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Dance Academy Movie Premier

BY Jasmine Morris / University of Western Australia | 03-Apr-2017
“I always knew that in another life I could fly. Which is why in this life I dance.” I had the privilege of attending the world premiere of Dance Academy: The Movie to take a first look at the highly anticipated follow up to the popular ABC television series of the same name. There was excitement in the air as numerous fans flocked to the red carpet. I was among the lucky few who had the opportunity to go behind the scenes to discuss the making of the film with the cast and crew.
Alicia Bannitt and Jasmine Morris
Director Jeffrey Walker was glowing over the warm reception from the fans. After a lot of hard work, he was excited to see the film come to fruition. Initially showing in Australia and New Zealand, Dance Academy will be distributed internationally, if it continues to get positive reviews. When asked whether there would be sequel movie, Walker was enthusiastic. “It all depends on the audience, but as life goes on there is potential for another film” he said.

Alicia Banit, who plays Kat was looking forward to the audience being able to see the film, “I enjoyed my experience shooting the film, as we had more time to focus on scenes, particularly the elements of dance”. The process was a fun one for Banit, as the cast and crew were akin to family and they worked and got along great with each other. In contrast, whilst he also had fun making the movie, Nic Westaway who steps in the role of Xavier found his role “challenging”, as he was playing a character that was quite different to himself. According to Nic, “there are some great funny, touching moments in the movie” and he was attracted to the project in the first place due to the “well written, captivating script”.

Also on the red carpet was BAFTA Award nominated actress Tara Morice (Strictly Ballroom), who plays Miss Raine in the film and television series. We spoke about the difference between filming for television and for the big screen, and the fact that more time is allowed for cinema. “It was nice seeing all the younger cast grow up from the television series to the movie. It felt like one big family” Morice said. “When we were initially producing the show, none of us saw Dance Academy being so successful that it would lead to a movie”. An unusual fun fact about Tara is that she likes giggling and laughing. Sometimes she finds it hard not to giggle in serious scenes.

Amongst the red-carpet stars, was Thomas Lacey who plays Ben, a fun-loving character who plays life to the fullest and Dena Kaplan, who plays Abigail. Dena wouldn’t give away the secret of her favourite scene, but she did say that the movie was an “uplifting and inspiring experience to film and watch”. The star of the night Xenia Goodwin, who plays Tara also stopped over for a chat. For Xenia, the best thing about making the film was being able to revisit the character of Tara when she had grown up a little bit. “There was a lot packed into the film, sad moments, laughs and intense moments”. While she has, a lot planned coming up, Xenia is focusing on one thing at a time and concentrating on the release of Dance Academy for now.

It was great to catch up with the Dance Academy cast and crew, after watching them on my screens for years. I was also extremely excited for Australian cinema, which is flourishing with good talent and great ideas. Dance Academy debuts in Australian cinemas on 6 April 2017.

Dena Kaplan

Nic Westaway

Xenia Goodwin and Jasmine Morris