SPOILER ALERT: This post reveals some important plot elements from seasons one and two of Dance Academy.
MUSH ALERT: This post is one of those ones.
As I’ve been excitedly boasting, my new year’s food resolutions have been going very well. There were two other things I’d promised to do every day in January: I would walk for 60 minutes a day and I would write 1500 words of PhD every day. These resolutions have been going a lot more patchily than the eating. And I didn’t mind, because I was still making progress and I can’t do everything.
On Thursday, I discovered a new avenue of procrastination and Phd-avoidance. There’s a TV show on Netflix called Dance Academy. I knew that I’d like it just from the name. It’s an Australian teen drama set in a dance school. And if you don’t think I’d like that just from the description, then I wonder if you know me at all.
And it’s magnificent. It’s very teenage drama, full of emotions that are felt a bit too strongly and dreams that are a bit too big, just like mine. And by the second episode, I had my favourite character. Sammy is a skinny young guy, whose friends are all girls and who is constantly battling with his father, who wants him to be a doctor and not a dancer. He’s likeable, a little cheeky but lacking in self-confidence and generally at the bottom of the class.
I grew to like Sammy’s character a lot. When it became clear that an episode would centre on his character, rather than on Tara or Ethan or Abigail or one of the other dancers, I would squeal with glee and cuddle my pillow extra hard. And I kept on watching the show, episode after episode.
Sammy shares a bedroom with Christian, a gruff young man from the wrong side of the tracks. Initially, they don’t get on, but after a while Christian grows to see what a good guy Sammy is and starts to trust him. They become close. Sammy is delighted to have his first real “guy friend”. Then, out of nowhere, Sammy realises that he has romantic feelings for the straight Christian. And he doesn’t want to ruin his first guy friendship with these feelings. I replayed the episodes with this storyline over and over again. And the series played out his “confused sexuality” plot out very well.
Eventually, Sammy does get a real boyfriend. And he rises to the top of his class, and starts competing internationally. And then, out of nowhere, at the end of the second series, Sammy dies. At this stage, even though I’d only been watching the show for four days, I thought I was Sammy. And when he died, I cried and I cried and I cried. I spent an entire hour sitting on the sofa crying. Crying about Sammy, but crying about me too.
And then something happened to me that hasn’t happened in a long time. I didn’t want food to deal with my feelings. I really didn’t. I was feeling really emotional, and I did what my body told me to do. I put on my jacket and I went out and I walked for over an hour. I was on auto-pilot, barely aware of what I was doing. And I walked fast. I nearly ran, I had so many feelings. And I began to feel so much better. Is this the new me? The only time in the last four years that I didn’t deal with emotions through food/drinking/smoking or some other type of consumption was in the first six months of 2012. And that was when I was running. And I felt so much better for it then. And I came out and I started dating again and I wrote a whole chapter of my PhD and I passed my continuation.
And here I am again. Having emotions and dealing with them through exercise. And while I was walking down the hill by the Dartry Dye Works, the song that came on my shuffle was “This is it!” by Melba Moore. “This is it! This time I know it’s for real!” And this is it. I could actually feel a missing piece joining the puzzle in my head.
I’m back. And I’ve turned it up to 11. No more waiting.