Dance Academy: The movie

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Short takes

Not recommended under 12; parental guidance recommended 12 to 14 due to themes and disturbing scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Dance Academy: The movie
  • a review of Dance Academy: The movie completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 April 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to themes and disturbing scenes
Children 12 to 14 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and disturbing scenes
Viewers aged 14 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Dance Academy: The movie
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Dance Academy: The Movie is a follow-on from the 2010-2013 Australian TV series Dance Academy. In the original series lead character Tara Webster (Xenia Goodwin) was destined to become one of the great dancers of her generation until she slipped during her final performance and broke her back. It has now been eighteen months since her fall and Tara and her friends from the academy Christian (Jordan Rodrigus), Abigall (Dena Kaplan), Ben (Thomas Lacey), Kat (Alicia Banit) and Ollie (Keiynan Lonsdale) have moved on.

Tara is now all but recovered and is about to sue the Sydney Dance Academy for a million dollars’ compensation. However, she still dreams of being a dancer and when she is told by the Academy director Madeline Monour (Miranda Otto) that she still has potential and should follow her dream, Tara drops her compensation claim and applies to audition for a place in the Academy’s next production. When she is not successful, she becomes obsessed with proving the Academy wrong.

Tara now moves to New York where she hopes to join the New York Dance Academy. She endures many trials and pushes herself to the edge in her attempt to achieve her goal, resulting in some severe consequences for both Tara and her friends. In the end Tara realises that she has been chasing the wrong dream for the wrong reasons and makes some unexpected decisions.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Dance training and careers: injury; competition; terminal illness

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Two young women have a heated argument and shout at each other

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • The film contains several slow motion scenes depicting Tara slipping on a bead while performing and then crashing to the floor; we hear that she broke her back in the fall. We also see her lying on a hospital trolley being rushed to hospital and later lying inside an imaging machine.  X-ray pictures show two large screws in her spine.
  • In other scenes we see surreal images of Tara trapped beneath the surface of the water as if drowning.
  • A young woman is nearly hit by a truck while crossing the road
  • Scenes of dancers treating injuries, such as bandaging a red and swollen knee and cutting away a large blister.
  • A young woman, as a result of psychological trauma, breaks down crying and then runs off.
  • We see a young man with a medical tube in the side of his neck and learn that he is suffering from cancer. In an emotionally intense scene we see the same man lying on a hospital trolley, unconscious with an oxygen mask covering his face, while his friends appear distraught and crying.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be upset by some of the above-mentioned scenes, particularly Tara’s injury and the young man with cancer

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Most viewers in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • iPhones; Toyota cars; McDonalds

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • a young couple talk about being in love and about living in a permanent relationship
  • some sexy dancing

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • several scenes of a young man and woman kissing passionately
  • a young woman in bed with bare shoulders
  • male dancers display bare torsos
  • young women in skimpy clothing

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • social drinking by young adults
  • cancer medications     

Coarse language

Nothing of concern

In a nutshell

Dance Academy: The movie is based upon the award-winning ABC TV series of the same name and is likely to appeal to teenage dance fans and followers of the original TV series. Because of some intense themes and scenes of injury and terminal illness, the film is not recommended for children under 12 and parental guidance is recommended for the 12 to 14 age group.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Never give up on your dreams  - stay determined and persevere. 
  • Sometimes events occur that cause us to re-evaluate our lives and what we once considered to be the most important ends up being the least important. 
  • The importance of supportive and selfless friends