Dance Academy: The Movie is a follow-on from the 2010-13 Australian TV series Dance Academy. In the original series, lead character Tara Webster (Xenia Goodwin) was destined to become one of the great dancers of her generation until she slipped during her final performance and broke her back. It has been 18 months since her fall, and Tara and her friends from the academy – Christian (Jordan Rodrigus), Abigail (Dena Kaplan), Ben (Thomas Lacey), Kat (Alicia Banit) and Ollie (Keiynan Lonsdale) – have moved on.
Tara is almost recovered and is about to sue the Sydney Dance Academy for $1 million in compensation. But she still dreams of being a dancer. When Tara is told by Academy director Madeline Monour (Miranda Otto) that she still has potential and should follow her dream, she drops her compensation claim and applies to audition for a place in the Academy’s next production. And when she isn’t successful, Tara becomes obsessed with proving the Academy wrong.
Tara moves to New York where she hopes to join the New York Dance Academy. She endures many trials and pushes herself to the edge to achieve her goal. This has some severe consequences for Tara and her friends. In the end Tara realises that she has been chasing the wrong dream for the wrong reasons and makes some unexpected decisions.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Dance training and careers: injury; competition; terminal illness
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Dance Academy: The Movie has some violence. For example, two young women have a heated argument and shout at each other.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent content mentioned above, Dance Academy: The Movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- There are several slow-motion scenes that show Tara slipping on a bead while performing and then crashing to the floor. We hear that she broke her back in the fall. We see her lying on a hospital trolley being rushed to hospital and later lying inside an imaging machine. X-ray pictures show two large screws in her spine.
- There are surreal images of Tara trapped beneath the surface of water as if she’s drowning.
- A young woman is nearly hit by a truck while crossing the road.
- Scenes show dancers treating their injuries – for example, bandaging a red and swollen knee and cutting away large blisters.
- As a result of psychological trauma, a young woman breaks down crying and then runs off.
- A scene shows a young man with a medical tube in the side of his neck. He’s suffering from cancer. In an emotionally intense scene, the same man lies on a hospital trolley, unconscious with an oxygen mask covering his face, while his friends appear distraught.
Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might be upset by some of the scenes mentioned above, particularly Tara’s injury and the young man with cancer.
Most viewers in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
Dance Academy: The Movie has some sexual references. For example:
- A young couple talk about being in love and living in a permanent relationship.
- Characters dance in a sexy way.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Dance Academy: The Movie shows some use of substances. For example:
- Young adults drink socially.
- Patients take cancer medications.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in Dance Academy: The Movie. For example:
- Several scenes show a young man and woman kissing passionately.
- A young woman is in bed with her bare shoulders visible.
- Male dancers display bare torsos.
- Young women wear skimpy clothing.
The following products are displayed or used in Dance Academy: The Movie: iPhones, Toyota cars and McDonalds food.
None of concern
Ideas to discuss with your children
Dance Academy: The Movie is based on the award-winning ABC TV series of the same name, and the movie is likely to appeal to teenage dance fans and followers of the series.
Because of some intense themes and scenes of injury and terminal illness, the movie isn’t recommended for children under 12 years. Also, we recommend parental guidance for children aged 12-14 years.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Never give up on your dreams – stay determined and persevere.
- Sometimes things happen that make us re-evaluate our lives. The things we thought were the most important turn out to be the least important.
- It’s important to have supportive and selfless friends.