LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Debbie Allen, perhaps most recognizable for her role as a dance teacher on the TV show “Fame,” is also known for her 22-year-old dance academy, and now there’s a college to go with it.
The school, called Debbie Allen Dance Academy or DADA, has now added academics, a dream that came true last fall.
“It’s been a dream of mine for probably 8 to 10 years, I wanted to do it and finally we did it,” Allen said.
Ella Hoy is part of the inaugural class of sixth-graders at the academy. Eventually, seventh and eighth graders will be added.
“So we do three hours of classes in the morning and three hours of dancing,” Hoy said.
Morgan Grier moved from Atlanta to attend the new school.
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“It’s really different. I can say it’s definitely different, but in an amazing way,” Grier said. “The schools I had in Atlanta, it was just like eight hours of classes in a row and then we would go, like after-school activities, but here I love how we can still focus on learning . But the arts also because we manage to do theatre. We draw, dance. So, I really like how we get to express ourselves in different ways.
This is exactly what Allen wanted.
“It was always by design. I wanted it to be a small class. There will never be more than 15 kids in a class, so we really give them the best education, creativity, you know, just by stimulating their curiosity and making education, you know, a fun experience , exciting and dynamic,” she mentioned.
For the 15 students, who auditioned to enter, Allen said they would receive a broad education. They recently went on a field trip to watch “West Side Story,” but Allen also has plans for the students to go whale watching.
Every Friday, students attend a masterclass with Allen and other actors teaching young students.
For her part, Allen credits Wallis Annenberg, Shonda Rhimes, Barry Gordy and even the late Kobe Bryan for helping her get this school off the ground.
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Next year they will move into the new 24,000 square foot Rhimes Building.