Behind the pageantry and drama of this weekend’s opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles you will find a powerful force of nature whose creativity and passion have made this amazing event come to life. Her name is Debbie Allen, and she is a true American treasure.
Whether you know her from the hit 80’s film and TV show “Fame”, or from her many award winning turns as a director and choreographer, you have undoubtedly seen the work of this inspiring artist. Her resume now even includes a role as Executive Producer on the hit ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy”, a position on the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities. And, in between it all, she is also the driving force behind the non-profit Debbie Allen Dance Academy, which has helped transform of lives of countless young people around the world through dance and theatre arts.
We caught up with “Miss Debbie” on the field of the L.A. Coliseum, straight from one of the many rehearsals she has overseen as creative director behind the performances you will see on Saturday night. With an army of almost all volunteer dancers and gymnasts from around the country, she has done it again—created a spectacle through dance and music that will convey the emotion and inspiration represented by these World Games. “I love seeing how what we do affects people”, she told us. “The world needs so much more joy, especially now, and seeing these special athletes enter with these performers is pure joy”. Having seen several of the rehearsals myself and already shed a tear or two, I can definitely vouch for what she’s saying. And while I agree that we need more joy, I would also say we need more heroes in our world like Debbie Allen.