The Dance Academy Movie

I don’t really know how to express my feelings about the new Dance Academy movie, based on the Australian television show of the same name. First things first, let’s start with the trailer…

Ok. Cheesy, dance movie? Yeah you bet. Dancing that could be better? Always. Storyline and characters that so closely resemble the people who I met throughout my ballet career? Scarily, and rather embarrassingly accurate.

Dance Academy feature film

I first watched Dance Academy on Netflix one weekend when I was stuck at home with nothing to do. I was immediately hooked because, beyond the typical teenage drama (which is enticing enough on its own) I saw my own adolescence in this show. I saw a handful of summers of ballet intensives at ballet companies around the nation – I saw the pas de deux romances, the crazy teachers, and the dorm-life antics. I saw myself in Tara Webster – a wide-eyed girl who just wants to fly and believes in magic, and sees it come true when she dances. In later seasons, I saw myself in Abigail Armstrong… Like big time.

Dance Academy feature film

Dance Academy feature film

I fell in love with this show because, despite the teeny-bopper storylines, I saw in it something relatable. Something I longed for in my youth. A barometer to tell me that the sacrifices I was making for this art form were valid, justified, and something young people like me struggle with all over the world. And a gauge to see how it was normal to struggle with that commitment.

Dance Academy feature film

Dance Academy has its flaws. But regardless, I think it is an awesome show for young dancers, and I’ll just admit, it’s an awesome show for us old dancers who maybe have forgotten just how sweetly naive, hopeful and dedicated we all were – we all had to be. I can’t wait to the see the feature film when it hits the states… Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long!

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Can it be, I Like Myself? Nope, I just like Gene Kelly.

Musical Magic…

The Comden and Green, MGM film It’s Always Fair Weather, bombed at the box office, and marked the end of the brilliant film partnership between Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, but the film has some truly endearing qualities and even earned Comden and Green an Oscar nom for original screenplay. Top of the film’s endearing list is, hands-down, this number in which Kelly’s character does a complete tap number on roller skates. It gives the “traveling time step” a whole new context, and allowed Kelly to choreograph to the new wide pan of Cinemascope with a gliding ease.

I recently found out that my mother has never seen this number and I simply can’t have that. So Mom, this is for you…

The only other Kelly number I love more than this (Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris are not included, because those films are in a whole different category of life,) is this number from Summer Stock…

In my humble opinion, both of these brilliant dance-on-film moments are ones to be studied, again and again, for their technique, their originality, but mostly for their exuberance, which is nothing less than inspiring.

Happy Dancing!

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