‘Dance Academy’ — Review

Akshaya Bhutkar

‘Dance Academy’, is the perfect ode to those who (like me) spent their high school years growing up alongside the hugely popular ABC TV series. The television series follows the ups and downs of a group of teenagers training at the elite National Academy of Dance, and the movie picks up with the much-loved group eighteen months after its finale.

The movie follows the journey of Tara Webster (Xenia Goodwin), a former ballet student who was destined to become an elite dancer until a crippling injury shattered her career. After being told she will never be able to dance again, Tara is stuck in limbo; working as a waitress at the Sydney Opera House just to be at the edge of the performing world. An encounter with the Ballet Company director (Miranda Otto) pushes Tara to leave her million-dollar lawsuit behind as she decides to take the leap into the world of dancing once again — to find herself. Leaving her life and her love behind, Tara heads to New York City to prove to the ballet world she still has what it takes.

While reconnecting with Kat (Alicia Banit) a children’s show host, and her old friend and fellow dancer Ben (Thomas Lacey) who is battling cancer, Tara continues to fight and fit herself into the mould of a ballet dancer even when the world is against her. Not willing to give up their love of dancing, Tara and Ben develop their own choreography to perform in New York City, but an unexpected opportunity means Tara must determine once and for all if her dream of becoming a professional ballerina is truly what she wants.

Led by the timeless moral of following and fighting for your dreams, ‘Dance Academy’ explores the emotional complexities encountered when you attempt to achieve your ambitions, and when deciding if the dreams of your youth are truly what you want in life. Though these more complex themes are explored, the film remains light and energetic; things move at a fast pace and the large cast is dynamic, not overwhelming the storyline.

‘Dance Academy’ stars all the original series’ favourites in addition to some new faces, and does a great job tying up loose ends left at the end of the show. It serves as the poignant end of an era for the generation that grew up with the show, continuing the series from a small screen to the big screen in the most heart-warming way.

‘Dance Academy’ is in cinemas 6 April 2017.