Heartfelt hot chocolate nutcracker

New Netflix documentary showcases the highs and lows of dance



In a new Netflix documentary, Debbie Allen and her students work hard each year to produce an outstandingly unique production of “The Nutcracker.”

Shelby OMara, Staff Reporter

This recent documentary shows the story of Debbie Allen and her dance studio’s unique production of the classic show, “The Nutcracker” in Los Angeles, California. They follow the studio getting ready for this annual production.

Allen, a famous dancer and choreographer, decided to create a dance studio later in life and named it Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA). This school has around 200 students with 75% of them receiving scholarships. I think this is outstanding because many students are great dancers but can’t afford to dance at a studio that will help them get better. Students are mainly people of color from all around the country even though DADA studio’s are located in Los Angeles.

Allen, DADA students and some guest choreographers produce a show called the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker every year. This Nutcracker production is unique because it has a mixture of different cultures, dance styles and ages of dancers. Selling tickets for this production creates the funds that help so many students get scholarships to the school.

Students are pushed to their limits while practicing for this production because it is a big opportunity for students to get noticed by professional dance schools. It also is one of the biggest fundraisers of the entire year.

This documentary features how much hard work the students put into their work. Even though the focus isn’t fully on the students, the documentary shows what the students want to do with their futures. This is really important for young dancers to see because lots of students want to go professional and the reality is that this isn’t the case for most students.

This is a phenomenal documentary to watch if you want to learn more about what it means to dance. It is very informative and gives the audience a peek into the life of a committed dancer. It’s also a quick, lighthearted documentary that is easy to watch.

As a dancer it is relatable and even a little comical because of how similar DADA is to so many other dance studios but more extreme. Even though most dancers share similar feelings and experiences, DADA students have lots of studio spaces which isn’t the case for many dance companies. 

In lots of shows and movies on Netflix like “Feel the beat”, “Work It” and “Full Out”, dance can be portrayed as something cringey and unimportant. Even though this is how some people see dance, “Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” shows the exciting hard working side most dancers know. This is an outstanding  documentary and is a phenomenal thing to watch and learn from.