BY Mansib Ahmad

Dance Academy debuted on television screens in 2010 on ABC1 and quickly became a favourite amongst Aussie kids. 

If you never had the chance to watch the show (or you just want to re-watch it) when it first aired, then you’re in luck: both Netflix and Stan are streaming all seasons. But in case you have no clue what the show is about, to sum it up: it revolves around – you guessed it – teenagers at a prestigious dance school. The series is predominately narrated from the perspective of fifteen-year-old Tara Webster in her first year at the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. Throughout the series Tara deals with angst, melodrama, friendships, enemies and of course, dance. Once you’ve completed your epic binge-watching session, see if you agree with these top five moments from the series.

1. The Beginning

Obviously, the beginning of this entire show has to be a top moment. As the National Dance Academy is holding its audition process, we are introduced to the characters for the first time. Tara, wide eyed and eager to enter the world of dance professionally, realises that she might not really have what it takes to purse ballet as a career. Knowing how the series (and subsequently, the movie) ends, it’s heartening to see where everyone began.

2. The Red Shoe Performance

When Grace mocks Tara and vows to win The Prix De Fonteyn dancing to Tara’s solo, Red Shoe, “while you watch”, she quickly becomes disheartened. Abigail, however, takes her under her wing and encourages Tara to perform the original version of Red Shoe, which calls for heightened emotions and expressions of real grief. On the day of the show, Grace’s performance is “technically and artistically perfect”. Abigail dismisses this, though, and says that Grace lacked any emotional depth. When Tara dances on stage, she is overcome with memories of Sammy; her sorrow is both genuine and evident in her performance and she receives a standing ovation, even from Grace.

Ben’s performance was also a defining moment in this series. To be honest, this whole episode could be a top moment.

3. The Memorial

Major spoiler alert! After Sammy’s funeral, the gang decide to throw a small memorial to remember how they met Sammy and for some closure. Everyone decides the memorial should be held at the beach, and the entire scene is heart-breaking. Christian reads a eulogy and a list of fifty things Sammy wanted to achieve before he died; one of the tasks turns out to be having a group of close friends for the rest of his life. The gang stay at the beach all night and once sunshine breaks out, they dance and play in the water to celebrate Sammy.

4. Tara and Christian’s Kiss

It’s a tale as old as time; enemies apparently make the best lovers. Christian, the resident douche, was cold to everyone in the first season and Tara was no exception. He constantly made fun of her, particularly her lack of relationship experience. When Ethan asks the pair to help him with his showreel, forcing them to dance together, their antagonism boils to the surface. After a heated argument, Tara surprises both herself and Christian by kissing him. And so begins the start of a love affair.

5. Meeting THE Natasha Willis

Never meet your heroes, the saying goes, because you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. Tara discovers that Kat’s mother is Natasha Willis, a critically acclaimed ballerina and her greatest idol. She ignores Kate’s warnings about her mother’s self-absorbedness and becomes obsessed in trying to befriend her – even going so far to dye her hair black like Natasha’s. However, when she goes to see Natasha’s performance backstage, she is stunned when Natasha tells the corps de ballet that Tara is the weakest dancer in the studio. Eventually, Tara apologises to Kat and the two rekindle their friendship.

Header image: Dance Academy/Australian Children's Television Foundation

Mansib is a Journalism & Communications student and a lover of history, culture and workplace comedies. Her hobbies include reading, writing, annoying her cat and preparing for a future where society is ruled by robots. 

A Day in the Life of a Ballet Dancer

Interview: Generation Women

5 Tips For Starting Dance Classes As An Adult