Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is an enjoyable feature, and while Netflix can probably offer more dramatic versions of intense creative outlets, there’s some warmth in this documentary.
Netflix documentary Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker was released on the streaming service on November 27, 2020.
We all know the dedication and the physical and mental toll that derives from dancing. There are plenty of documentaries and fictional accounts of the horrors and successes. But I’d like to think that Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is a celebration of the art. The Netflix documentary highlights one of the world’s most famous theatre performances, Nutcracker, orchestrated by the famous Debbie Allen and her Dance Academy. The household name says everything; this feature is as insightful as they come.
And you soon see why Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is award-winning; the community and effort Debbie has created to make this a benchmarked show is clear in the first act. While her cool demeanour and character appear to be engaging, there’s no room for slacking — it’s all about dedication and believing in yourself. The actress makes it clear that hard work can go a long way, and it’s the single factor for anyone who wants to make it.
Of course, the documentary does show the pitfalls; there’s plenty of pressure on these children — some take part in this year after year, and mental health and wellbeing should always be considered. Maybe it’s the way the documentary is angled, but I never got the impression that these young children and teenagers were under the type of pressure that was questionable — this ain’t no Dance Moms.
But the beauty of Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy is how it nurtures art; it’s not just about whether you can do ballet or a certain dance type; there’s an appreciation for all art forms, and the young dancers are rewarded for their dedication by giving them scope and creative freedom to edge out into other areas they are interested in. There’s a sense that dance is life, and the documentary understands how important it is to these communities. More noticeably, the dancers in Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker are black, which brings a strong message across — give young black people an opportunity, and they will shine bright.
Most importantly, Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is an enjoyable feature, and while Netflix can probably offer more dramatic versions of intense creative outlets, there’s some warmth in this documentary.