Debbie Allen Was Once Denied Entry Into A Dance School Because Of Her Body Type: It Still Hurts

Debbie Allen Was Once Denied Entry Into A Dance School Because Of Her Body Type: It Still Hurts

Debbie Allen is easily one of the greatest dance icons. But not everyone has always appreciated her talent.

While she’s known that she’s wanted to dance since she was a little girl, she was hit with a harsh reality when she auditioned to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Debbie Allen recalled in a recent interview:

“I had been so well trained by that time by the Houston Ballet Foundation. I got there early, and I watched the auditions, I watched class. I was like, ‘Oh, I know all of this. I’ll be good.’ I got to my audition [group] and they used me to demonstrate.”

She continued and said she was ultimately rejected because of her body type.


“And then when it was over, I was excited. I wanted to know when I would start. And the man told me I was not going to be accepted because my body type wasn’t right.”

She added:

“That was just devastating. It still hurts. It stopped me until my mother made me know that I could not have a pity party.”

Fortunately, that didn’t stop her journey to greatness. Debbie Allen ultimately attended HBCU Howard University, which she still calls the


“opportunity that became the whole rest of my life.”

She said:

“I was blessed to go to Howard University, where I was bathed in my cultural identity. [Legendary choreographer] Mike Malone saw me at a party doing a double or triple turn, and pulled me out of the party and put me back where I belonged at the dance barre working with his company.”

What do you think of Debbie Allen’s experience? Comment and let us know.


Authored by: Char Patterson