A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A mixed bag. The series explores the physical and emotional commitment that makes it possible to follow your dreams. Strong family relationships and a sense of identity based on ties to home are presented as positive qualities and contribute to Tara's inner strength. Friendships develop among unlikely groups, and the cast reflects real-world diversity. Bad behavior usually has consequences of some kind. On the downside, competition breeds manipulation on the part of some of the dancers, and it's not always easy to discern whose intention are malicious.
Positive Role Models
Instructors are quick with criticism but fair in their assessments, and they demand respect from their students. Teens run the gamut on behavioral models, from self-assured and moralistic to conniving and underhanded. As a plus, these characters are less flashy and generally look more like average teens than do many of those on other shows.
Violence & Scariness
Intermittent fistfights draw blood but have no lasting effects. Some "mean girl" bullying.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Girls are shown in bras and panties, and guys sometimes bare their chiseled chests. Couples kiss and fondle each other, and there are implications that some teens sleep around. Flirting is commonplace among the teen characters.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Australian drama series centers on a group of teens who live and study together at a prestigious dance academy, and the close quarters breed some budding teen crushes, so you can expect some kissing, cuddling, semi-nudity (girls in bras and panties), and references to sex. The mix of personalities also leads to some rebellious behavior like breaking curfew and lying to teachers, as well as some infighting among the competitive dancers. That said, the most striking quality of this enjoyable series is its dissimilarity to many of the flashy teen-geared shows available today, thanks to relatable, diverse characters and realistic interpersonal issues that are handled with maturity.
Is It Any Good?
DANCE ACADEMY is a striking departure from the glitzy teen-centered shows that have infiltrated the market for the American audience. These Aussie teens don't carry Prada bags and wear 3-inch heels to high school, where they do more gossiping or primping than studying. Instead, they're focused on their passion for dance and are willing to work hard to achieve their dreams. When they hit bumps in the road, they deal with them with the help of friends and, in Tara's case, a strong family unit that inspires the best in her. Their troubles with peers, dating, and personal insecurities reflect real-world issues for average teens and present opportunities for positive problem-solving and self-reflection.
Navigating teen relationships is a central theme that's explored through the eyes of naive Tara, who copes with back-stabbing from frenemy Abigail, a rebellious influence from good-hearted Kat, and the uncertainties of romantic relationships. This pleasant series takes a realistic look at these kinds of issues within the context of an endearing story about overcoming odds and following dreams. As a bonus, viewers are treated to some impressive dancing of various styles as well as some sweeping Australian scenery.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.