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The Suite Life

Debbie Allen’s take on a holiday standard leaves visions of sugarplum fairies dancing in our heads

Hoping for, well, a little fame, more than 175 dancers ages seven and up auditioned this fall for a spot in Debbie Allen’s The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. The retelling of the Christmas classic, at Royce Hall on December 10, features Allen in the role of Buckey the Mouse, one of three rodent narrators she dreamed up. “A seed was planted,” she says, when her son yelled, “Mom! When is the rat coming?” during a production at the Music Center. Besides ballet, expect jazz, hip-hop, and flamenco moves.

Photographs by Alyson Aliano