Dance Life Season 1 Review – Easily one of the best shows of the year so far

Season 1

 

 

Episode Rating

Welcome to Brent Street
Taking The Lead
Fractured Dreams
Can We Skip To The Good Part?
Grad

Dance Life is the latest dance-related reality TV show on Amazon Prime… and it’s easily a contender for one of the best shows of the year. Taking what worked so well in Netflix’s Cheer and blending that in with raw talent, dancing prowess and hard, gruelling dance routines, Dance Life really shows the ins and out of how hard this artform can be to perfect – and what a cutthroat world it is in this field.

Split across 5 episodes, the show brings together the best dancers from around the world as they embark on their senior year at Brent Street Performing Arts. With dancing conducted from 9-4, everybody wants to make it big and senior year is all about getting those commercial contracts to go big. Training at the Academy includes every genre, from ballet and jazz through to contemporary, all for the chance of perfecting a huge show at the end, aptly titled “Grad Showcase”.

Along the way we follow a host of different colourful characters from all walks of life. The show does an excellent job in capturing the diversity of the dancing field, from hungry, driven Tiana who thrives on being grilled like the drill surgeon from Full Metal Jacket, to Max S, who doesn’t know anything other than dance in his life.

Each of the kids have their own backstory, which we follow across the 5 episodes. There are, of course, some gut-wrenching stories, like Emily’s difficult backstory or Archer having to deal with haters, but it all feeds into the larger narrative of sacrifice and grit. The latter is especially evident here, as all the kids are pushed to their breaking point.

There are injuries along the way, plenty of heartache, disappointments and difficult moments. Likewise though, there are also little victories including a spectacular dance move being pulled off during rehearsal, or a dancer turning into a diamond under the pressure and standing out from the crowd. All of this crescendos into the final episode, where we see all this hard work pay off during the Grad Showcase.

What’s particularly great here, from a technical perspective, is how the camera moves (or doesn’t, as the case may be). Too often do we see the camera cut rapidly and show close-up shots of performers rather than showing the whole performance in other shows and it doesn’t let you appreciate the technical side of the dancing.

Dance Life then cleverly hangs the camera for long-cuts during big group performances on stage, allowing us to actually see how all the moves work together in tandem. There are slow-mo shots for backflips or other jumps to really appreciate the technicality, and of course a few close-up shots, but it’s mostly all about the performances with these hanging cameras.

Overall though, Dance Life is a great show. It’s a little underrated gem on Amazon Prime that’s a simple but addictive watch. You’ll find yourself rooting for every individual and wish them all the success in the world – and it’s hard not to get emotional during the backstage scenes toward the end. This is easily one of the best shows of the year; a raw, authentic docu-series that showcases exactly what reality TV should be.

 

Read More: Dance Life – Episode 5 Recap, Review & Ending Explained


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  • Verdict - 9/10
    9/10
9/10

1 thought on “Dance Life Season 1 Review – Easily one of the best shows of the year so far”

  1. I came across this tonight and watched the first 3 episodes. I absolutely love it and hope it continues for many seasons.
    “The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.” — Charles Baudelaire

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