Dance Dream: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker director Oliver Bokelberg has revealed the documentary was created thanks to the transformative power of Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy.
The Netflix documentary from Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland shines a light on DADA’s annual performance of The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker as it reveals the work that goes on behind the scenes at the inclusive dance school.
It turns out this rare fly-on-the-wall peek into Debbie’s celebrated dance academy was inspired by the director’s desire to learn more about the dance class that was making his young daughter so happy.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Oliver explained: ‘It’s just one of those projects where things just came together, it was just meant to be.
‘My daughter was dancing with Debbie Allen before I even met her. So I was being a dance dad and dropping her off at the academy and watching the performances. I immediately noticed this beautiful change in my daughter, the enormous amount of discipline and positivity that she got out of being at the dance school.
‘I always wondered what it was that made that happen so two years later when Debbie came in to direct an episode of Scandal while I was working on it, we became friends. I continued to go to see The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker every year and I was blown away to see so many kids dancing so well on stage.’
He continued: ‘As I would drive my daughter for rehearsals, which nearly an hour away from our home, I thought it would be better to stay and watch the rehearsals. Then I asked Debbie if I could film the process and soon I became this fly on the wall.
‘For me, it’s great because I was able to monitor the process and look into why these kids were becoming so energetic, powerful, and confident. I filmed from September to December at the same time I was shooting Scandal.’
The Big Sky cinematographer mused: ‘I felt like I got my own education from Miss Allen and all the teachers. She approaches everything with so much love and energy, she has this positivity and wisdom that has come from her upbringing.’
Over the past 50 years, Debbie’s iconic career has seen her excel in dance and choreographing for TV, film and Theatre.
While her work acting and directing iconic series’ such as Fame, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and more means getting to train with the Hollywood legend is quite the honor for every student that enters DADA.
Oliver explained: ‘Everything she learnt from her upbringing, her dance training and her career, she uses all they dynamic force to train these kids, It’s not just a dance class with her, it’s a rehearsal for life. It was incredible because even I learnt a multitude of lessons and wisdoms just by watching.
‘I wanted to share that with people because there is a legacy that’s been built here. All the teachers and dancers are then spreading this into the world and go on to teach and mentor too.’
He admitted his hope for the documentary was to highlight how children have the power to learn from generations before and go on to make changes in the world today.
Oliver explained: ‘Debbie is spreading a message of hope and the power of hard work and dedication. Filling these kids with the power of positivity.
‘I’m really grateful Debbie allowed me into the room and that Shonda took the project under her wing so we could give this to an audience on Netflix.’
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is now available to stream on Netflix.
Credit: Original article published here.