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The Sault Star from Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada • 20

The Sault Stari
Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada
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Extracted Article Text (OCR)

B6 THE SAULT STAR THURSDAY JUNE 8 2000 Entertainment Dance it hurts: director takes honest look at world of ballet ByJAMEPORTMAN SoUhamNewpapai to cast actors who know what dance Hytner says that without outstanding Eg dancers he would never have able to bring off the two new ballets one choreographed by award-winning Susan Stroman the other by New York City Christopher Wheeldon which form the films dimax Hcwevet he also found it personall stimulating to woik with the likes of youthful American Ballet Theatre superstar Ethan Sriefd and 21-year-old Amanda Schull who has just landed a job in the corps of San Eranris-co Ballet Dance injuries are part of theworid depicted in this film So is the ruthlessness of a selection process that sees too many young aspirii for too few professional places He cites the case of SdiulTs character a dedicated young student named Jodie who lacto the right foot and body structure A more conventional script anxious to fulfil the fantasies of audience members would have ho1 triumphing and making it into the company against all odds This doesn't happen in Center ITUMO PHOTO IN A CASE OF ART imitating life American Ballet Theatre star Ethan Stlefel plays the most acclaimed male dancer In the country Cooper Nellson In Center Sfega NEW YORK If the end of a long day of rehearsals A young dance student wearily removes ho- ballrt slippers and discovers that her feet are Weeding Many audience members encountering this moment in the movie Center Stage refuse to believe that it could hap-i in real life' convinced die i are exaggerating But these moviegoers are wrong fleet bleed all the time" says director Nicholas Hytner feet are a total mess A dancer I know in London once explained to me what dancing on point feels Eke She said it was like having your toes permanently crushed by two bricks" Although Centre Stage's main purpose is to entertain the famed British director also believes it has succeeded in accurately depicting die world of the dancer in all its triumph and 1 whole aim was to do it as an entertainment piece hopefully for as broad and as young an audience as Hytner says by phone from London I also think that what these dancers do is so extraordinary and so admirable I find it so moving I hope that what we have done is to make it exciting for moviegoers who would never imagine they might be interested in dancing" But Hytner an internationally renowned stage director whose body of work ranges from Shakespeare to Miss Saigon also wants audience members to understand the staggering degree of dedication and sacrifice required for a career in ballet movie output includes The Madness of King George The Crucible and The Object of My Affection reached the paint where he could work full time in film but he emphasizes that will never happen In fed he finds something off-putting about a lot of movie actors need to go back to the theatre all the time I could never leave the theatre dents and the countdown to the crucial peifonnance day which will determine whether they win a place in a major ballet company Hytner shunned conventional ytxmgincwie actors for these roles and instead opted for genuine dancers with acting ability He admits going the star route might have ensured better box-office He also says that to get his way he had to do a selling job on studio homes were extremely nervous over the way I wanted to cast the film and they fought me about it but in the end they totally supported me From their point of view it was an enormous step to take to cast a film like this entirely with dancers who have no movie profile at aU But I frit there was no point for me unique about young people who take up dancing folly aware of a physical toQ so immense dial they frequently have to hang up their dance shoes by the time 40 a degree of commitment and a degree of selfless pride and a degree of determination to be good for its own sake that is completely foreign to the kids who hang around LA waiting to be movie stars Ifs a completely different kind of life I think so much chaos and so much importance attached to fame and fortune yet none of these people are after Hytner was prepared to wage batde with Columbia Pictures to ensure the right tone for a film that follows thefts tunes of a group of young dance stu- "Tve worked intimately with dancers throughout my career Once you set up die idea that something wrong with your body or feet it would be inconceivable to me that these ptoNems would mysteriously disappear and die would make it into a ballet company that disapproves of her body type with all these dedicated commit dancers It made me realize that the important thing is to wok as much 8spos-sible with people who have a vocation rather than a Then he adds tartly: levies are foil of career people not vocation Hytner finds something special and in the first: don't ballet happen iil obebrutaV hi companies They have to be BoohmNmo iHwiwwwiii It A2314J (ter (lt? CTZSs iZSTtlz 0 -ST tlsJSE 4) tSisis) vacMUit? la A J--- 5 if.

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