Center Stage: Turn It Up is headed your way on DVD this month—Ethan Stiefel and his motorcycle included! The film follows Kate Parker (newcomer Rachele Brooke Smith) on her quest for acceptance into the American Ballet Academy. But when she doesn’t get in, she gets her dance fix at a local nightclub, where she earns the attention of ABA heartthrob Tommy (Dancelife’s Kenny Wormald). He helps her rediscover her love for classical dance—and ABA—much to the dismay of ABA superstar Suzanne Von Stroh (Hairspray’s Sarah Jayne Jensen), who has her own dreams of dancing a pas de deux with Tommy.
We caught up with Sarah Jayne to chat about her experience in the film.
Dance Spirit: You’re the ultimate prima ballerina in this flick. How’d you get the gig?
Sarah Jayne Jensen: My mother owned a dance school, so I grew up in the studio. I loved ballet and how hard it was. No matter how great you are, you can always be better. When my agent called me about Center Stage, I instantly felt like I’d need to be perfect in it. I know the kind of talent that’s out there today, and I hadn’t danced in a while. But I swallowed my pride and did the best I could.
DS: How hard was it getting back in shape for the role?
SJJ: It took so much discipline and hard work. There were days that it hurt to stand. You’re shooting a scene, then the director calls cut and you wait around while they reset. Your feet swell and you want so badly to take off your pointe shoes, but you can’t. DS: What’s your favorite scene in the film?
SJJ: After the auditions, when the list of who was accepted into the school is posted. They really captured the audition process. You work so hard and do the best you can at auditions, but in the real world, you have to grow a thick skin and learn that every experience makes you stronger. I hope that when dancers see the film they see that, if you want something bad enough, you can have it. You have to put in the time, but if you’re motivated and work hard, you can do it, no matter what anybody else tells you.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I'm actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn't my flexibility translate to turnout?
The dark, deeply personal video is Yang's coming-out moment. We see Yang being rejected by his family, condemned by a preacher, and attacked by a hostile mob after attempting to express himself as a gay man. Though not a professional dancer (as we found out in "The Try Guys Try Ballet"), Yang is a gifted mover; he choreographed the project himself, and gathered a group of talented performers to bring the story to life.