Why Dance Academy is so great…

Dance Academy is an Australian teen drama which first aired in 2010, ran for 3 seasons and one movie which made it into Australian Cinemas. Dance Academy follows the lives of a group of teens attending the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. These kids were primed to join the Australian Ballet Company once they graduated if they were the best few. It is currently on Netflix if you’re interested in checking it out or re-watching! I grew up watching Dance Academy, it made me want to be a dancer or an athlete. However, I think it was a bit late for any of that.

So, here are all the things that I think make Dance Academy so great to this day and make me able to still enjoy it 10 years later.

Despite the actual ‘elite’ talent of the teens and their living away from home, Dance Academy is incredibly realistic to the teen experience. They show young teens making stupid mistakes over and over. It represents the real issues of eating disorders in teens, explores sexuality, cheating, hard work. Kat even has an identity crisis which I think is incredibly relatable to many teens who may discover they aren’t as about sure what they want to do after school than they once were, or realize that they don’t know at all. Kat portrayed this in her move away from dance before she returned realizing her passion and working hard to get where she wanted to be.

Dance Academy also dealt with illness and grief. Ben is a cancer survivor who in the movie has a ‘relapse’ and has to come to terms with his limits. The loss of their friend, Sammy honestly broke me and still hurts me when I watch it.

It talks about familial expectations and how hard they can push one. Working your way through school to support oneself. Sammy has a real struggle with his family throughout the whole show.

It also takes a hard look at how complicated friendships are in teen years and how hard it can be to know who your real friends are.

Body image issues and eating disorders need to be explored more in teen shows because it is such a common problem and Dance Academy did that. They looked at eating disorders and body image in elite athletes.

It also tackles crime with Christian’s past and upbringing in that world and Abigail’s shoplifting. They showed sexual assault as well.

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Another realistic portrayal they presented was athletes and injury, athletes get injured often and keep going through the pain, this is exactly what happens in the show and it also presents how detrimental this can be for athletes.

Additionally, it portrays financial hardship, both Sam and Tara need a scholarship to keep attending because neither Sammy on his own or Tara’s family can afford to send them to the Academy.

Another important aspect for me about Dance Academy is, the actors they chose could genuinely dance. As opposed to other shows like Blue Water High (no shade) where actors are chosen as actors but can’t actually do the exact thing their character does. All of these actors were athletes. There was no need for stunt doubles or cutting scenes to avoid the face of the actor.

I also just feel like there is something so pure about the portrayal of the age group. While they aren’t incredibly young they also aren’t in their late teens which means that there are some cringey embarrassing moments and a lot of personal growth and self discovery. Had they set the ages as older the show would likely have revolved largely around bitchyness and sex but they chose teens who were still largely children. So yes, there is some crime in Dance Academy but I think that is so genuine to the age group, unlike shows like ‘Never Have I Ever’ (check out my thoughts on it here https://simplymythoughts.blog/2020/08/29/never-have-i-ever-been-less-impressed/), the cringe is so normal, its teens acting like teens worried about pimples and if the boy likes them.

Dance Academy showed that with hard work you can reach above and beyond. Tara began her time at the academy as one of the worst trained dancers in her year and became one of the best through hard work and determination. However, it isn’t unrealistic about how having a dream isn’t always enough especially as an athlete.

Keiynan Lonsdale also came from Dance Academy – you may recognize him from The Flash, Love Simon or Work It.

The Movie:

Honestly, the movie really didn’t disappoint me, I feel like I was prepared to be a little disappointed by it because when it came out I was 17 and following up 5 years after the end of Dance Academy, I was worried. But it really didn’t disappoint me, I feel like the movie in a way grew up with the original audience showing them working in the industry and the issues they’re still facing. The only disappointing part for me was how little Christian was in it, but, at least he came back. Almost all of the original cast came back for the reunion movie which I think is great. I also think it was quite exciting to be able to watch the movie on a cinema screen with the Dolby Atmos sound.

So, to sum up, I believe Dance Academy stood the test of time over my youth. I think it was super well done and showcased a lot of issues in a relatable and realistic way. Also, I love dance and any dance movies or tv shows so that was exciting. And we gotta support the Aussie television industry somehow. Don’t forget you can watch Dance Academy on Netflix now!

Thanks as always for reading, please give this a like, comment or share if you enjoyed it and if you follow down below you will be notified every time I post!

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Checking out the Dawson’s Creek pilot…

Dawson’s Creek has always been one of those shows for me which I’ve heard of, or has been referred to, but I never had the opportunity to check it out until now. Recently Dawson’s Creek went up on Aussie Netflix so I thought I’d give it a go and let you know what I think of the pilot. So here goes;

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We are first introduced to Dawson and his friend while they hang out critiquing TV things. So, Dawson himself is a movie buff which is kind of fun since I am clearly very interested in TV shows, so I just thought that was nice.

Then we are introduced to Joey, his life long best friend (right of image), Joey.

I really don’t vibe with this other guy, Pacey, (left of image) so let’s hope he gets better. So far, from just the pilot, everything he has said felt borderline offensive and also he is rude and some other things we will get in to…

Anyway, back to the start Joey breaks to Dawson that they basically aren’t allowed to sleep over together now that they’re 15. So, was it okay last week? If she stays at his every weekend why was it fine last weekend but not this weekend? Seems a bit suspicious to me.

I have heard the consensus is that Dawson is the worst part of Dawson’s Creek (but honestly, James Van Der Beek playing himself in ‘Don’t trust the B in Apartment 23’ is gold), but this is definitely a red flag.

And this too… Like, I know it’s Dawson’s bed, but look at him man-spreading, he is lying down the middle of the bed!

Outer Banks who? Honestly, there might be a bit more worth watching here, I mean, at least in number of episodes there definitely is. So, if you were someone who did happen to like Outer Banks or just like the idea of a small town show for people living on the water maybe this is it!

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This is my main gal. Gotta love a woman who doesn’t take shit from boys and stands up for herself, so far I’m rooting for this girl. But they are trying to make me not like her, you can already see that her standing up for herself against rude men is portraying her as the bitch of the show, which is just so unoriginal. I love this girl, show me more of her honestly because she’s a powerful woman.

Now, these next series of events really threw me, Pacey had met this woman at the video store and flirted with her, which already gave me bad vibes but then, there’s this.

Yikes… “during school hours”

Um, also yikes…

Double yikes, already wondering why all of this was allowed and why the rest of them are friends with Pacey but also, why none of them told him it was super weird to be so into his teacher.

What exactly is going on! She’s his teacher! Also, he is a child. If Joey and Dawson are 15 then so is Pacey so what on Earth is happening in this show. We are only looking at the pilot!

Basically, Joey has been whining and complaining literally the entire show since a new girl showed up, but she was really boring in the episode so if you want to see her wait a few more episodes. I sort of understand where Joey is coming from when she acts like this the whole episode, she is just jealous of Dawson being interested in another girl because of what it could mean for their friendship and she is already worried about their friendship beforehand. And Dawson is kind of instantly obsessed with this girl but he is also just being nice. However, her being so rude and whinny the whole time really doesn’t put me on her side. Although, she is 15 so I guess I can let it slide for now. But, so far my least favourite characters are Pacey and Joey.

We then end with Joey and Dawson deciding they can still be best friends and tell each other anything because they care about each other so much, which is cute. The execution is kind of strange but humorous.

So, on a whole, I would suggest giving Dawson’s Creek a go, it looks decent enough as far as teen shows go. I think the friendship that Dawson and Joey have is also nice and kind of cute but I worry that the point of that is to ruin it. Either way, I think I will keep watching it. If you want an ‘every qualm I have with’ for season 1 let me know and I’ll make one!

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