Foreign Friday: Dance Academy

Foreign Friday is back! This time, something from far away, but in a language that is familiar! Dance Academy is an Australia teen drama that I watched entirely over the weekend when I was sick.

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Because it’s a teen drama, a guy can date two best friends one after the other and the girls can still be best friends. The first part of this can definitely happen, but I can tell you from experience, do not count on the latter! Because it’s a teen drama, I don’t think I made it through a single episode without crying. Sometimes a lot. But! This is a dance show. There is so much ballet and beautiful dancing. As a former dancer, I’m obsessed.

It takes place in Sydney with students are accepted to the National Academy of Dance. Here, they will train for three years in hopes of earning a contract with the National Ballet Company.

Here are the character break-downs:

Tara

Tara is the star of the show and often the lead of productions. I have a love-hate relationship with her. At times, I think she’s far too plain and ordinary to get everything she does. At other times, I think she’s quite lovely. Even though she is pretty more times than not, I still don’t see her as the ultimate dancer the show portrays her as. She came in a naïve girl and by the second series she’s already had 3 boyfriends and more special treatment than any other dancer. Still, I cheer her on. She’s believes in love, the magic of dance, and her dreams.

Kat

Kat is charismatic as they come. Her mother is a famous ballerina and her father is a famous choreographer. Kat is more about fun than a commitment to hard work. She doesn’t take ballet seriously, which gets her kicked out of the academy, but she misses it when it’s gone. Once she realizes that dance is a fundamental part of her life, she gets herself back into the academy, but a year behind her classmates. Kat looks to find a place for herself knowing her friends will be finishing before her. With each shadow she finds cast upon herself, Kat’s talents come shining through. She is Tara’s best friend.

Sammy

Sam comes into the academy without the support of his father, who wants him to be a doctor instead of a dancer. Sammy struggles through first year as Tara does. He struggles further second year when his father withdraws financial support. More interesting struggles come to Sammy relationship wise. He goes from a girlfriend he truly cares about, to questioning his sexuality, to overcompensating, to a boyfriend. I’m not sure if Sammy considers himself to be gay or not, but I love this about him. It’s not something we see in TV often. Sammy is the glue that holds the group together.

Abigail

Abigail goes from completely unlikeable to my favorite character by the second series. Abigail is the original mean girl, until Grace comes in to take over the role. (More on her later.) Abigail is conniving, ruthless, and will do absolutely anything to get ahead, including sabotage. Eventually, she lets her walls down and lets Sammy and friends break through her tough exterior. Abigail is more dedicated to ballet than anything. She’s criticized initially for not being intelligent, but the show reveals that she’s extraordinarily talented. Her vulnerabilities win out in the end, and I see Abby as the most deserving dancer in the group.

Christian

Christian is a scholarship kid who’s using his place in the academy to prove he’s useful to society after getting in trouble with the law. He deals with abandonment issues from his father leaving, and with his mother recently deceased he is always lost. He is withdrawn, and runs away from everything. He does grow, and keeps coming back to dance. Christian is naturally gifted, excels at hip hop, and finds passion for giving kids the opportunity to dance.

Ben

Self-proclaimed “Benster” comes in second series as a first year bumped up to second year because of his level of talent. He is constantly upbeat and trying to make others around him happy. We learn that this is because of a past struggle with leukemia. He is often manipulated because of this happy-go-lucky attitude, but his heart is as big as can be.

Grace

The goddaughter of Miss Raine, principal of the academy, Grace comes in second year. As bad as Abigail ever was, Grace is worse. Grace is a master manipulator. Unlike Abigail, Grace’s motives are not to get ahead. She already is ahead. She dances perfectly, effortlessly. She steals spotlights because she can: because she’s bored. She’s never had a proper home and is clearly emotionally damaged. That’s why she acts like a sociopath most of the time. We see shades of Grace’s humanity here and there. Eventually, Grace realizes she doesn’t like the person she is and sets out to remedy that. She’s adorable, so I’m glad she gets likeable(ish).

Ollie

Originally joining in the second series, Ollie was a third year with the most potential and briefly, Sammy’s boyfriend. After he does not get a contract with the company, Ollie repeats third year. He takes make detours exploring many dreams. Even though his other dreams start to pan out, we see what he still wants more than anything is a contract with the company.

 

I really, really enjoyed this show! If you’re into dramas or dance, you will too! All three series (because remember, it’s Australian) are on Netflix. It should take you a while to get through these 60+ episodes, unless you have three days to lay in bed like I did!

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