Photo Credit: Lee Tonks
Great dancing requires more than just perfect technique. A great piece of dancing is formed from history and can tell an emotional story through movement. As we begin Black History Month, I felt there was no better person to highlight this week than Debbie Allen and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA). Since 2001, DADA has offered one of the leading comprehensive dance programs in Los Angeles for students of all ages and skill levels. This weekend, Feb. 7-8, Allen will hold open auditions at Debbie Allen Dance Academy (3791 Santa Rosalia Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90008) for her hit show 'FREEZE FRAME' that's scheduled to run on April 24 in Los Angeles.
Created, written, directed, and choreographed by Allen, 'FREEZE FRAME' first premiered at the Brisbane Festival in Australia in 2013. This piece is inspired by real-life incidents and uses a fusion of dance, drama, music, spoken word, and visual arts to examine the issues of gun violence and race relations in America. 'FREEZE FRAME' aims to help people understand the challenges that confront their communities and to help them develop genuine empathy. The pre-performance and post-performance dialog will also help people understand how they can become agents of change.
Photo Credit: Debbie Allen Dance Academy
"Freeze Frame is important because it is a dance-driven narrative that addresses gun violence, racial discrimination, sexual abuse, and the issues that young people have growing up in urban America. The arts should address those things in our lives, in our society, in our communities, that need to be talked about, that need change. This is a vehicle for change," Emmy award winner Allen told Dance Network.
'FREEZE FRAME' will take place on April 24 for a one-night only concert at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles as a part of the Los Angeles International Dance Festival. It is part of a shared bill with Lula Washington Dance Theatre and Chloe Arnold's 'Syncopated Ladies. With original music by Stevie Wonder, James Ingram, Ricky Minor, Arturo Sandoval, and Thump, this dance-driven production provides a call for social reform in America.
Debbie Allen Dance Academy was founded in 2001 and is a non-profit organization that offers a comprehensive dance curriculum to students ages 4 and up, regardless of financial status. Student groups include academy, pre-academy, early birds, red birds, ensemble, and open classes. The founding principles of DADA are based on the belief that arts education defines discipline, creativity, and self-confidence. These principles empower individuals whether they pursue a professional performing arts career or not. This is more than dance- it's about life.
“To dance is to know real expression. To dance is to master time and space. Dance is the universal language. It is that connection to creativity that cannot be superseded by anything else.” – Debbie Allen to Los Angeles Wave Newspapers.
DADA is committed to expanding the reach of dance and theater arts with the hope of enriching, inspiring, and transforming the lives of its students. DADA outreach includes: Colibri Arts, Dance Free Days, J.O.Y. (Journey of Yourself), lecture demonstrations, a scholarship program, and a school subsidized program.
Some of Allen’s directing and producing credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Empire. On Broadway, she was involved with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Carrie, and she’s been an artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center for over 15 years. Recently, Allen choreographed DADA’s performance with Misty Copeland at this year's GRAMMY Awards.
For more information on 'FREEZE FRAME' and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, visit www.debbieallendanceacademy.com