DANC­ING QUEEN

It’s the new Aussie dance flick about chas­ing a dream and Ali­cia Banit is liv­ing hers as she takes her char­ac­ter from small to big screen

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - SALLY COATES

Who ever thought an Aussie ABC tele­vi­sion show about teenagers chas­ing a ca­reer in bal­let would be made into a full-length fea­ture film?

That’s the re­al­ity for ground­break­ing small-to-bigscreen fran­chise Dance Academy and Ali­cia Banit, who plays Kat Kara­makov, is pretty proud to be a part of it.

“I’m fairly cer­tain this is the first ever Aus­tralian dance film. The fact that Aus­tralian film is start­ing to step into the light and start­ing to be recog­nised is so heart­warm­ing be­cause all the crew, the peo­ple be­hind the scenes, they work their butts off,” Ali­cia says.

The show wrapped up each char­ac­ter’s sto­ry­line in 2013, not know­ing a happier end­ing was on the hori­zon.

“With the TV series end­ing we’d all said good­bye to our char­ac­ters so see­ing them again was so ex­cit­ing for us as well,” Ali­cia says.

“We’re a part of them and they’re a part of us. I think the big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween this and the show was the film­ing – ev­ery­thing was on a big­ger scale. On set there was more time al­lowed to get things done. A one-minute dance scene on the show we’d spend maybe two hours on, in the film we’d al­low 10 hours to get the right shots, an­gles and beau­ti­ful lighting. The danc­ing looks in­cred­i­ble, but see­ing my face on a mas­sive screen is daunt­ing.”

Ali­cia is con­fi­dent even peo­ple who didn’t fol­low the show will en­gage with the film, which picks up where the series left off. “The movie be­gins with Kat still in Amer­ica act­ing. Danc­ing wasn’t her dream. She was born into a fam­ily where ev­ery­one is a prima ballerina so she re­belled a lot through that.

“Ba­si­cally she’s moved for­ward and left the danc­ing life be­hind. By the end of the series she found some­thing that was her own, but you see in the film there are def­i­nitely still ob­sta­cles.”

Kat is the best friend of the film’s cen­tral char­ac­ter, Tara. Tara sus­tains a spinal in­jury while danc­ing and against all med­i­cal ad­vice, trains in­tensely to get back to the level of bal­let she was at be­fore the ac­ci­dent.

“Kat, in a big way, is the voice of rea­son in the movie.

“What Tara is do­ing is dan­ger­ous given her in­juries and that she could be heart­bro­ken all over again with a dream that might not hap­pen.

“Kids watch­ing need to know that you don’t have to de­cide on the rest of your life when you’re young, things are go­ing to change.” Dance Academy is in cine­mas now

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