I have been doing a re-watch of Dance Academy and trying to figure out what the heck I love so much about it, because I looooooove it.
The show is set in a fictional national ballet school in Sydney, Australia, (thing #1 to love about it– Os-try-lian accents ivery-wheah!), where 15-year-old small town Tara shows up, a newbie student in the big city. She meets free spirit Kat (Rayann Graff without the drama), imperfect Sammy (The Geek from Sixteen Candles, but not so pervy), dreamboat Ethan (Ben from Felicity, but not a jerk), mean girl Abigail (Blair Waldorf but less inaccessible), and outsider Christian (Dylan McKay, but less, ugh, Dylan McKay-ish). It has all your teen show tropes, but a touch sweeter and a shade less glossy than American teen shows. I believe the kids are actually kids, for one thing (instead of teens that act like 30-year-olds. I love you teen dramas, but your shows are full of Olds). It also doesn’t have any dumb dance movie weirdness (sorry, no one is going to drive their motorcycle into a ballet like in Center Stage, because suckah please), and I am not saying that Dance Academy is a documentary series or anything, but at least it gets the feeling of a dance school right. There are classes, and auditions, and tiny dorm rooms, and physical therapy, and parent visits, and stern teachers, and tight friendships.
I don’t know, maybe I am just predisposed to liking a half-way decent dance school show because it makes me nostalgic. Probably true. But it’s also true that if you like teen shows, and you want to watch one that is charming and a form of tv-comfort food, I am telling you: Dance Academy. Get on it.