Remember Debbie Allen’s iconic line (as Lydia Grant) in Fame? “You’ve got big dreams, you want fame? Well, fame costs, and right here is where you start paying—in sweat!” Well, 40 years after the film’s debut, Allen still has that same energy.
In her upcoming documentary, Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, from Shondaland and Netflix, we get a sneak peek into Allen’s annual Hot Chocolate Nutcracker production, following an ensemble of talented young dancers as well as the multihyphenate’s legendary career and her dance company, Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
“My name is synonymous with who I am and my work, and so I would never even consider lending my name to something I wasn’t really involved in,” Allen said in a statement. “And a school for young people who dance? I designed every technique they take, I hired every teacher and I navigated our place in the dance world. We are giving this opportunity to young people because I don’t care how old I get, in my heart I’ll always be that child who was in Houston, Texas and couldn’t go to ballet school because I was Black, or couldn’t go to see the production of The Nutcracker because everything was segregated.”
The doc is directed by Oliver Bokelberg (who is making his documentary directorial debut) and is executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, and Jordy Wynn.
“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,” Rhimes said in a statement. “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.”
The Root is pleased to debut the trailer for Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.
“When I was a young girl, The Nutcracker was so important to me,” Allen says in the trailer. “But, I decided to take it on with different styles of dance and music...and make it fun!”
She made it fun and iconic because as one of the young dancers says in the trailer, “I’ve never even seen the regular Nutcracker, the only thing I know is Hot Chocolate.” Let’s hear it for Blackness as the default!
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker drops on Netflix on Nov. 27.