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Dance Academy

AKA: Body Beat
 
 
The Dance Academy is a prestigious institution housed in a beautiful mansion, overlooking the pacific ocean.

The profits for the academy have dwindled over recent years, forcing the Director Miss McKenzie (Julie Newmar) to sell up. However, she figures that they can stay if they can work out a way to make it profitable. The anonymous owner of the academy forces her to include a new Jazz Dance program in the curriculum.

The story begins with Vince (Steve LaChance) who gets chased out of his job for being a total idiot. He hitches a ride with some folks who happen to be going to the Dance Academy. When he arrives, he is enjoying the atmosphere so much that he starts to put his karate training to good use and jump around to the music, pulling off a few supple moves. Moon (Tony Dean Fields) the new maverick Jazz Dance teacher notices this and offers him a chance to study at the academy. (You think this sounds absurd, I'm actually writing it!)

Obviously a free-thinking dude, 'Moon' is an unorthodox teacher with radical methods. Miss McKenzie and her Ballet School Director, Percy, don't approve of him and try to find ways to ruin him.

Meanwhile Moon takes these hip and arrogant students and knocks them down to size with the relentless pursuit of perfection in their work. Eventually, they begin to see that he is squeezing out their real talents and the class starts to grow as a unit. Paula Ryan (Paula Nichols) falls in love with Moon and the two record her music together in a recording studio. Vince falls for fellow dancer Jana (Galyn Gorg) and goes to great lengths to win her heart. In one funny scene, he sneaks off to park cars outside the very restaurant he has taken her to, in order to pay for the meal!

Despite attempts to expose Moon's relationship with Paula, Miss McKenzie's tradition-bound ballet school has been truly invaded by the freestyle dancers, and there are plenty of nicely choreographed scenes at nightclubs and in the street where we see their ongoing prowess taking shape.

They start to prepare for their final year production, but will it be a success and will Moon still have a job next year?

Verdict?

Dance Academy is decent entertainment for the carefree musical genre. Of course it's pretentious nonsense, but that's escapism for you! It's quite zany, with fun tongue-in-cheek performances from all involved.

The comedy works, and the strong original 80's music lends weight to the smartly choreographed dance scenes. Steve LaChance as Vince is natural, and fun, and Tony Fields as Moon is pure classic popcorn entertainment.

Not a legendary film by any stretch (no pun intended), but with a video cover that reads 'having fed them the passion, can't stop the reaction' - would you dare argue with Moon, and his legwarmers?

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Fun performances
Great original soundtrack
Smart dance chorography

Weaknesses? Some poor production values
Slightly daft opening.

Our rating: 8 out of 10


Review Written by Simon Barber:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Simon Barber
Dance Academy