Debbie Allen’s Top 3 Dance Documentaries

“Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker,” produced by Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland, shines the spotlight on the next generation of Black and brown dancers at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, where Allen first met Rhimes as a dance parent before partnering on “Grey’s Anatomy.” “When we put this footage together and shared with Shonda, she called and said, ‘Debbie, I have to have this,’ and that was it,” Allen tells Variety. “I can’t say enough about Shonda, who took director Oliver Bokelberg’s work, shaped it at Netflix and has been so supportive in promoting it, loving it and giving it to the world. It’s been like a Christmas present.” Allen reflects on her dance journey throughout the film, and Variety asked the legendary entertainer to share her three favorite dance docs.

1 “Queen of Swing” (2006) 

“Norma Miller — who at 15 years old was the queen of the Savoy Ballroom — came to DADA for years, taught the kids and made us understand what jazz
really was.”

2 “Maja Plisetskaja” (1982) 

“I found that film [about Russian prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya] quite informative to me as a dancer. She’s inarguably one of the greatest ballerinas ever. What I loved about her was that she was always very womanly; she wasn’t skinny-skinny. She looked beautiful and had a great figure.”

3 “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” (2019)

Allen appears in the doc and is billed as an exec. producer, but insists that she just helped the film get the attention she says it deserves:  “It’s just great to see Gregory Hines and experience the history of him and his brother, Maurice.”

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