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5 Shows like Dance Academy: Drama Down Under

Laura Light itcherWhether it’s comedy, drama, political satire, soap opera or something else, Australia sure isn’t short of gripping TV shows. Some of those shows transcend shifting trends in television, and will remain cult hits for many years, while others… not so much. So here’s to MORE stunning landscape, plus ADDED teenage drama and EXTRA snarky attitudes! We must check out ‘The Saddle Club’, ‘Blue Water High’, and ‘H2O: Just Add Water’, all awesome TV shows like ‘Dance Academy’. ~ Laura Light

Grab Your Swimming Togs

Okay, so I’m a thirty something living in the UK, and stumbled across this show thanks to NetFlix. It kept suggesting this to me and I kept writing it off, I mean, why would I want to watch a show about a bunch of teens that dance?!​​

Being a glutton for anything concerning Australia though, I thought I’d give it a shot, and wow, was I amazed!

I could sit here all day and extol the virtues of this show. Instead, here’s three series similar to ‘Dance Academy’ that, like the series, show off the beautiful country that is Australia.


Shows Similar to ‘Dance Academy’…

‘The Saddle Club’ (Nine Network, 2001‐2010)

Well, you’re in for a treat.

‘The Saddle Club’ reminds me of Walt Disney’s 1955‐58 ‘Spin and Marty’. Both shows are hard to beat, mainly because, most kids top fantasy is to hang out with horses ALL THE TIME. Instead of singing songs around the campfire, the girls are shown singing in a recording studio in the closing credits (which all adds to the imaginary, of course).

Both shows are little gems that kids will love until ages 11 to 13, secretly watch for another year, and then come back to in their 30s, wishing they were that age again. The real gem here is the Australian countryside. It’s beautiful, and while I agree it’s a bit weird that the characters in ‘The Saddle Club’ book series (by Bonnie Bryant) were based in Virginia, USA, this takes nothing away from the story itself! Kind of makes me wish I was ten again…

Similarity Match: 95%
It’s fundamentally the same story; however ‘Dance Academy’ shows us stunning views of The National Dance Academy near Circular Quay, whereas ‘The Saddle Club’ is based on greener land.

‘Blue Water High’ (ABC, 2005‐2008)

There’s a play in the mountains, not far from here with cabins and hikes and stuff… maybe… one day… we could… you know…

The plot of this show is basically all about a group of seven teenagers who have won a kind of scholarship to learn advanced surfing. Two of them, at the end of a one year contract will be able to become youth representatives of Solarblue Co., a company that designers surfing clothes.

It’s what I call a stereotypical Aussie program. The teens are hot, the weather is fine and the surf is good. If only life could really be this cool…

Similarity Match: 90%
While ‘Blue Water High’ certainly shows off the Australian coastline, it also opts for a more serious and sombre approach to its cast and plot.

‘H2O: Just Add Water’ (Network Ten, 2006‐2010)

Don’t ever talk to sea‐perch. You never can trust those fish.

This is not just a kids’ show, I swear!

One of the main reasons I love this show is because it not only involves relationships and great friendships but also a bit of teen heartache, without the filthy language.

The show is well developed from season to season, as are the characters. The script itself is pure genius (if you watch it you will see what I mean) – there are some hilarious one‐liners that had me barking out loud! Check it out; I swear it’s not all hugs and puppies!

Similarity Match: 85%
While both shows benefit from the gorgeous landscape, it’s the teen anguish and star crossed love affairs that really bring this show to life.


If You Like ‘Dance Academy’, You Will Like…

Love all things Australian but can’t afford a ticket? Don’t stress! We have just about as much culture here in the UK as our sunny counterparts. Okay, so we don’t have the weather, or the strapping coast lines, but we have Big Ben, Stonehenge and, well… the Houses of Parliament, right? Come on… bear with me here and check out these next two TV series like ‘Dance Academy’ that show our glorious country off, teen style!

‘House of Anubis’ (Nickelodeon, 2011‐2013)

I am British. I don’t understand your jokes.

When one of their number disappears on the same day that an American girl joins their ranks, a group of English boarding school students embarks on solving the mystery.

Nickelodeon finally made a series that entertains kids and adults from 7‐99! I personally love this show! The mysteries, twists and turns, as well as a hint of comedy, makes this show real interesting. But I have to say… The acting is terrible. So if you like a good plot and can ignore the actors, then this show is for you.

While it touches on the school and its historical location, it’s more about the quests and magic then what actually happens there.

‘Some Girls’ (BBC Three, 2012‐2014)

You’re looking at pictures of naked girls on your boyfriend’s phone. Why are you so happy?

This show has everything I want in a British teen comedy: a diverse group of girls who go through the trials and tribulations of being a teen. Sure, they gush about their crushes and worry about their legs looking hairy, but they also play football together and deal with family drama and everything else that a normal teenage girl experiences. The show’s diversity is a huge plus for me, especially since the main character is a black chick. We just don’t get enough shows like that!

Both shows portray inner city life, although ‘Dance Academy’ is set in the posh area of Circular Quay, Australia, whereas this is based in a poor city in damp Britain.


Other Shows to Watch Out For

Have a look at ‘Wolfblood’ and ‘Merlin’ (find more great similar shows here), both BBC shows that really put our stunning country on the map!
Mad As a Meat Axe

If you are as crazy as me for Australian TV, then have a look at ‘Terra Nova’. Okay, so it’s about dinosaurs and saving the future, but anyone who has visited the hinterland recently will know this made‐for‐TV concoction is not so far from reality. Well, that is except for the dinosaurs…

Of course I may also have missed out two VERY big Aussie shows (numbers four and nine on this list) that I just can’t remember the name of?! Maybe you can help me out?

Have you got a favourite series that reminds you of Australia?

Let me know in the comments below!

Hi ya, I’m Laura, a BA Creative Writing and Film graduate. A self-confessed geek, you’re normally find me tucked away in the back row at the cinema, with vast amounts of chocolate and surfing the net on my phone. A freelance writer specialising in digital marketing and audio, when I’m not creating new blogs, I’m trying to dream up my next big idea!
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