November 13, 2020
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images
We can’t stop asking what we did to deserve the pure talent that is Debbie Allen but in a new documentary, we’re learning just how much work and sweat she puts in to pull off the popular Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, a Shondaland production premiering November 27 on Netflix, gives viewers an inside look at what it takes to achieve the genre-busting and cutting edge rendition of The Nutcracker. Even as the Debbie Allen Dance Academy celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, it’s clear that the multihyphenated 70-year-old’s work ethic has remained the same.
“This is about woman power. Women rule the world. I don’t care what they say,” Allen told her students. “Every day is not just a rehearsal for Nutcracker, it’s a rehearsal for the rest of your life.”
The documentary features interviews with the Emmy Award winner, DADA’s world class dance instructors and students, and her family as they share what it’s like to witness the genius in her element.
“Getting to tell the story of how powerful a force Debbie Allen is in the lives of kids is incredible because when I was a kid I got to see somebody who looked like me, doing all these amazing, powerful things and it made me feel like it was possible,” Shonda Rhimes told People. “She was one of the women, one of the female forces in the world out there who made me feel like I could be whatever I wanted to be. I hope that when people watch the documentary, they will see the power and the force and the magic that is Debbie, the way I get to see it every day.”
“As a young girl, The Nutcracker was so important to me. I decided to take it on with different styles of dance and music and make it fun,” said The Fame actress.
In her career that has spanned for 50 years, Allen has always prioritized representation for the Black community. In an episode of UNCENSORED, it’s clear that the obstacles she faced when she first began her dance career serves as her motivator.
“I remember one day there was a dance school around the corner from my house,” she recalled. “They were all white kids and I just looked in the window just longing to be in class. And the woman came outside and the woman said ‘little girl, can you dance?’ I said ‘yes, ma’am.’ She said come tomorrow and bring your shoes.”
Later revealing that it was Patrick Swayze’s mom who invited her to join the class and later becoming the first Black student at the Houston Ballet Academy.
The production has become a staple holiday performance in Los Angeles and the less than two minute trailer proves exactly why.
Tell Us: Will you be tuning in?