Dance Academy: New kids on the block

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ABC's new teenage drama allows Jordan Rodrigues to take to the dance floor.

Move over So You Think You Can Dance Australia and High School Musical -- the kids of Dance Academy are about to burst on your screen.

The new ABC teenage drama spans 26 episodes filmed in Sydney. It follows six teenagers attending the National Academy of Dance, and is seen through the eyes of ambitious ballerina Tara Webster, played by newcomer Xenia Goodwin.

Another face in the ensemble is more well-known to viewers, former Home and Away actor Jordan Rodrigues. In the series he gets to prove he has dancing skills as well as his acting.

Currently training in a full-time performing arts course, Rodrigues is now brushing up on his singing. At this rate he could become a "triple threat" actor/singer/dancer.

"I'd like to say I'm a triple threat," he laughs. "I love all types of performing arts and singing is just another one I enjoy thoroughly. But I wouldn't like to say I'm a 100 per cent dancer or I'm a 90 per cent singer or whatever. I just like performing arts."

Filming of Dance Academy has been a vastly different experience for Rodrigues, 17, especially with the dancing rehearsals that have been required of its young performers.

"Some days would go so quickly and then some of the days would go really slowly. It's a lot longer because we have to have acting rehearsals and dance rehearsal," he said.

"They use different choreographers for each different styles of dance. We have Sarah Boulter for contemporary and Marko Panzic for hip hop."

The show also tackles adolescent issues set against the performing arts themes.

"I don't want to give too much away but there's a lot of teenage issues," he said. "While you're growing up, especially in the teenage years you kind of forget who you are due to peer pressure."

Rodrigues was first cast in the stage musical of The Lion King at the age of 10 at the beckoning of his mother, but now he loves both stage and television.

"I went to that audition and I got it. So from the age of 10 to 13 I was Simba in The Lion King. I had no training before that, so after that I started dancing, singing, acting a lot more. I started training because I just loved it.

"I don't have a preference because I enjoy both. They're completely different. In musicals you're on stage live with an audience and it's just invigorating. TV is more intricate. I think television you can put more detail into it."

Dance Academy premieres 5:20pm Monday on ABC1.

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