(Note: Heart and Lights was postponed until further notice after this article was written.)
(Photo by Amanda Schwab/Starpix)
For the Rockette-obsessed, waiting to see the dancers—who have been kick-lining in perfect unison in NYC since 1932—in the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular can feel like torture. But now the Rockettes have a springtime show, Heart and Lights, to help get you through the year. Dance Spirit asked 10-year Rockette veteran Candace Jablonski to share five reasons why you’ll love it.
1. You’ll see the precision of the Rockettes…
Rockette fans have come to expect extreme synchronization, and the new show doesn’t disappoint. “There are 36 Rockettes down the line in eight production numbers,” Jablonski says. “And we honor the signature precision technique that audiences love. In rehearsals, we were meticulous about having the same lines, down to our pinky fingers and our eyeballs.”
2. …but in a whole new way.
Say goodbye to the Rockettes’ signature French-twist ‘do. These ladies are literally letting their hair down and showing off dance styles you’ve never seen them do before. “There’s choreography that’s more contemporary and athletic,” Jablonski says. “For example, there’s a number called ‘High Finance,’ where we’re portraying Wall Street traders. The show has so much floor work—knee spins and lunges—that we actually have knee pads built into our costumes.”
3. The costumes are pretty spectacular.
All-new choreography calls for all-new costumes—from rain boots with taps to light-up jackets. “In ‘Electricity,’ we’re portraying the electric lights you see on Broadway,” Jablonski says. “Each dancer’s jacket has 152 LED lights that turn on as part of the choreography. It adds an extra element that’s really cool.”
4. The dancers share the stage with huge puppets.
“There are six animatronic puppets—one for each NYC site. We have the Wall Street bull, the lions at the public library and even a 26-foot-tall Statue of Liberty,” Jablonski says. “The Statue of Liberty has 18 motors in her face, so she looks lifelike as she talks.”
5. It’s all about NYC.
Tourists and natives alike will love the storyline: Two cousins spend a day in the Big Apple learning about their grandmother’s past in the city. “I’ve lived in NYC for almost 12 years now, and I’m definitely guilty of taking the city for granted,” Jablonski says. “This show makes you stop and celebrate the energy, sights, smells and sounds. NYC is an amazing place to be.”
The news broke Friday afternoon that the brand-new Radio City Rockettes production Heart and Lights—scheduled to open this Thursday—will be postponed until 2015. This was to be the first time the Rockettes would shine outside of the winter holiday season since 1997, showing off new choreography and non-Rockette-traditional dance styles. On behalf of many dancers and Rockette fans around the globe, we are just so bummed.
The Rockettes in a sneak peek of Heart and Lights at Grand Central Terminal.
Photo by Amanda Schwab/Starpix
Our hearts go out to the dancers, stagehands and production crew members who are now facing possible unemployment, especially since the main reason Madison Square Garden exec James Dolan pulled the plug had to do with script and story issues. Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but how many people go to see the Rockettes for the storyline? Helllloooo, we want dancing! We want the spectacle, the costumes, the puppets—like the 26-foot-tall Statue of Liberty and the New York Public Library lions—all which have been described as being totally fantastic in the new show.
We <3 their Fosse-style jazz boots!
Photo by Amanda Schwab/Starpix
That being said, we cannot wait for 2015. We know this show will go on, eventually. And when it does, we will be front and center, cheering on those gorgeous leggy dancers, all eye-high kicking down the line in unison. Plus, we still have The Christmas Spectacular. So let's come out in droves this winter to show our support and Let Christmas Shine!