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Dance Academy is a series about a girl named Tara Webster who wants to
be a principal ballet dancer. To chase her dream she auditions to and
gets accepted into the prestigious National Academy of Dance located in
stunning Sydney, Australia.
The show is predominantly built around cute romantic story lines, though it never succumbs to fluff and is surprisingly complex at times for a show of its genre. And there's enough dancing (ballet primarily as well as some hip-hop) to satisfy the most hardcore dance fan.
Newcomer Xenia Goodwin perfectly embodies the innocence and wide-eyed wonder of Tara Webster. Tara is a girl who is a natural dancer but anything but natural when it comes to dealing with boys. Her dorkiness trying to come to terms with the opposite sex forms much of her story arc.
Alicia Banit plays Katrina "Kat" Karamakov, Tara's fun loving and rebellious BFF with some deep reservations about whether she wants to be in a ballet school. Katrina takes the Academy for granted as just another school to attend rather than a lifelong dream come true as Tara does.
Dena Kaplan portrays Abigail Armstrong, Tara and Kat's frenemy. Abigail is an overachieving ballet student who is obsessed with being a principal dancer and is willing to do anything including back stabbing and sabotage to become one.
Abigail's perfectionist personality forms much of the angst as well as the humor of her character. Kaplan expertly plays a girl who is a conniving bitch yet displays enough vulnerability and gentleness that she remains sympathetic to the audience.
Other characters include Samuel "Sammy" Lieberman; a boy who wants to dance despite objections from his father, Christian Reed; the bad boy of the Academy with a mysterious past and Ethan Karamakov; Kat's older brother and target of Tara's affection.
Finally Tara Morice is a pleasure to watch as the strict and unyielding ballet instructor of the Academy.
Dance Academy is a show that fuses teen romance with some very beautiful dancing in a very entertaining way.
And by descriptions I mean "teen drama" or "children's show".
I am a 27-year-old living in the US. When NetFlix kept suggesting this show to me, I kept writing it off because most teen/children's show are bland, poorly acted, and often talk down to their audience. Being a glutton for anything concerning dance, I thought I'd give it a shot, and I am so glad that I did. There is an emotional depth to the storytelling and acting that greatly surpasses other shows of the genre. There is something magical, and frankly addicting, about "Dance Academy" that reminds me of some of the shows that I loved to watch during my formative years.
I could sit here all day and extol the virtues of this show, but I'll leave it at this: If you've been thinking of checking out the show, or have written it off, I implore you to put aside any preconceived notions and experience it for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
If I could rate the two seasons separately, I would rate the first one 7-8 stars and the second twenty billion. The second season is when all the actors really settle into their characters, and the writers seem to get a feeling of exactly what a drama show is. And believe me when I tell you, there is plenty of it. The last few episodes were especially excellent with the tragedy I will not mention,but the writers and the actors portray it perfectly which is what really convinced me how amazing this show is. The dancing is amazing, too, and you can easily tell that the actors know how to dance and weren't just taught the basics a few months before shooting. The writers also really understand how teenagers act and talk and feel and what they do in their free time. Basically, don't quit with the first season. The second one is where you really get addicted.
When I first watched Dance Academy I was on a Dance movies extravaganza on Netflix. At first I was torn because it seemed like a teen drama series and those who's dating who plot lines always repel me. But I was fascinated by the fact that the whole cast could dance! Quite an achievement and set in Australia, double bonus. It also has quite a range of problems that the characters go through, professional choices, life choices, and so on. But I also love the down moments when the characters are just getting to know each other and character building. The actors make the characters believable and will raise anyone's adrenaline when you feel they are on the verge of making wrong decisions. I am extremely fond of the actor who plays Ben Tickle in the second series; he has quite a future ahead of him, charismatic and entertaining to watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My new obsession is Australian ABC3 teen drama, 'Dance Academy'. To be
fair, I am jumping on this band-wagon way too late. The first season
aired in Australia in 2010, followed by a year-long gap when the show's
creators didn't know if it would be picked up for a second season . . .
which it (thankfully) was, airing this year between March and April.
There are 26 episodes in a season, and the last one for 2012 aired on
April 24. And, yes, a third season has been commissioned (no word on
whether or not there will be another year-long gap between season 2 and
3, making for a 2014 release?).
The show follows fifteen-year-old country ballerina, Tara Webster (Xenia Goodwin) whose love of dance stems from a dream of flying. Tara gets one step closer to her dream when she is accepted into Sydney's prestigious National Dance Academy. . . but it doesn't take long before Tara realizes that loving dance isn't the same as being a good dancer.
Tara's technique is not where it needs to be, and her fellow students at the Academy are cut-throat, with their eye on becoming principal dancers by the end of their three years. In her first week at the Academy, Tara is given the nickname 'training bra' by scholarship kid Christian Reed (Jordan Rodrigues) after an embarrassing changing-room incident with the beautiful Ethan Karamakov (Tim Pocock) who happens to be the half-son of an infamous Australian prima-ballerina and choreographer. Tara's roommate is Abigail Armstrong (Dena Kaplan) the best and most ruthless first year dancer at the academy, and the one with the biggest grudge against 'country bumpkin', Tara.
Tara is ranked lowest in all of her dance classes and her teacher, the cold-blooded Miss Raine (Tara Morice) lets her know that she has a long way to go. . . But Tara got into the Academy because she has something that no dancer can learn - she puts her heart and soul into every pointe and pirouette. She dances from the heart.
There are bright spots in Tara's new life. Like Ethan's half-sister, Kat Karamakov (Alicia Banit) a bubbly, bright and begrudgingly good dancer who struggles to be one of the 'betty bunheads'. Kat's best friend is Samuel 'Sammy' Lieberman (Tom Green) string-bean with a heart of gold, who is attending the Academy without his father's support.
Season one of 'Dance Academy' follows Tara and her friends through the highs and lows of first year. Second season shows the gang return for second year, and adds goofball Ben Tickle (Thomas Lacey) to the crew, as well as new prima mean-girl in Grace Whitney (Issi Durant).
'Dance Academy' is phenomenal. Created by Samantha Strauss and Joanna Werner, it is a fantastic series that combines a coming-of-age story with all the requisite heartbreak, love triangles and hiccups, with the backdrop of a competitive creative environment.
The show is shot in the heart of Sydney, literally. The National Dance Academy is situated near Circular Quay, while the boarding school lies in The Rocks (the most beautiful and expensive area of the city).
I also love the show because it has a great, diverse cast. When so many Australian shows are lacking ethnic diversity in their casts, 'Dance Academy' shows a far truer Australian melting-pot and is more interesting for it. But the diversity is also in the story lines explored - the show had a wonderful plot about Sammy being attracted to his male roommate, Christian . . . this plot, in particular, was handled beautifully with no over-dramatizing; it was treated as the coming-of- age it was, grounded in reality and with little flamboyance some shows sometimes want to give the 'coming out' storyline.
Other heavy issues have been touched on - such as eating disorders and bullying (in the form of teacher/student, to make for an especially interesting change). And, of course, the complications of love and relationships are also consistently touched on. From liking your best friend's brother, to liking your best friend's ex. First season has a mini love-triangle between Tara, Christian and Ethan while second season changes shape to explore a Kat/Christian/Tara love complication. The romantic up's and down's of these characters are a real draw-card for fans, and the writers do a brilliant job of spreading the drama out across 26, half-hour episodes. But my favourite couplings have been Sammy's - the character with the most interesting and diverse love background, I have most enjoyed his romantic story lines.
I can't go past a review of 'Dance Academy' without at least touching on the dancing in the show (even though I must confess, I have the dance skills of a one-legged robot). The choreography is beautiful, and tells a story in itself. From Tara's obsession with 'The Red Shoes', to Sammy's explosively heartbreaking season two solo, performed to the Jezabel's 'She's So Hard'. The actors do a remarkable job, and the choreography is so good that while watching an episode I do find my feet pointing and hips shaking. God, I wish I could dance.
I fell into obsession watching the first season of 'Dance Academy', but it was really the second season that cemented this show as something truly remarkable for me. The second season storyline takes a dramatic and heart-wrenching twist towards the end. I refuse to give anything away, but save to say the writers outdid themselves and the actors broke my heart while watching a breathtakingly sad story unfold.
'Dance Academy' is one of the best Australian shows I have had the pleasure of watching in recent years. It's a little bit 'Centre Stage' crossed with 'Heartbreak High', and with stories and dialogue that would do Aussie YA proud.
I really liked this series and I hope there's more to come. My daughter
does a mean tap, is on point, and loves lyrical and modern. I thought
it was cool seeing the intense training and the true competitive nature
of it all. Seeing Tara's struggles and Abigail's different struggles
were interesting to me. Also watch Kat vie for her mother's real
support was something I paid attention to as a mother. I'm no
ballerina, so I have no shadow over my daughter. I just love seeing her
performances during recitals and seeing how much she just taps outside
of her class without even being aware of it. She also uses our railing
for her stretching and will work her toe shoes frequently as well.
So even though there was some sort of closure for Tara's character at the end of season 2, so many new things popped up at the end that I would be very disappointed to find that there is no more to the show.
" Genius" Is the word I use to describe this show.From the writing to the production,casting,acting,drama and dancing is the formula to an epic legacy.I'm a mother of 2 girls ( 13 & 10 ).My girls and I, have enjoyed watching every episode.It is so refreshing to see that writers can create a story line with real life issues, but still keeping its innocence.The acting was superb, I felt their emotions in every episode.Their Chemistry had us glued to the TV. Credit where credit is due.I usually don't write reviews or blogs.Lets be honest nobody really cares what you have to say".But in this case, I felt why not express the impact that Dance Academy had on us. We felled in love with every character.We wish the cast of Dance Academy the Best in future projects and in their personal life as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I came across "Dance Academy" years too late. I'm already in my thirties but I know that I would have loved every single episode of this Australian dance series when I was a teenager. There's everything in it you need: authentic characters, lots of dancing, lots of romance, a bit of drama, a bit of tragedy... the perfect mixture! Tara and her friends are highly professional dancers but they are teenagers coming of age at the same time. And none of them is a cliché. I don't like children or teenage movies that don't take children or teenagers seriously. "Dance Academy" does. It's been some time but I still remember what it felt like back than and the series feels just the same! It's so sad it ended after season three and the last season is even much shorter than the other two. I read that there might be a spin-off movie, I do so much hope there will be one!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am in love with this show. It is quite realistic and I love how I
almost feel I know the characters. The storyline is great and it's hard
to find a suitable, non-cheesy show without all the smart remarks and
inappropriate comments for teenagers. There are 3 seasons with 65
episodes. The story follows a group of older teenagers who have all
been accepted into the National academy of dance. Their three years
there are jam packed with all kinds of dancing, drama and even romance.
I personally think it is the best Australian TV show for a long time,
possibly ever ( it beats home and away by miles) but it is no to be
misconceived as a young children's show. Many issues involving teens
questioning their sexual orientation, complicated relationships and an
emotional and gut wrenching tragedy make it unsuitable for those under
SEASON 3 IS MEGA AND I LOVE THIS SHOW 100%
Although I'm not a dancer myself I LOVE dance shows and movies. I found
this show on Netflix streaming a couple months ago and quickly finished
it (too quickly I'm afraid.) It's just a wonderful show! It took me all
of two episodes to fall in love with all the characters and become
totally invested in their lives. Although this seems to be advertised
as a "kids show", as a 21 year old I never felt like this was too
juvenile for my tastes. The issues the kids deal with range from cute
(oh, the relationship dramas!) to heartwrenching. Even my dad became
All the performances are good, with some better than others. The actress who plays "bitchy" Abigail is especially fantastic. There are cute boys galore (and yes, I did feel like a bit of a weirdo for squealing over Christian when the actor playing him is probably like 17, but oh well!) and lovable friendships and frenemy-ships. BEST of all, there is actual dancing -- and lots of it! The actors have all obviously had some kind of training in ballet. I suppose experts would be able to point out their technical failings, but to my untrained eye the dancing was so much fun to watch. A lovely connection is made throughout the show between the characters' need to dance and their lives in general.
The show takes place at a 3-year dance school in Sydney, Australia. Seasons 1 and 2 cover the first two years. So I'm praying that there will be a third season for the final year -- I heard they were planning one. Fingers crossed!!
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