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    18 May 2020

    It's Time We Finally Talk About How Traumatic Sammy's Death Was On "Dance Academy"

    Still can't watch Sammy's Prix de Fonteyn performance without tearing up, tbh.

    Hey, hello. Grab a snack and some tissues because I'm about to take you down an emotional, yet nostalgic, rollercoaster.

    Silver Link / TV Tokyo

    The year was 2013 and many of us were thoroughly invested in the sheer drama that was Dance Academy, an iconic Aussie kids' show about a bunch of teens attending Sydney's National Dance Academy.

    ABC

    Now, Dance Academy was a little cringey at times — but it had a lot of heart. The characters were fun, extremely relatable and it was incredible to watch them perform all those complicated dance sequences.

    ABC / Via youtube.com

    Was I the only one that watched the show and then had dreams about becoming a dancer — even though I was already a teenager and definitely missed my window, lol?

    And although there were a lot of great characters, one of the best — hands down — had to be Sammy Lieberman. Besides being the sweetest angel to exist, Sammy overcame a bunch of personal struggles throughout the entire series.

    ABC

    In case you don't remember, Sammy came from a conservative Jewish family — who had their eyes set on him becoming a doctor. And after he broke the news about his dreams of becoming a dancer, Sammy's father stopped supporting him. While all that was going on, Sammy was also coming to terms with his sexual identity, as well as trying get top marks at the academy, so he could prove that he made the right choice to his family.

    Which is why it was absolutely gut-wrenching when his character was killed off at the end of Season 2.

    ABC / Netflix

    It started off as a seemingly normal episode, with Sammy getting in a morning run before the excitement of the Prix de Fonteyn, a prestigious ballet competition that him and Tara had been training their arses off for.

    ABC / Netflix

    Sammy even leaves a voicemail on Tara's phone, which is adorable considering how hard they've both worked to get to where they are.

    Time rewinds to the day before, where Sammy — who is performing a contemporary solo — has had a realisation that he dances the best alongside his friends. He proposes that he dances with all of them onstage, which they don't go along with.

    ABC / Netflix

    Keep in mind a stunt like this would have most likely gotten Sammy disqualified from the competition.

    Later that day, Sammy chooses to do a tech rehearsal of his choreography in front of Abigail. As she soon discovers, Sammy's performance is set against a compilation video of his friends dancing.

    ABC / Netflix

    It's like they're onstage with him. 😭

    It also starts off with an emotional voiceover from Sammy, which reads: "Every dancer knows that being technically perfect isn't enough. We need to know why we dance. For me, it's to be connected. I'm inspired by my friends."

    ABC / Netflix

    Oh, Sammy — sweet, sweet, darling Sammy. This message could sum up his whole experience at the academy, really. He was never the most technically proficient dancer, but he tried the hardest and remained loyal to his friends, who became his everything.

    I don't know about you, but every time I rewatch this, I tear up and get this huge lump in my throat. The choreography, the message, the storyline, the music ("Easy To Love" by The Jezabels, in case you're wondering) — everything in this performance just makes me SO emotional.

    ABC / Netflix

    Moving forward, Ms Raine — who is the headmistress of the academy — receives the news about Sammy's death moments before she's about to leave to see him and Tara compete.

    ABC / Netflix

    It's revealed that Sammy was hit by a car and died on the way to the hospital.

    The other characters find out and are well and truly devastated by the fact that Sammy is gone so suddenly.

    ABC / Netflix

    Abigail's reaction always hits the hardest, as well as Tara's who — not realising the full extent of Sammy's injuries — asks Christian whether he'll still be able to perform.

    They attend his funeral and hold a private, beachside memorial where they band together and reminisce about their friendship with Sammy.

    ABC / Netflix

    I distinctively remember watching this on ABC as a teen and violently crying in front of the TV while Christin read out Sammy's list of things he wanted to do in life.

    In one last tribute to their friend, Ben — who was subbed in — decides to perform Sammy's choreography at the Prix de Fonteyn, even though this effectively disqualifies him from the competition.

    ABC / Netflix

    Tara, Christian, Abigail, Kat, Ollie and Ethan then join Ben onstage, where they perform the rest of Sammy's performance together.

    ABC / Netflix

    It's a heartbreakingly sweet gesture that was fitting for someone who valued their friends as much as Sammy did.

    ABC / Netflix

    And it's so damn emotional because Sammy had just started to believe in himself as a dancer and reach his potential. He had earned his family's acceptance and was well on his way to achieving great things.

    ABC / Netflix

    P.S. If you're wondering whether I bawled like an absolute baby while getting these screenshots, you're absolutely right. The moment where Miss Raine and Zach — a teacher at the academy — went onstage BROKE ME. 🥺🥺🥺

    Far out, Dance Academy. It's been seven years since these episodes aired and I'm still not over Sammy's death.

    ABC / Netflix

    And honestly, I don't think I ever will be, which I'm okay with — because at the end of the day, it's props to the writers for doing such a fantastic job with this series.

    ABC

    If you feel like ugly crying today, here is Sammy's last performance.

    View this video on YouTube

    ABC

    And the entire series is on Netflix, too!

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