veteran stage director Nicholas Hytner and naturals like dancer Ethan Stiefel, who was considered one of the world’s greatest male dancers at the time of filming. Plié that, Justin Timberlake.

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