FILM REVIEW: ‘Dance Academy: The Movie’

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I was lucky enough to score tickets to the beloved teen dance film, Dance Academy: The Movie. This ABC series became a quick favourite amongst Aussie teens and tweens alike.

The show centered on a group of teenagers that attended a prestigious dance academy in Sydney, Australia. Documented a teen’s death, eating disorders, plus multiple other confronting progressive topics, the original TV series had always been cutting edge. With the show ending in 2013, it was a pop culture favourite that was a must see on ABC. Once the movie was announced, fans became chaotic!

The film documented the dance group’s life after the academy and how far they have come. The focus of the story however, followed protagonist Tara who injured her back after a dance injury.

This dance flick wasn’t all tutu’s and pointed shoes, but rather the harsh reality of pursing a career in performing arts. We also saw the other main characters, Kat, Abigail, Ben and Christian struggle with their own issues – on and off the dance floor.

Dance Academy: The Movie’s narrative progressed solidly the whole way through, with minimal interruptions to individual story lines. It was very to the point, which is refreshing for a film with so much going on. The film didn’t dwell on the TV series history either; this was a great tactic to make new viewers feel included.

The acting by all cast members was good, but not excellent. There was passion behind their lines but it wasn’t always fulfilled well enough.

Majority of the film was filmed in New York City and showed multiple shots of famous NYC landmarks. The cinematography was aesthetically pleasing and showed the glamorous side of the city. Shots included the cliché of characters gazing in the distance and lots of close up shots of facial expressions. These were useful techniques which may have helped audience members feel a part of the action. It also helped ‘not so die hard fans’ connect to the franchise.

The music to the film was excellent, a vibe that set the tone for the movie. Artists included international superstar Taylor Swift, mixed in with Sydney natives Flume and Dustin Tebbutt to name a few. Some of the choices seemed disjointed, as we had a mix of Australian and international artists, and perhaps sticking with Australian only music would have complimented this Australian franchise better.

I was pleasantly surprised by the film as a whole; usually movies following a TV show are mediocre at best. Dance Academy: The Movie, however, was an insight into the reality of dancing in the real world and the cruel environment that comes with it. An absolute must see for Dance Academy fans!

Words by Aimee Craig.


Dance Academy: The Movie, opens Thursday April 6th.