Debbie Allen Biography

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Debbie Allen Biography Deborrah Kaye Allen was born on January 16, 1950, in Houston, Texas. Allen is an actress, choreographer, dancer, director, and producer. She was three when she began dancing and by the age of four she was determined to be a professional performer, which lead to her parents enrolling her in dance classes at the age of five. Allen's parents divorced in 1957, leaving her mother Vivian as the main provider and caregiver for Debbie and her siblings. In 1960, Vivian took Debbie and her siblings to live with her in Mexico. After almost two years in Mexico, the Allen family returned to Texas, where the twelve year old Debbie auditioned for the Houston Ballet School. Debbie’s performance was good enough for admission, however the school denied her entry based on the color of her skin. Fortunately, a year later, a Russian instructor at the school who saw Debbie perform and secretly enrolled the aspiring dancer. When the admissions department discovered what had happened, they were going kick her out but they were so impressed with her skills that they let Allen stay in the program. Nevertheless, that wasn’t the end of Allen’s segregation struggle. After high school, Allen hoped to attend North Carolina School of Arts, but she was rejected because her body was "unsuited" for ballet; a criticism used to discourage black dancers. The rejection hit Allen hard, and for the duration of high school, she focused mainly on her studies. She decided to pursue a B.A. at Howard University with a concentration in classical literature, speech, and theater. All through her college years, she continued to dance at the university and with choreographer Michael Malone's dance troupe. Allen graduated from Howard University in 1971 with a degree in drama. She later relocated to New York City where she developed her talents as a dancer, actress, and singer. Allen

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