No steps are missed in Dance Acad­emy

Whitsunday Times - - CHILL -

DANCE Acad­emy is the lat­est in a long line of such in­spi­ra­tional dra­mas.

Di­rec­tor Jef­frey Walker doesn’t mess around with the proven for­mula.

It’s set 18 months af­ter the events of Se­ries 3, in which the story’s nar­ra­tor, Tara Web­ster (Xe­nia Good­win), breaks her back in a freak ac­ci­dent while per­form­ing on stage.

Phys­i­cally, the gifted bal­le­rina has healed. But emo­tion­ally she is still strug­gling to ac­cept life without dance. Tara turns to writ­ing as an al­ter­na­tive means of ex­pres­sion.

Her fel­low stu­dents are mer­ci­less, draw­ing at­ten­tion to the melo­dra­matic arc of

the deeply per­sonal story – de­feat snatched from the jaws of vic­tory, and her “Ed­ward Cullen-like” boyfriend.

And that’s be­fore Ben’s (Thomas Lacey) leukaemia re­turns or Kat (Ali­cia Banit) be­comes em­broiled in a phone sex scan­dal.

Walker ex­hibits ad­mirable re­straint in the face of such po­ten­tially over­wrought ro­man­tic tropes, re­fus­ing to milk the emo­tional mo­ments, en­cour­ag­ing his ac­tors to un­der­play the key scenes.

The char­ac­ters’ self-dep­re­cat­ing hu­mour also serves the film well.

MOVES: Thomas Lacey, Dena Ka­plan and Keiy­nan Lons­dale in a scene from the movie Dance Acad­emy.

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