• KYW News 4:30-7am
    04:00 AM - 07:00 AM
By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHILA (CBS) — A three-time Emmy Award winning choreographer, director and actress taught a master class today at a Center City Charter School.

As Cherri Gregg from our sister station KYW Newsradio it was the opportunity of a lifetime for a group of young dancers.

Internationally known for her work in on stage, on-screen in shows like FAME and behind the screens in her own productions like Brothers of the Night Debbie Allen took over the String Theory Charter School’s modern dance class inspiring the next generation.

“I’m just trying to give them what they gave me the power of the dance to dance more powerfully, to dance with abandon don’t hold back,” she said.

In her sixties Allen did not hold back she twisted, turned, and kicked alongside her students adding a few new moves too, along with daughter Vivien, Allen shared the secrets of the masters.

Junior Amaya Jackson said, “I dreamed my whole life to meet her to be in her presence, to learn from her.”

Jackson moved alongside Allen catching all her pearls of wisdom.

Allen added, “you must train…you must have a skill.”

“I am definitely going to get into some more ballet classes and just broaden my spectrum, said Jackson.

Catherine Cahill, CEO of the Mann Center for Performing Arts said, “The experience that these young people have working with world-class artists are second to none.”

The Mann Center brought Allen in as part of its Artist in Residency program which brings in master teachers including the likes of Al Jarreau.

This is just one of four master classes that Debbie Allen is teaching at two Philadelphia schools over the next two days.

In just 90 minutes she’s created memories.

Wendell Skinner said, “I’m writing this one down in the books.”

And shared her energy.

Junior, London Murray felt, “It’s so good to work with somebody at her level of experience.”

Showing that mastery means giving back and never holding back.


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