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Dance Academy Episode Guide
15-year-old Tara Webster travels to Sydney to audition for the top ballet school in the country, the National Academy of Dance. Tara is confident that all her dreams are about to come true. What Tara doesn't realize is that she's almost impossibly behind in her training... and that there's more to surviving life at the Academy than just dancing. Within a week, Tara has found an unlikely ally in Kat, a sophisticated enemy in Abigail, she's been spotted undressed in the boys' toilets by bad boy Christian, and developed a crush on the school's golden boy, Ethan. Suddenly her world is a much bigger, scarier place.
Tara leaves her home in the country and arrives at the Academy filled with excitement about the year ahead, but she's crushed to learn that she is at the bottom of all her classes and not allowed to dance en pointe until her technique improves. Fortunately, she's not alone: Sammy's at the bottom as well, except he is forced to wear pointe shoes to strengthen his ankles. Strangely, Abigail has requested Tara as a roommate--what Tara doesn't know is that it's to keep a competitive eye on her rather than a gesture of friendship. However, Tara still manages to have fun during orientation week. She jumps from a high balcony into Sydney Harbour with Kat late at night as an initiation ritual, and Ethan even remembers her name! Tara finally sees Abigail has never been a friend and forms a tight trio with Kat and Sammy. Together, they might just make it through the first week, and the rest of the year at Dance Academy!
It is roommate wartime at the Academy: Tara wants to move in with Kat, but Abigail refuses to sign the room swap form. Determined to make Abigail change her mind, Kat sets about playing practical jokes on her until she relents. Meanwhile, Tara's crush on Ethan is growing more intense every day, but she discovers Kat won't tolerate friends dating her brother. Sammy is concerned that Tara's crush will ruin their friendship group and tries to help her realize this by writing a pros and cons list about Ethan... but all it does is make Tara more convinced of her feelings for him. Ethan isn't the only boy complicating Tara's life. Christian, who Tara clashed with during auditions, has arrived at the Academy and seems determined to antagonize her. However, Christian is preoccupied with a secret of his own - he was arrested by the police after committing a robbery, and is forced to stay at the Academy as part of his bail conditions.
The students at the Academy are given trust exercises designed to help them connect with their pas de deux partners. Tara isn't thrilled to learn that Christian is her new partner and is further annoyed when he refuses to participate in the exercise. They've been instructed to ask each other twenty questions and when Christian decides to head to the beach for the day,Tara follows him, along with an unhappy Kat and her blindfolded partner, Sean. Abigail's patience is tested when she's instructed to stay tied by a cord to Sammy for twenty-four hours. Sammy, however, uses the exercise as an opportunity to try to see beneath Abigail's Ice Princess exterior. Meanwhile, Tara finds an unexpected silver lining to her day when Ethan shows up at the beach with some friends. She abandons Kat to flirt with Ethan but ends up being left behind herself and stumbles into trouble with some local thugs. Christian redeems himself by rescuing Tara and despite the conflicts of the day they find a moment of connection on the long walk home.
Sammy's father does not want his son to be a dancer but agreed to let him attend the Academy on the condition that it would not interfere with his academic studies or with proper religious observance. However, with Saturday Synagogue attendance and Saturday ballet class both compulsory, Sammy has been lying to his family and the school... and he's about to be found out! Christian's position at the Academy is also questioned when Mr. Kennedy challenges him to make a long-term commitment to a career as a dancer he has the talent, but he has to do something with it and that means listening to his teachers and letting someone in. Meanwhile, Tara is determined to push Ethan out of her mind to focus on ballet, but this is not as easy as she'd imagined.
Tara is stunned to learn that Kat's mother is Natasha Willis, a world acclaimed ballerina and Tara's greatest idol. However, Kat is unimpressed with Tara's adoration and becomes even more annoyed when Tara dyes her hair black to match Natasha's. Tara ignores her friend's feelings and takes Natasha up on her offer to watch a performance backstage. What she sees shocks Tara into realizing that perhaps Natasha isn't idol material after all. Meanwhile, Sammy's perfect girlfriend Mia has unexpectedly returned from an overseas exchange and he's torn between his loyalty to Mia and his new-found and growing attraction to Abigail. Unable to help himself, Sammy reneges on a date with Mia to take Abigail to Swan Lake, and when Mia discovers Sammy lied to her they're forced to admit their relationship is over.
Ethan needs a dancer for his hip-hop choreography showcase and calls Christian on the favor he owes him. Christian agrees but refuses to dance Ethan's choreography, deeming it wannabe American gangster. He takes Ethan back to his old neighborhood, the housing commission at Maroubra, to show him some real Australian street hip-hop. Ethan is inspired by what he sees but his flirting with Kaylah, a street hip-hop dancer, puts him off side with some of the Maroubra locals and when Kaylah's street-smart cousin Tweak tries to fight him, Ethan finds himself in deeper trouble than he can handle on his own. Fortunately he finds unexpected support from Christian, who arrives just in time to help Ethan defend himself. Meanwhile, Tara's pathetic attempts to make Ethan notice her and Sammy's own burgeoning feelings for a "mystery girl" cause Kat to analyze the nature of crushes. Tara is the self-proclaimed expert on this subject and is happy to educate Kat in every aspect of the mysterious art form, however the girls can't believe it when they discover it is Abigail who Sammy has a crush on.
Growing up is never easy, especially at an elite dance school where your body, its changes and your private life are under constant scrutiny. Tara is sick of being the youngest and Ethan seeing her as just a little kid. Enter Damien Lang, a soloist in the Company who comes from a town close to hers. They soon develop an easy rapport and when Tara is seen talking to him in the corridors, a rumor spreads that they are dating. Tara is overjoyed by this rumor and how it will increase her popularity, but when it becomes a scandal that jeopardizes Damien's career, Tara is forced to admit the humiliating truth. Tara is not the only student dealing with embarrassing situations in public; Abigail is unwilling to accept the changes in her developing body and tries to cover them by diverting from the strict uniform code. Sammy also clashes with the Academy regarding proper dance apparel when he is forced to purchase and wear a male dance belt.
Mocking her friends' obsession with teen popstar Myles Kelly, Kat creates a video of herself dancing to one of his songs and then posts it on the internet. The video proves popular with viewers and as a result the music company invites her to dance in Myles's next video clip. During the shoot Kat criticizes Myles's costumes and choreography so he challenges her to help him create new choreography and a different style for the clip. Myles is so impressed with Kat's efforts that he invites her to be a permanent dancer on his tour. Although a romance is blossoming between them, Kat realizes she can't go it's time she stops following other people around and works out what she wants to do herself. Meanwhile, Kat is not the only one being challenged to prove her talents. Ethan views Christian as a friendly rival and the two boys have begun to compete with each other. Their competitiveness culminates with them dancing against one another to win the sole place in choreographer Dana Strong's holiday workshop. Christian proves to be the stronger dancer, however knowing Ethan wants this opportunity more than he does, Christian secretly rejects Dana's offer and allows Ethan to claim the win.
Christian's past catches up with him when his best mate Aaron comes to stay at the Boarding House and Aaron reveals to Tara, Kat and Sammy the real reason Christian is at the Academy. As the gang begin to think that they may not know their friend as well as they thought they did, Kat's camera goes missing and all blame turns to Aaron. He claims innocence but later uses Christian as an alibi for a much more serious crime, forcing Christian to lie to the police, and jeopardize his position at the Academy. During this, Abigail has continued to restrict her eating and this disorder is now manifesting in other destructive behaviors. She has begun to shoplift and when she's caught with Tara they both land in a lot of trouble. While Tara struggles to understand Abigail's control issues, Christian is left questioning his own lifelong friendship with Aaron and wondering whether old friends are necessarily good friends.
Tara is elated when Ethan asks her to dance in his choreographic assessment piece. Is he finally beginning to see her as a romantic potential? But when she arrives at the studio to find Ethan engrossed in conversation with his mentor - the talented, gorgeous and much older Dana Strong - it's obvious who Ethan has his sights on. Eager to impress Dana with his talents as a choreographer, Ethan pushes Tara mercilessly to dance better. When Ethan, mistaking cockiness for confidence, pushes his flirtations too far, Dana leaves him with instructions to find a mentor who is willing to put up with his ego. While Tara struggles to impress Ethan with her dancing, Kat, Sammy, Abigail and her younger sister Paige head to Luna Park for the day. Abigail struggles to connect with Paige who would prefer to be in the company of Kat and Sammy. The tension between the siblings results in a confrontation at Circular Quay, and Paige runs away from Abigail leaving her distressed and concerned for Paige's safety. Tara eventually catches Ethan's attentions by pouring all her frustrations into dancing his piece. Ethan is so amazed at her performance that he kisses her, but it's not at all how Tara had imagined their first kiss would be.
Pressure is building at the Academy as the students prepare for exams week. Tara tries to ignore her recent "almost-pash" with Ethan so she can focus on her exams; however it's not as easy as she'd hoped. When Ethan attempts to kiss her again, Tara makes a quick exit. Remembering how awkward their first kiss was, she doesn't want to ruin her chances with a terrible second kiss as well and so Tara recruits Kat and Sammy for advice and help. Meanwhile, the other students are under a different kind of pressure. Abigail is determined to score the first year scholarship and stops eating altogether. As her partner in pas de deux, Sammy notices that there's something wrong but Abigail makes him promise not to say anything she'll rest and eat after the exams. However, exhausted and under-nourished, Abigail collapses in the final exam and Sammy realizes he's made a terrible mistake.
It's Open Week at the Academy, when parents watch their children in a series of demonstration classes. Tara is thrilled to see her mum and dad again but when they arrive she is embarrassed that they're not as sophisticated as everyone else's parents. Later, Tara is shocked when her mom tells her the farm is in serious financial trouble. Tara realizes that family is the most important thing and makes a very difficult and adult decision about her future. However, Tara is given a second chance when Miss Raine announces she's won the first year scholarship, enabling her to continue at the Academy. Meanwhile, Kat feels betrayed that Natasha has reneged on a family holiday she'd promised in order to dance in yet another international ballet. Kat seeks revenge by 'borrowing' Natasha's credit card for an expensive shopping spree. Sammy also suffers disappointment when his father fails to attend any classes, and he is left wondering if his father will ever accept that he wants to be a dancer. Sammy is also concerned about Abigail who is still recovering at home, and takes matters into his own hands when her mother prevents him from visiting her. Christian, who has no family to visit him, unexpectedly forms an easy connection with Tara's dad, Neil. Ethan however has trouble connecting with Neil who views Ethan as a spoiled, rich city kid and isn't thrilled that Ethan is dating his daughter.
Tara returns from the school holidays on top of the world she has great friends, a gorgeous boyfriend, the first year scholarship and is finally allowed to dance en pointe. Kat introduces Tara to her new boyfriend Lucas, a "diplobrat" she met while on holiday with her mother in Europe. Tara immediately dislikes him but doesn't reveal her aversion to Kat, who convinces Tara to go to a warehouse party in the city with them despite it being the night before the first day of school; it will be the "defining night" of their friendship. However at the party Tara is stranded outside with no phone or wallet. Fortunately Christian arrives to help and together they make their way back to the boarding house sharing an unexpected, totally off limits, romantic moment! Meanwhile, Abigail is struggling to convince her therapist to allow her to return to ballet classes after her collapse last semester. Sammy, who has been her constant companion throughout the holidays, tries to convince Abigail to help him out with the ballroom dance classes that he is taking for his grandmother and her friends. (TV-PG)
Tensions are flaring between Tara and Christian since their romantic moment beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge and it's only made worse when Ethan asks them to help him with his showreel, forcing them to dance together. Their antagonism culminates in an argument on the banks of the harbor, where Tara surprises herself by kissing Christian. Shocked by her actions, she flees the scene, leaving Christian equally confused. However, Tara is not the only student getting herself into trouble Kat is caught missing classes to attend a music festival with new boyfriend Lucas, and as punishment is forced to "volunteer" at a local dance center for underprivileged children. Expecting the worst, Kat is surprised when she forms an unlikely connection with a fiery young girl named Scout. Kat offers to take the class to the dress rehearsal of a television dance show, however when she later forgets about the excursion, the director of the center warns Kat that he can't expose the children to someone who is going to disappoint them. Life at the Academy is further complicated by the arrival of Petra Hoffman, the new German exchange student, who becomes Kat's new roommate. Petra, feeling lonely in a new country, befriends a lost dog and hides him in the Boarding House. Kat and Tara help Petra find the dog's owners, cementing a friendship with her in the process. (TV-PG)
Hurt when her parent's ignore her 16th birthday, Kat throws a huge party at their Harbour-front home. The house quickly fills with people and events spiral out of control. Kat gets drunk and Lucas tries to take advantage of her, but fortunately Christian is around to rescue her in time. Kat then pours her heart out to Christian and ends up kissing him. Petra drinks jelly shots unaware that they contain alcohol and Sammy and Abigail are forced to look after her. Meanwhile, Tara can't seem to get Christian out of her head and she's having trouble focusing on ballet and Ethan. Confused about her feelings, Tara arrives at the party determined to end her relationship with Ethan, however when she sees Christian kissing Kat, Tara flees the party drawing attention to her dilemma. Abigail takes full advantage of the situation and sends a damning photo of Christian and Tara to Kat's phone. The situation goes from bad to worse when Christian ends up in a street fight with Lucas and the police are called to shut the party down. At the Academy the next day all the students are in trouble for attending the party and placed on detention. Kat is on probation until further notice. (TV-PG)
It is school camp time and everyone is dreading the trip away, especially Tara who is on the outer. Kat still isn't talking to her former best friend and Tara is further humiliated when photos of her kissing Christian keep appearing everywhere. Tara believes Kat is the culprit and confronts her about it. Kat denies the accusation and their argument results in a physical mud fight during a performance in the bush. Kat and Tara are sent to the camp showers where Petra, tired of their childish bickering, steals their clothes in an attempt to force them to work it out. Meanwhile, Abigail is banned from dance class until she completes her English essay, and Sammy has been assigned as her tutor. When he discovers that Abigail has been cheating, he confronts her about it but doesn't initially realize it's because Abigail believes she is stupid. Sammy works hard to convince Abigail that she has brains, she's not just a dancing body, and is rewarded for his efforts with a kiss from the girl of his dreams! (TV-PG)
Petra is thrilled when Mr. Kennedy invites her to stay in Sydney at the Academy, however when the Berlin Ballet Company offers her a contract she has a difficult choice to make her lifelong dream or the chance to spend the next few years as a student and a teenager? It's good news to everyone when Petra decides to stay, except for Abigail who sees her as a serious threat. Abigail engineers it so that Petra and Tara miss their rostered time to help with the auditions for the Junior School's Summer Program which lands them in hot water with Miss Raine. Thinking they have a free afternoon, Petra and Tara, along with and Sammy, celebrate by going out for a picnic in the Botanical Gardens. Petra has a serious crush on Sammy and now that she is staying in Australia she'd like something to happen between them. Meanwhile, Kat learns that Scout is auditioning for the junior school but her offers to help are rebuffed because she is still not forgiven for disappointing Scout last time. However, when Scout misses out on a place, Kat enlists Christian's help to get her another audition. At the same time Sammy and Abigail have begun secretly kissing, but while Sammy wants to make their relationship public, Abigail insists it remains behind closed doors. In the end Petra decides to go home to Germany, to her family and to live her dream but she will remember the friends she made at Dance Academy forever. (TV-PG)
Junior footballers from the Institute of Sport have been sent to the National Academy for a week of specialized training in order to improve their elevation, coordination and flexibility. Tension between the footballers and male dancers soon erupts and the challenge is on to prove which is the toughest sport. The footballers must learn a routine and dance it with no mistakes, while the ballet boys must score once in a game of touch football. Meanwhile Sammy and Abigail continue their secret relationship, but Sammy insists on knowing where he stands. Abigail refuses to go public and proves to him that a kiss doesn't mean anything, by kissing one of the football players. Tara is caught up in her own competition; Miss Raine is pitting her against Abigail in nightly private classes, intending to use their rivalry to drive each other harder. Tara doesn't like the person she becomes when she uses Abigail's vulnerabilities to get ahead. By the end of the week, alliances have formed between the two groups of athletes and the dancers learn from the footballers how to work as a team. (TV-PG)
With a solo coming up in the Patron's Showcase, Tara is working harder than ever, for the first time completely focused on ballet. Kat diagnoses this as severe case of "Ballet Fever" and the afternoon before the performance orders her to get away from the Academy. On the ferry going to the beach, Tara finds herself next to Christian the last person she wants to spend time with - however over the course of the sunny afternoon, they forget all the reasons they're not supposed to be together and fall in love. Back on earth, Sammy has only been given an understudy role in the classical section of the Showcase and he's desperate to show Miss Raine that he's better than that. Sammy is crushed when his girlfriend, Abigail, tells him he should just accept it. Meanwhile, Kat feels like she's stuck between lovesick Sammy and ballet fevered Tara, right now the only highlight in her life is the hip hop dance they are performing in the showcase. This is why she is livid when she discovers the Board has decided to cut this subject from the curriculum - her mother is on the Board and she blames her for this decision. Kat decides to take matters into her own hands by staging a surprise hip hop demonstration. It's not the result she intended and she learns something new about her mother. While Tara and Christian, having lost track of time, are running late for the performance, Tara slips and badly injures her leg. Reality comes crashing down. (TV-PG)
It's a month since Tara's injury and her plaster is due to come off, but Tara seems much more focused on her new boyfriend, Christian, and planning the school formal than she is in attending her doctors' appointment. Sammy and Abigail decide to take their relationship to the next level the night of the formal. Abigail wants it to be special and Sammy goes all out to make this happen but when the time comes he realizes it doesn't feel right and has to tell Abigail he can't go through with it. Meanwhile Damien Lang - a soloist in the Company, who has the exact same injury as Tara - is unable to dance again and a rumor spreads that the Company is contemplating a shuffle-up, taking a Third Year in early. Ethan gets the word that the early contract will go to him. At his medical examination, Ethan discovers that Tara has missed her doctor's appointment and he is the person who she confides in that she likes being injured, she likes not dancing. Ethan convinces her that she wouldn't feel this way if it was forever and Tara gets her plaster off. However, before the formal Miss Raine tells her that she must choose once and for all; does she want to be a dancer or does she want to be an ordinary teenager? Deep in Tara's heart she knows that dancing comes first and this means breaking up with Christian to concentrate on her rehab. When they fight over her recent closeness with Ethan, and the fact she confided in him and not Christian, Tara lets her true love walk away leaving her alone on the dance-floor of the dream formal she has created. (TV-PG)
The date for Christian's sentencing hearing has been set but his defense strategy relies on his best mate, and co-accused, Aaron to admit that he was the one who brought the knife to the robbery. However, Aaron has vanished and as Christian's calls to him go unanswered, he loses hope that he'll avoid juvenile detention. Christian decides to stop playing by other people's rules and spend the rest of the time he has left doing all the things he's always wanted. It takes Sammy's loyal friendship to stop Christian from throwing away everything he's worked for and go back to the Academy. During this, Tara has been working hard in rehab and the time has come for her to go back to dancing but she's scared she's not ready and will get injured again. Ethan has been her coach, using the time he spends with Tara to avoid signing his Company contract, because he's no longer sure it's what he wants. Both realize they need to face their fears in order to reach their dreams. Abigail also has to be brave and accept that there are problems in her relationship with Sammy. It takes Kat's illegal hip hop class and some advice from an old friend for Abigail to realize she has to end things with Sammy. grandmother and her friends." (TV-PG)
The time has finally arrived for Christian to face his punishment for the robbery; luckily Sammy is there to help him prepare for court. But when Aaron returns, Christian's conscience gets the better of him and he changes his story to protect his friend. Concerned by the path Christian is taking, Sammy enlists the help of Christian's oldest friend Kaylah to try and convince him to change his mind. As Kaylah hugs Christian in support, Tara sees them and her jealousy rears it head. When she discovers that Christian has a court hearing and hasn't confided in her about any of it she lets loose how could he not tell her? Christian's response is that she doesn't know him and if she's honest she doesn't want to, and Tara is left with the decision of whether to go and support Christian in court. Meanwhile, Ethan has received interest from a company in Spain who are looking to take on young choreographers. Feeling abandoned yet again, Kat devises a plan to get Tara and Ethan back together so that he will stay in Sydney, but her plan backfires when both Tara and Ethan see through her machinations. It takes a conversation with Abigail for Kat to realize that people aren't always abandoning her. At the end of the day, the entire gang goes to support Christian at which point Aaron's own conscience is pricked and he tells Christian that he won't let him lie for him. (TV-PG)
In the weeks since the court hearing, Sammy and Christian have been inseparable. In fact, they've made a pact of brotherhood from now on, they will forget all about girls and be an island of man. Sammy is elated; he's never had such a good guy friend. However, when Christian ditches Sammy to spend time with Tara, what Sammy feels is uncomfortably a lot like jealousy. Kat asks him whether he's developed a man crush on his friend and, while Sammy scoffs at this, over time he has to wonder whether she's right and worse, whether it's more than that? What if he likes Christian as more than just a friend? At the same time, auditions for the end of year production of The Nutcracker are upon them and Kat and Ethan's father - the internationally acclaimed Sebastian Karamakov is directing the ballet. Ethan tries to impress his father with his plans for choreography but is told he is over-reaching and invited to be Sebastian's assistant instead. As auditions loom, Abigail's plans are derailed when she has to look after her little sister Paige who reveals that their parents are separating. The news hits Abigail hard but she manages to bury the pain and focus entirely on her audition. Tara approaches her audition differently; she's just happy to be able to dance again and does so without any expectations of what will follow. Kat drops a bombshell when she walks out of her audition, sending a clear signal to her father about how she feels about The Nutcracker. When the roles are announced Abigail is thrilled to discover she has a solo role, but she wouldn't be so happy if she knew that Tara has been given the even bigger role of Clara. (TV-PG)
Rehearsals for The Nutcracker are underway and Tara has been thrown into the deep end. Her excitement over performing the lead role of Clara soon turns to apprehension then devastation, as her rehearsals get progressively worse. Understudy Abigail is learning the choreography faster than Tara and she uses ridicule to undermine Tara's confidence. Sammy's confused feelings towards Christian distress him, so he unsuccessfully tries to avoid him. Christian misinterprets Sammy's avoidance as a rejection and confronts him and Sammy is forced to tell Christian how he feels. By refusing to dance in the production, Kat finds herself relegated to the costume department, where she finds an enticing distraction in Myles Kelly, who has returned from his world tour and wants to spend every spare second he can with her. Myles presents Kat with a life changing offer she's not sure how she can refuse. (TV-PG)
The end of year production has arrived and on-stage at the Opera House, Tara continues to perform her Act 2 solo so badly that the director, Sebastian Karamakov, tells her he is seriously considering replacing her with Abigail. While getting her Act 2 costume fitted, Tara learns that many famous ballerinas before her also wore the same nightgown. This knowledge gives her confidence and Tara begins to perform her solo perfectly, believing she's only able to dance well when she's wearing the nightgown. Sammy also faces adversity when he learns his parents are refusing to pay for his tuition next year, regardless of his good marks. He begs his father to come to the performance, believing that if he saw him dance he'd change his mind. Meanwhile, Kat has told Myles she is going to come away with him on the road trip of her dreams; however this decision is complicated when she confides in Christian about her predicament and he makes it clear that she's running away from everyone who loves her. Kat disregards this advice and still leaves with Myles, it's not until she gets a panicked phone call from Tara that she realizes she's made a terrible mistake. Her friend needs her! Abigail has hidden Tara's sacred costume and when Tara discovers it isn't there she has major stage fright and can't go on. Eventually, overcome with guilt, Abigail helps convince Tara that the nightgown is only a costume, the magic lives inside her. As Tara steps out on-stage she stumbles but then performs the solo of her life. Surrounded by her Academy family, Tara dances more beautifully than we've ever seen her. Finally Tara Webster has her wish: she is flying. (TV-PG)