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Dance Academy - Film Review

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by BecSorby (subscribe)
I am a stay at home mum trying to be a freelance writer - or a freelance writer trying to be a stay at home mum. I enjoy getting out and about with my two little girls and am Chief Editor of Perth Mums Group
Published April 6th 2017
The popular Australian TV show returns on the big screen
The leap (no pun intended) from the small to big screen is always risky business. Dance Academy: The Movie, is the latest Australian TV show to take the plunge into film, and does so successfully and without movie-goers requiring an in-depth knowledge of the original storyline.

Set 18 months after the conclusion of the TV show, we meet protagonist Tara at university, a 'fictional' account of her own ballet storyline being dissected and somewhat dismissed by her classmates.

Dance Academy: The Movie, Australian Cinema, dance films
Image: Dance Academy: The Movie Facebook page.

Instead of a promising career on the stage, Tara can now only dream of dance while polishing glasses and serving canapés at an Opera House ballet function. Ouch.

Even more painful is Tara's dance demise, having slipped on a bead and broken her back whilst performing. We learn she has had to re-master the art of walking again, her dreams of dancing crushed and a lawsuit against the Australian Ballet Company pending.

But alas, the draw of dance is too much, so Tara drops the lawsuit, instead – unsuccessfully – pursues a second shot at life with the Australian Ballet Company. So where do pursuers of broken dreams go? New York City, of course.

daNCE Academy: The Movie, Australian Cinema, dance films
Image: Dance Academy: The Movie Facebook page.

Much of the original TV cast joins the movie, including Alicia Banit's Kat, who has made it big in the States through a cheesy looking kids' show. There is a definitive strain on Tara and Kat's relationship as the latter's fame grows, but writer Samantha Strauss decides against the temptation to turn the characters against each other completely. There's also the threat of a Tara-Christian-Ben love triangle, but that's enough teasing about that.

Dena Kaplan returns as ultra-competitive Abigail, who is performing in NYC with the ABC, while Keiynan Lonsdale's luckless Ollie coincidentally shows up at the same dance studio as Tara. Thomas Lacey makes up the remaining US contingent as Ben Tickle, and Jai Rodrigues reprises his role as Tara's boyfriend Christian.

DaNCE Academy: The Movie, Australian Cinema, dance films
Image: Dance Academy: The Movie Facebook page.

Miranda Otto's small but formidable has a small but formidable figure (with a formidable resting bitch face to match) as head of ABC Madeline Moncur.

Dance Academy combines stunning dance choreography with the social issues facing young Australians, including relationships and rejection, overcoming adversity, finding your place in the world and the realisation that sometimes, dreams aren't always what they seem.

So it is true to the TV series? It doesn't matter – life has moved on, with the stars growing up, maturing and facing different challenges in life. As a stand alone film, it will appeal to not only fans of the series, but to a wider audience, and you certainly don't have to be a dance enthusiast to enjoy.

Dance Academy: The Movie is open in Perth cinemas now. You can watch the trailer here.
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Why? The popular TV series returns via the big screen.
When: Various showing times
Where: Cinemas across Australia
Cost: Depends on the cinema
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by Nicholas Gordon on 03/04/2017
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