Sunday, August 18, 2013

TV Series Review: Dance Academy (season one)

As odd as it sounds, not all recommendations I see in the YA community are for books, plenty of authors and fans/reviewers love to talk about what else they love and that includes movies, tv shows, and even music at times. A lot of times my tastes don't quite match up as far as tv series go, a bit too much romance for me and there is that terrible problem that half the time by the time I get around to trying a tv series is has gone from good to ugh which always brings up the point if it's still worth watching. As far as I know this series is still worth watching, the show started it's third season in Australia earlier in the year (and I'm fairly sure it will be the last, otherwise the characters won't be in school anymore and they'll have to change the title) and since I can't seem to read anymore of Swan legally I thought that maybe this would give me the ballet fix I wanted.

Dance Academy (season one)

Summary: Tara Webster is from the Australian countryside and remarks that in her tiny town everyone is known for something and for her it's for doing ballet. She applies and successfully gets into the National Academy of Dance in Sydney and begins her first of hopefully three years preparing to enter the world as a professional ballet dancer.

The Good: I went in hoping that the show would have regular ballet scenes and there is in fact at least a short dance scene in every episode! Sometimes it's hip-hop not ballet but it turns out that hip-hop dancing is rather cool so I was completely fine with that. I'm obviously no expert in either styles of dancing but I thought a lot of that looked rather well done , I could believe (outside of the fact that Tara is somehow both the best and worst student in her class it seems) that these were actual dancers in training and it was a nice change from all the series I've seen which are set in a school yet ignore the school aspect as much as they can.

The Bad: On the one hand I can't knock all of DA's more melodramatic moments, after all Swan shared some of the same ones (a main character who has great talent but terrible fundamentals yet still attracts the attention of the teachers in a good way) but there was way more romantic drama than I bargined on. There are six main characters, three girls and three guys, and in 26 episodes there are about eight and a half hook-ups between them and other side characters (also, they apparently have no idea that bisexuality exists which really threw me, I'll note that all of the hook-ups were straight for the moment). That's just a lot of romance and since a lot of it is short lived, everyone in the relationship is dumb because they're a teenager, romance I didn't find a lot of it very compelling either and hope (probably in vain considering where this recommendation comes from) that it gets toned down a bit next season.

The Production Values: As mentioned earlier, I thought all the dance scenes looked really great with good actors and good choreography which was the biggest draw for me. Not much else stood out to me however, nothing about the setting or the music (actually I believe the show uses the same music for both the opening and closing credits) really grabbed me but in a modern day, realistic fiction setting that's to be expected, there is a limit to how creative you can get with those things.

So in the end I give this season 3 out of 5 stars for nice dancing but entirely too much romance. I'll be checking out the second season soon, they're both streaming on Netflix and we'll see what I think of that I guess!