My favorite dance movie: Abigail Oliveiro
From Billy Elliot to Black Swan, dance has provided an intense backdrop to some of the big screen’s most emotional stories. Dancers, in turn, are inspired by films which revolve on their chosen calling. In this series, the artists of Ballet Manila share their thoughts on the dance movies that made an impact on them, that they relate to and which they have grown to love.
Hands down, the 2000 American teen flick Center Stage – set in a fictitious ballet school and starring real-life dancers – is Abigail Oliveiro’s favorite dance movie. “I can watch it over and over again,” she claims laughingly. She hastens to qualify: “But only the first Center Stage. Not the sequels.”
Directed by Nicholas Hytner, Center Stage is about a group of young dancers from various backgrounds who enroll in the fictitious American Ballet Academy in New York City. The film explores the issues and difficulties in the world of professional dance and how each individual copes with the stresses of being in it.
What Abigail likes about the movie is that it actually used professional dancers in the cast. “Julie Kent, Sascha Radetsky and Ethan Stiefel are all amazing dancers,” she describes.
She feels that the storyline is quite realistic. “Maybe that's just my fantasy. But I really like that they showed that just because a certain type of person doesn't like you doesn't mean you can't be appreciated by someone else. It doesn't mean you're worthless. That there is always something about each individual to be appreciated; it's just having the right person to bring it out in you as showed in both the director/dancer relationship and the love story in the movie.”
Abigail admits she identifies with the character of Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull). “In the sense that whilst growing up, I worked hard but wasn't as technically gifted,” she explains. “I was coordinated though and was always praised for my artistry. My technique kinda synced with me much much later in my ballet years.”
Her favorite Center Stage character, though, is that of Eva Rodriguez played by Zoe Saldana. “I became a fan of hers after! She was basically this super gifted ballet badass.”
As for her favorite scene, Abigail says it would have to be when the four dancers (Jody, Eva, Erik and Charlie) get into trouble for being sloppy in class as they were up late the previous night and they had to clean up the studios after.
“It makes me smile every time,” she shares. “Not that I ever did that! But you know it represents moments when you and your friends experience something together that you'd forever cherish. And even if there were consequences, it's something that no one can ever take away from you. No regrets involved.”
For her, the scene represents an all-important life lesson: “Take a chance to live a little.”