Not Your Average Dancer

Katya G.

Staff Writer

 When someone mentions The Radio City Rockettes, women in elaborate costumes all dancing in unison usually are what come to mind. People associate Radio City Hall as the central place to see these exuberant dancers perform. Many individuals are fascinated with the life of the Rockettes, looking upon them as role models. Being a Rockette takes time and dedication. It is more than just kicking legs up in the air; there is a history, a passion, a love, and a commitment to a team and to oneself.

Being a Rockette is truly an honor, but to understand this occupation, a little history is necessary. Russell Markert started The Rockettes back in 1925 when the group was first known as the Missouri Rockettes. Russell’s nickname was Roxy, and the Rockettes were renamed the Roxyettes. They became instantly famous in 1932 when they performed in Radio City Music Hall. From then on, they were known as the Radio City Rockettes.

The Rockettes are truly known for their outstanding precision, grace, and beauty. There are several key frocekttes 3 KGactors about the Rockettes that really make them stand out. They are all in unison, all the time, every time. That is the way Markert wanted it to be. Markert was in charge of all the Rockettes and everything what went on onstage until he retired in 1971. His main goal was to make sure all the girls moved that same way, looked the same way, all wore the same costumes, to look as one. That is what sets them apart from all other groups; the ladies must be precise at all times. Willi Cohen, dancer at Steps Dance Center’s Elite Company, says, “I love how they are all uniformed, and they are perfect at what they do.” Where their bodies are facing when performing, where their heads are turned, how high they kick their legs all must be taken into account, and this all just does not happen overnight. These ladies work year-round, year after year, to perfect these historical dances that people have seen and loved for centuries.

The performances the Rockettes do are very well-known. The choreographers come in and from time to time add new dance routines, but for the most part, there are those few dances that audiences just cannot wait to relive and watch again. Probably one of the most famous dance routines would be the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” which can be seen in the Christmas Spectacular. People buzz about how the 36 dancers stand perfectly straight in a single-file line and fall back one by one liked dominos. It is truly a sight to see; feeling like toy wooden soldiers are there, marching around in such precision, it causes chills. Senior Kristen Bartlet tells, “I have seen the Rockettes nine times. My favorite parts are ‘Love Shine,’ their finale, and the ‘Wooden Soldiers.’”  “A White Christmas in New York” is also a well-known dance routine of the Rockettes, where the ladies are dancing around New York City in these extravagant and elegant white costumes, but people remember the ladies dancing while riding on a trolley. We cannot forget the “Reindeer Dance,” or the “Living Nativity.” These women can truly do it all.

Apart from dancing in Radio City Hall and all around the country, the Rockettes are also an immense part of the community. They perform all around the world. They have performed at Super Bowl halftimes, Macy’s famous Thanksgiving Day Parade, and USO Tours. They perform for our soldiers, children in hospitals, and charity events and are a part of many more moments in our history.      

The Radio City Rockettes also provide the young community with many opportunities to achieve their dreams of being a Rockette if that is the path they wish to go. There are several weeks of summer insensitive training classes. Each girl arrives on a Sunday; throughout the week they are assigned a group to dance with depending on their skill level and are taught many routines performerockettes KGd by the Rockettes, even being trained by the Rockettes themselves. At the end of the week on Friday, the girls perform one of the dances they learned throughout the week in a showcase to see what it would really be like to be a Rockette and dance on the same stage as they do. Bartlet tells us, “I absolutely love being a part of the summer intensive program. It was so amazing to learn the choreography from all the Rockettes.” Being a part of the Rockettes in some way is truly life-changing and memorable because of the all the memories that are had and the windows it can open.  

Dancing in Radio City Hall as a Rockette is so much more than wearing shiny costumes and dancing on a big stage. They are role models to children and athletes all around the world. The dances are truly remarkable, and the youth have options to be a part of the experience as well.

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