Comparative essay between save the last dance and centerstage

Caitlin Reilly 11/12/06 Comparative Paper between Save the Last Dance and Center Stage Center Stage and Save the Last Dance are both films that use dance as a major component of the plot. Center Stage use dance as not only a career, but as a way of life, while Save the Last Dance uses dance as more of a form of self-expression. Center Stage uses mostly a ballet based form of dance with some infusion of jazz in the mix, whereas the dance in Save the Last Dance is based more on hip-hop and contemporary dance with some ballet thrown in here and there. The reasons that those styles were used are because they serve very different purposes. Ballet tells stories, such as Swan Lake etc., it is used for that purpose. There are instances where ballet is used to express ones opinion but always through story. Hip-hop and contemporary dance express one’s opinions without the basis of a story. They are used to illustrate sexual desires, or moods such as anger or fear. Center Stage the dance is used to illustrate the choreographer’s opinion or story rather than the dancer’s. The dance may illustrate a relationship between a dancer and a choreographer when in actuality the relationship is between the two dancers. The choreography in Save the Last Dance illustrates the opinion of both the choreographer and the dancer because in most cases seen throughout the film the two are the same person. In both movies dance is used as a conflict however its role in the conflict varies between the two movies. Julia Stile’s character is trying to escape dance throughout most of the film and then stops running from it and embraces her talent near the end. All of the characters in Center Stage are trying to use dance to make a living. Never at one point do they every run away from dance or avoid it. The conflict of dance in this movie is their desire to make the dance company, whereas in Save the Last Dance Julia Stiles is trying to be accepted into Julliard.