Amanda Schull in ‘Center Stage’


If you missed the boat on the 2000 dance drama Center Stage, let us give you a brief rundown. This piece of cinematic gold follows a crew of freshman dancers at the fictional American Ballet Academy, focusing on one Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull): a small-town girl in the big city, fighting for her chance to become the greatest prima ballerina since Margot Fonteyn. You have your token anorexic and “fat” girls, a bad-boy ballerino (that really should be a term), a not-too-shabby-looking best friend vying for our heroine’s affection, a fiery Boston-bred badass (a.k.a. the big-screen debut of Zoe Saldana), and the actor best known as Sandy Cohen (The O.C., we miss you!). The school year culminates in a career-making (or -breaking) performance in front of a sold-out Lincoln Center audience. This, of course, is part of the third act (spoiler alert): a dance choreographed to "Canned Heat" by Jody’s sometimes-lover, the often confusing and always-brooding Cooper Nielson, in which Jody stuns the crowd, literally changing outfits with the pan of a camera and pirouetting until the curtain drops! Dance Moms, we get it. Jody's transformation from a quiet ballerina with bad feet to hot shit left us Googling “ballet class, nyc” so we too could become a prima ballerina.

Now, we may not have Jody's moves—taking Broadway Dance Center’s Beginners Ballet class solidified that fact—but we can cop her nearly flawless, now-that’s-an-ending beauty look.

Let's take it from the top (by which we mean her hair). The classic ballet bun is shellacked to unfathomable tightness, but Center Stage did not miss the opportunity to cash in on the twisted-coif trend of the early aughts (anyone else remember being painfully jealous of Missy’s ‘do at the Toro’s cheerleading tryouts in Bring It On?). Jody’s chignon features star-quality cornrows and a cascade of scarlet ribbons. To get the twist, we suggest using three to four pumps of Bumble and bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil while your hair is still wet, followed by a combination toweling and air drying. (If you have curly hair, a quick blow-dry with a round brush could be of service, but straight perfection is not priority here.) Jody sports a left part, but the depth and side of your part will work any way you want to rock it. Pull out an inch-wide section of hair with a fine-toothed comb and, starting at the hairline, twist in toward your part. Holding the twist tightly against your scalp, bobby pin each one at the crown, then twist the ends into a traditional bun. Once secured, remove any unsightly bobby pins and give a spritz of Oribe’s Shine Light Reflecting Spray. Optional: a combination of sheer and solid satin shoulder-length ribbon. At the very least, they’ll add a bit of bounce to your stride.

Jody’s face is all about an even, powdered finish. Start with a simple moisturizer, followed by your usual primer, concealer, and (light) foundation of choice. Top it all off with Make Up For Ever’s Super Matte Loose Powder in your natural hue (or even one shade lighter). Avoid any highlighter, contouring, or heavy blush.

For the eyes, keep in mind that Jody is dressed for the stage. Everything is exaggerated so that even the bleacher creatures can admire her style. We recommend subduing her not-quite-black smoky eye and, like Jody, keeping the shadow on the top lid, venturing a bit above the eye crease and into the lower waterline. Both Lancôme’s Midnight Rush Color Design Palette or Tom Ford’s Eye Color Quad in Titanium Smoke are great shadow combos that will allow a spectrum of intensities in black or blue. Top off with a coat of Yves Saint Laurent’s Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils.

A defined brow is necessary to balance Jody’s bold eye and lip, but don’t go overboard here. A few strokes of MAC’s Veluxe Brow Liner should do the trick.

Center Stage's final dance is about being an independent woman, taunting and teasing the numerous men vying for your attention, so pucker up!  Borrow Jody’s nothing-says-sex-appeal-like-ruby-red lip by drawing a clean line around your mouth with a Jungle Red Lip Liner Pencil from Nars and filling it in with Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in 400 The Red. 

To complete the homage, a red dress and red (dancing) shoes will be required.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Denise

    Thanks for this. Center Stage is my favourite dance movie of all time!

  • Lindsay Sue

    Maybe the best ITG post EVER.

  • Heather P.

    I'm not sure I want to admit that I was obsessed with this movie...but I watched it so many times it's kind of embarassing!

  • Sequin Doll

    I LOVED Center Stage back in the day. I took up dancing again after that movie ha.

  • Astrid

    Every time I watch Center Stage I feel like I'm watching Chiara Ferragni, they look so much alike!

    • Kim

      That's who she looks like! I always thought she looked familiar!

  • Lavang

    I still have my VHS copy!

    • Sarita

      Same here! I had to go out and buy the DVD some years back, and now it freezes at the scene after the big gala dinner when we first find out about Cooper Nielsen and Kathleen. I guess this means a new DVD is in order!

  • Katherine

    I absolutely love Center Stage! It's such a great and underrated movie, and Jody definitely looks great throughout it


  • sashi

    beyond the ballet scenes, the best is when she sneaks off to take a FUN dance class and runs into Cooper! And they warm up to Red Hot Chili Peppers! So rebellious, haha. The dance movie is miles more fun than dumb Black Swan.

  • Faran

    My most favorite dance movie! Now if only we could figure out how to switch our toe-shoes from pink to red... in mid-performance. <3 <3 <3

    PS: I am the best goddamn dancer at the american school of ballet. Who the hell are you? Nobody!

  • 안지 ☀

    I so love this movie! I think my next pair of pointe shoes will be bright red and not classic pink ;)

  • Katy

    I was completely obsessed with this movie! great choice ITG.

  • Julianna

    best movie EVER. Fell asleep to it every night during my teen years. Can recite every word AND do all of the choreography, which is either horrifying or amazing. thanks for posting about center stage!! xxx

  • Ava

    This is the best. I loved that final dance scene... She looks like Jennie Garth in her early 90210 days!

    • Helen

      She really does look like Jennie Garth and she totally "chooses herself" at the end of the dance!

  • Randi

    This movie is everything.

  • Nathalie

    That was my favorite movie while growing up and I can't believe how it changed my life! I was having dance classes since a little girl and when I watched it made me sign up for a classical ballet program... I graduated, danced all over my country and even taught ballet for young girls for a few years :)

  • Chelsea

    Amazing post ITG! I loved this movie so much growing up, and I'm so glad you reminded me of it!

  • Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie

    LOVED this post. Just had to include in my weekly Links You'll Love round-up


MAC Veluxe Brow Liner
Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil
Oribe Shine Light Reflecting Spray
Make Up For Ever Super Matte Loose Powder Translucent Natural
Lancome Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette Midnight Rush
Tom Ford Beauty
Tom Ford Beauty Eye Color Quad Titanium Smoke
Nars Lip Liner Pencil in Jungle Red
Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro

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