Debbie Allen Reflects on Creating 'Something Beautiful' Through Artistic Inclusivity

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, legendary choreographer Debbie Allen claps and counts aloud as her young students dash across a stage during a crucial practice. The 70-year-old dance instructor is preparing to showcase her annual production of— and she expects nothing less than perfection.

"Oliver Bokelberg's daughter is one of my best students, and Oliver wanted to get pictures of her and capture everything," Allen told POPSUGAR."He started shooting, and I told him, 'OK, just stay out of my way.' And he did, and then two years later, he had all this footage. It was true cinema vérité, which is when you get a fly-on-the-wall snapshot of something, like nobody knows that the camera is there.

The film gives viewers in-depth insight into Allen's creative finesse and the tough love that she pours into her students. But, according to the dance instructor, it's all about the young performers who bring the show to life with captivating ballet numbers, hip-hop routines, and contemporary pieces."The most meaningful part of creating the production is the students' level of accomplishment every year," Allen said."The growth of the students is everything.

— the dance company founded by trailblazing Black choreographer, the late Alvin Ailey. Allen instantly recognized the Kirov instructor's snub as racism, as if Ailey's school was automatically subordinate because it predominantly teaches Black students.started her own company in 2001."I'm the kind of person that does. I don't talk, I do," Allen said."So when it happened, it set everything in motion. It took me a matter of months to find the right location.


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