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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Movie Monday: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Can we get back to politics please?

Actually, I’d rather not.  This election has been so astonishingly disgraceful, it’s hard to watch the events unfold and not feel as though our democracy is on the verge of falling into oblivion.  But whenever I feel my faith in the American experiment begin to wane, I turn on Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring James Stewart, Claude Rains, and my all-time favorite leading lady, Jean Arthur.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The first time I saw this film was actually in my 8th grade American history class… It’s the only memorable thing from that class.  But I do remember thinking, even back then, “This film is amazing,” and I had never been so transfixed by the concept of American politics.  This film ignited an interest I didn’t know I could have in our national history.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

There are few films that get to the heart of so-called American ideals in quite such a beautiful and entertaining way.  Through the eyes of an American history expert and Junior Senator, Jefferson Smith (Stewart) appointed, with the intent from his colleagues, to be nothing more than a seat-filling-stooge, the film exposes corruption in Washington DC, the Senate, and the political system at the time…. Even though the film was released in  the banner film year of 1939, it remains remarkably relevant today.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Jefferson Smith has his ideals and beliefs shattered when he tries to stand up to a bill loaded with graft.  He thinks he’s finished, and is about to high-tail it home, but with the counseling of his wise-cracking secretary Saunders (Arthur) he launches a filibuster brimming with enough constitutional coolness to defeat the “big bad Taylor machine,” even if it nearly kills him.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

This film is near perfect.  Actually, scratch that, I think it is perfect.  And any American or American resident feeling disillusioned with our political system should give it a watch.  You’ll feel empowered, proud, and like your living your life “like you just came out of a tunnel.”

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Watch it here

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