“Save The Last Dance” Turns 20: E! News Rewind
Facts: If you ever slipped on a leotard and tights in the mid-to-late ’90s, there’s a solid chance you either wanted to be like Center Stage‘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 during Julia Stiles‘ successful teen movie run (which coincided with her modern-retelling-of-a-popular-William–Shakespeare-play phase), 2001’s Save the Last Dance—which dropped suburban Sara into an inner city Chicago high school, where she naturally finds love with the one(!) successful Black male student, played by Sean Patrick Thomas—spent two weeks at the top of the box office, propelling then-Columbia University freshman Stiles to the heights of ubiquity.
She collected MTV Awards for Best Kiss and Best Female Performance and a Teen Choice trophy for Best Fight Scene thanks to her face-off with her new guy’s ex (Bianca Lawson) at STEPPS, the must-attend club that ain’t no square dance but is certainly lax on regulating fake IDs. Stiles also scored a gig hosting Saturday Night Live and a Rolling Stone cover, the mag declaring her “the coolest coed.”
Though for all that success and the film’s