” Conserve The Last Dance” Turns 20: E! News Rewind
Realities: If you ever slipped on a leotard and leggings in the mid-to-late ’90 s, there’s a strong chance you either wanted to resemble Spotlight‘s Jody Sawyer ( or Zoe Saldana‘s Eva Rodriguez, TBH, our vote for the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy) or Sara Johnson, the Chicago ballerina with big Juilliard dreams.
Made throughout Julia Stiles‘ effective teenager film run (which accompanied her modern-retelling-of-a-popular- William– Shakespeare– play stage), 2001’s Conserve the Last Dance— which dropped rural Sara into a central city Chicago high school, where she naturally finds love with the one(!) successful Black male trainee, played by Sean Patrick Thomas— spent 2 weeks at the top of the box office, moving then-Columbia University freshman Stiles to the heights of ubiquity.
As the Black characters struggle with hardship, teenage being a parent and gang violence, privileged fish-out-of-water Sara connects with Thomas’ Derek, a senior with Georgetown ambitions who happens to be the sole Black male in the movie with an appealing future. And when their interracial love is challenged, Sara is painted as a victim, glossing over the other characters’ extremely real beef with the situation.
However the MTV Movies launch did gift us with lots of dance numbers to invest hours remembering, a solid soundtrack ( Pink‘s “You Make Me Sick,” Ice Cube‘s “You Can Do It,” K-Ci and JoJo‘s “Crazy”) and the important lesson that we ought to never ever leave our s– t on the flooring.
Plus, it introduced the world to an unknown Kerry Washington as Derek’s sister Chenille, who challenged Sara when she brushed off any reference of her intrinsic white benefit by boldly stating, “There’s just one world, Chenille.” Uhhhhh … As Chenille put it, ” That’s what they teach you. We understand different.”
So there are parts that are still slammin’.
And with the 20 th anniversary of the Jan. 12 release upon us, we’re ready to dust off our best STEPPS-worthy relocations and dance in circles. Probably around you. Here’s whatever you might have ignored the 2001 flick.