Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dena Kaplan

Today I'm going to write about Dena Kaplan, an actress from Dance Academy. Kaplan played Abigail, who was probably my favorite character on the show. Though she was a bitch at times, she also had a tendency to be quite lovable.

Dena has the same name as me, but she spells it differently. I associate her last name with Jews, and I know she's from South Africa. I associate South Africans with Jews too. Not that all people from South Africa are Jewish, but I think there's a strong Jewish community there. So, anyway, I am guessing Dena Kaplan is Jewish. But I could be wrong. Kaplan could be one of those names that sound Jewish, but is really German. So some Kaplans might be Jewish-German and some might be not-Jewish-German.

As for Abigail, I think the main reason I liked her was because she dealt with an eating disorder. Since I've dealt with that as well, I felt connected to her. I could also could relate to her competitiveness—her desire to be the best, and her resentment towards people who are naturally better than her. I think the difference between Abigail and myself is she is much more open with her bitchiness. I'm more likely to keep it quiet. Private. I try to suppress it.  Well, and the other difference between Abigail and myself is she can do impressive ballet things with her body. I can't.

Well, I guess now I'll start my research.

I'm going to check out Kaplan's filmography on IMDb.

Or maybe first I'll look at IMDb's biography stuff.

Kaplan is 5 ft and 3.5 inches. That's how tall I used to be. Now I'm measured as less. I'm not sure if that's because I'm actually shrinking, or my spinal curvature is making me shorter.

Kaplan was born January 20, 1989 in South Africa. She moved to Australia in 1996. She'd be about seven. I wonder why they moved.

Her first stage performance was a dance solo in Carousel. Then she had a part in the musical The Lion King. I wonder what she did in that.

Kaplan moved to New York. IMDb says she was offered a part in a Broadway play, but was unable to accept the offer. Yikes. I wonder what happened there. I'm imagining it might have been bad. Maybe a family emergency?

Now I'll move onto the filmography.

Wait. Before I do that. Here's some information that might be interesting to some. Dena Kaplan has a sister named Arial Kaplan. Ariel was on Neighbours. Or she still might be on the show. I'm not sure. She was also on that show The Saddle Club.

Oh! And both girls sing. Ariel did some singing for The Saddle Club and Dena did singing for Dance Academy.

Dena Kaplan's first screen appearance was on a show called Scooter: Secret Agent. This was in 2005. She played Party Girl in the fifteenth episode. She would have been about sixteen then.

In the next few years, she did small appearances here and there. She did an episode of Flight of the Conchords, two episodes of City Homicide (spaced years apart and she was different characters), and appeared in the movie In Her Skin. Her character in the film was Pregnant Woman With a Pram. I'm guessing it wasn't a huge role.

Kaplan started work on Dance Academy in 2010. That lasted until 2013.

In 2012, she also worked on a show called Tricky Business. She was on seven episodes. I don't think I've heard of it.

Lord Wiki says it's a show about a family who owns a debt collecting business. One of the stars is someone named Gigi Edgley. I looked at her filmography and saw she's on The Secret Life of Us. I guess I shall see her one day. I wonder what her character is like.

Back to Kaplan....

In 2013, she was in the nightmare American show Camp. I think it was crap. Yet I kind of liked it. And I even kind of miss it. At the same time I hated it. I have such mixed feelings. It was just really weird seeing all these Aussie actors, I adore, speaking in American accents. It's one thing to have one Australian actor faking an American accent in a film or TV Show. It's another thing to have all the Australian actors IN Australia talking to each other with American accents. Well, actually there was one Australian who played an Australian. That was weird too. They never made a bit deal out of him being an Australian. I guess maybe he just couldn't fake the American accent as well as the others.

It would be bad enough having an American show with all fake Americans in a fake America. But the other problem is the writing was kind of awful, in my opinion. So you have these brilliant Aussie actors who do amazing work on Australian television. Then on American television, crap is coming out of their mouth.

What's also strange...if I remember correctly, they had interviews with the actors, and the actors used American accents. Off camera! It's like the creators of the show were really trying to fool us into thinking Camp was filmed in America with American actors.

I know some Aussie actors come to America, work in America, and lose their accents. So in interviews, they're speaking American. That's understandable. But the Camp actors were all still in Australia. I think they could have managed to keep their own accents.

Kaplan doesn't have much on her filmography after Dance Academy and Camp. She did a guest appearance on The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

And that's it.

What's she doing now?

Maybe theater? Pursuing a music career? Going on auditions,—trying to get more film and TV roles? Dancing? Charity work? Addicted to a video game? Traveling?

Whatever it is, I hope she's having fun.

I also hope she does more TV and movies, for selfish reasons. I like her. I want to see more of her.

I'm going to see if Lord Wiki has any brilliant insights.

No. Not really. Though he says Kaplan was on The Hamish and Andy show in 2004. I was thinking IMDb missed something, but this was the radio program. It wasn't a screen thing.

Lord Wiki also tells me what Kaplan did in The Lion King. She was a dancer. Well, I kind of figured that. I'm guessing she played multiple parts.

And...Lord Wiki says Kaplan was in a music video for a song called "Flow" by Chris Sebastian. Maybe I can find it on YouTube.

Yep. It's there. She has a bit part in it.

I was wondering if I knew of Chris Sebastian. Then I realized I was thinking of Guy Sebastian. But I think maybe they're related.

Yep. Just looked it up.  They are.

I'm going to watch some more videos on YouTube.

Here's a promotional interview type video for Dance Academy.

She says three words her friends would use to describe her are ambitious, passionate, and sarcastic.

She's giggly.

She says during the first season, they (the cast?) used to watch the show together along with some other people. One guy wasn't on the show, but later he joined the cast as Ollie. That's cool.

Now there's some reality TV type footage with the cast singing Happy Birthday to Kaplan.

Kaplan says the show is a dream job for her, because she got to dance, act, and sing.

She talks about season two in which Abigail comes back being very nice. I really like Kaplan's interpretation of the whole thing. She talks about how Abigail is very extreme in things, so even with something like being nice, she's going to work hard to be super nice.

Crap. I'm not explaining it well. Watch the video. Kaplan does a much better than job explaining it than I do.

Here's Kaplan talking about Camp. And she's doing the American accent. Even though she's not in character.

So far, there's no mention of the fact that the show was filmed in Australia. It's like they're trying to hide it.

Here's a video of Kaplan singing on Dance Academy. The guy playing the keyboard was her boyfriend on Dance Academy and also her boyfriend on Camp.  It was weird seeing the relationship resurrected like that.

Here's a long video about Kaplan and dancing. I'm not overly interested in the dance stuff, so I might not watch the whole thing. But it might be very interesting to other people...who happen to be reading this.

Here's a video of Dance Academy winning a Logie.  Not many members of the cast came up to accept the award—just Kaplan and Xenia Goodwin. Neither of them say anything.

This acting website has an interview with Kaplan. They say, Dena turned the brutally competitive Abigail into a deeply complex, compelling, and very, very likeable character, while displaying her excellent training in a wide range of dance genres from ballet to hip hop.

They sum things up pretty well there; and I agree with them.

I guess Kaplan was dieting during the interview, because she's asked what she had for breakfast. It's something healthy. And then she's asked what she wishes she had for breakfast. I guess they knew she was dieting? She had an egg-white omelette with veggies and yogurt; chia seeds, and strawberries. Yeah. It's healthy. But some people might like it, even when not dieting.

I'm not on a diet and I often eat food that's seen as diet food or health food. I love salads and vegetables. I'll eat that a lot. But on the same day, I'll eat handfuls of chocolate chips, bowls of ice-cream, cookies, etc.

Kaplan says she's loved dancing since she was a small child. Her mother, grandmother, and sister are/were also dancers. Wow.

On Dance Academy, Abigail slowly learns that she might not be a match for the world of classical ballet. If I'm understanding the interview correctly, the same thing happened to Kaplan. On Dance Academy, it was about her body size. She wasn't naturally petite and skinny. Some jobs are unfortunately body-size dependent. I think it's better to give up and find an alternate dream rather than make yourself sick to obtain what's likely impossible.

Kaplan is asked if Abigail's difficult journey is based on her own. Kaplan says, The writers did use our own “talents” to inspire certain story lines, but I think Abigail’s journey is not unusual. A lot of ballet girls don’t necessarily only have their goals set on a company or don’t “make it” and end up exploring other options. I’m glad we got to show that in Dance Academy.

Yeah. That makes sense. She and Abigail may share a similar story, but there are probably a lot of other people who do as well.

I love what Kaplan says here. It makes me want to hug her. I really wanted to show that sometimes the world of dance can be painfully unfair. It’s not always the hard workers that succeed. But that doesn’t mean you give up. There are always other ways of feeling fulfilled and inspired as a creative artist. It’s just about finding the perfect fit.

I think the same idea can be applied to life in general. I once witnessed a conversation between two men. One is very wealthy and successful. The other told him he was lucky that he had all these resources so he could help those he wanted to help. The wealthy and successful man got visibly annoyed and declared that it wasn't luck. He worked hard for his success.

Yes, he did work hard. But a lot of people work very hard—equally hard. But because they have less luck, they're not wealthy.

It's just this idea in our society that drives me nuts. Work hard and wonderful things will happen.

No. Sometimes it just doesn't work out.

But when it does work out for some people, they get this delusion that their life story has the potential to be anybody's life story. If it works for me, it will work for you.

Anyway....I should stop my tangent.

They show pictures of Kaplan's body in Camp, and ask how she keeps fit. She exercises a lot and was on a strict diet for awhile.

Her body is impressive. Very muscular. When I'm not having sick wishes of being sickly skinny, I'm often wanting to be all muscular like that. The unhealthy wish is more easily attainable than the healthy one...and more deadly. It's probably best if I work on accepting my body the way it is, and eat and exercise in a way that allows me to maintain what I already have.

Kaplan is asked about doing the American accent on Camp. She says it was challenging because the people around them were speaking Australian. I forgot about that. Though the other actors were faking the American thing, the crew wasn't.

The interview has the explanation of how so many Camp people ended up on Dance Academy. It's actually a sweeter story than I imagined. What happened is the actors auditioned separately. Kaplan didn't know that Tim Pocock and Tom Green were auditioning. And the producers didn't realize they hired three Australians from the same show. After they found out, they watched Dance Academy. They ended up loving Issi Durant and Jordan Rodriguez, so they hired them as well.

What about the other actors? Did the producers not like them? Or were the other actors too busy? Maybe?

Kaplan says she and her two sisters are trying to do a TV show with all three of them. Awesome!  I hope Hulu will have it.

Here's a blog Kaplan does with her sisters. It's more pictures than writing. Kind of has an Instagram feel to it. Or Pininterest.

Speaking of...Here's Kaplan's Instagram account. I think she uses it a lot. She has 1,496 posts. In comparison, I have only 47. One of my friends beats Kaplan. She has 3919 posts. She updates very often.

Kaplan's most recent picture is of homemade pizza.  6,018 people liked her photo. It would be really funny to be famous like that. Post a picture of pizza and have that many people like it.

She has a picture of American flag stuff. The caption says July 4 with my boys! I wonder who her boys are.

In one of the things I read earlier, she talked about holidaying in the US. Maybe she has a thing for America. Maybe that's why she did the American accent in the interview. Maybe she wasn't pressured to do it because NBC wanted to trick us. Maybe she just.... Well, I have a thing for Australia and I like speaking in an Australian accent sometimes. And I'm not playing a TV character.

She has a romantic quote about love. I like it. Though it might not always be best to follow the advice. It's long so I won't quote it here. The basic idea, though, is that mutual love rarely happens and when it does, you should go for it. No matter what. But what if you're married? Or what if you're 24 and the person who loves you back is 16? In some cases, it might be best to not jump into it.

This picture made me smile.

I think this dog is very cute. And I'm not the kind of person who thinks all dogs are cute. I'm picky when it comes to dogs.

I'm going to look at Kaplan's Twitter account. Then I'm going to quit. I feel like I'm missing a lot of stuff. She seems to have a very strong Internet presence.  I guess we have that in common. Though I don't do Instagram a lot, I do update my blog frequently—with incredibly long posts. And sometimes I get the Twitter bug and start Tweeting excessively.

You know...I'm looking at her Twitter. There's actually not much there. It looks like she uses it to link to all her Instagram photos.  The only recent post she has that's not an Instagram link is her saying she's in Sydney and needs to find a good gym and massage. Seventy people favorited her Tweet. Twelve Retweeted. Six people begged her to follow them. Only one provided an opinion about massage places and gyms.

Anyway, that's about it for now.

Wait. I forgot something.

The Kaplan name.

Lord Wiki says it is often a Jewish name, but sometimes it's French, German, or Turkish.

She's probably Jewish, but who knows...

Well, Dena Kaplan probably does.

I don't.