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Center Stage's Cooper Neilson, Ethan Stiefel, Looks Nothing Like You Remember Him

When the Center Stage cast reunited to reminisce about the film, fans definitely noticed just how different Ethan Stiefel looked from his days as Cooper Neilson.

The now 47-year-old ballet dancer wasn’t clean shaven or rocking a mop of hair, instead, he was sporting shoulder length hair and a mustache!

“Good god, Ethan Stiefel, that look is a choice,” one fan wrote after watching the reunion which also featured Zoe Saldana, Sascha Radetsky, and Amanda Schull.

Another added, “Oh my goodness. Ethan Stiefel looks… verrrrrrry different.”

“And Ethan Stiefel’s look is . . . a lot,” one more commented.

After getting used to Ethan‘s new look, fans got the chance to watch the quartet of stars open up about the impact of the movie, the lack of diversity in the sport and more.

“All of us who are men in the dance world have stories of harassment, just stupid stuff growing up because there’s some stereotypes associated with male dancers,” Sascha, who played Charlie, said. “Unfortunately they seem to endure. But, Center Stage has been really affective at dispelling some of the stereotypes and opening people’s eyes up to the beauty and power and athleticism and other ineffable virtues of dance, and male dance in particular.”

Ethan agreed, saying, “As we’ve all discussed because of the people that we were working with on the film, on every level, as someone who, since the age of 8 or 9, was pursuing a ballet career took a great sense of pride in the fact that I was given the chance to present dance on the highest level. And all you can do is present your art form in the best light possible. That’s a huge responsibility and one that I didn’t take lightly, but at the same time if we’re still talking about this film right now 20 years later and some of the topics that we are discussing, it seems it did resonate.”

As the subject turned to the lack of color on the stage, Zoe shared that she believes “that it is a conversation that is starting to be had in circles that are more inclusive. I think for so long the matters of inclusively and racial disparity were topics that only people of color or minority communities were having. The more anglo Americans invite themselves and take partnership in the conversation that’s what’s going to bring change.”

“Those of us in the arts can do so much better and we have to do so much better,” Sascha chimed in. “We’re in the middle of an urgent and important moment of reflection and conversation about where we failed in the past and where we’re failing now and how we can improve things going forward.”

Watch the full reunion below:

If you missed it, there’s reportedly a Center Stage series in the works…

Zoe Saldana Reuniting with 'Center Stage' Co-Stars to Benefit American Ballet Theatre's Crisis Relief Fund

The Center Stage cast is getting together again!

Co-stars Zoe Saldana, Amanda Schull, Sascha Radetsky and Ethan Stiefel will be reuniting for a virtual fundraiser to support the American Ballet Theatre’s Crisis Relief Fund.

The fund provides aid for dancers, production crews, musicians, ballet staff and faculty impacted by canceled engagements amid the pandemic.

Center Stage was released in 2000, and followed a group of aspiring ballet dancers as they were accepted into New York City’s prestigious American Ballet Academy

The reunion will take place on Tuesday, September 1 and will stream on the American Ballet Theatre and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment YouTube channels at 7:30 p.m. EST. Viewers will then be able to donate to the fund online.

It was recently revealed a Center Stage-inspired TV series is in the works!

'Center Stage' Inspired Television Series In Works at Sony

Center Stage is celebrating its 20th Anniversary today and what better way to celebrate than with the news of an actual television series!

Deadline is reporting that the iconic movie – which followed a group of aspiring ballet dancers as they were accepted into New York City’s prestigious American Ballet Academy – has inspired a television series in development at Sony Pictures Television.

The series would be a continuation of the movie, set in the “highly competitive world of dance. It follows a new, inclusive class of dancers as they work to stay at the academy and clash against the traditional students and style the ABA is known for.”

The logline reads that Cooper Nielson (played by Ethan Stiefel) is “now at the helm of the ABA and the ABC”.

Center Stage first premiered on May 12, 2000 and helped launch the careers of Zoe Saldana and Amanda Schull.

Ethan, Sascha Radetsky, and Peter Gallagher all returned for Lifetime’s Center Stage series, Center Stage: On Pointe, which aired in 2016.

'Center Stage 3' Movie In Production with a 'Dance Moms' Alum Attached to Star!

There’s a third Center Stage movie in the works with Chloe Lukasiak, a Dance Moms alum, set to star!

Center Stage: Dance Camp is bringing back lots of actors from the first two films in the franchise including Peter Gallagher, Ethan Stiefel, Kenny Wormald, Sascha Radetsky, and Nicole Muñoz. Chloe will play Gwen, a talented dancer at the camp.

Here’s a synopsis from Deadline: “Jonathan Reeves (Gallagher) is tasked with infusing more contemporary styles and modernism into the American Ballet Academy and enlists his his top choreographers Charlie (Radetsky), Cooper (Stiefel) and Tommy (Wormald) to recruit dancers to compete at a camp where the winners will be selected to join the Academy. Bella Parker (Muñoz), who has always lived in the shadow of her hugely successful sister Kate, finally gets her chance to step into the limelight as one of the dancers recruited for the camp.”

No release date has been set yet for the Lifetime film.