Look, guys, we know: It is too darn early for holly-jolliness. But the Rockettes appeared on the "Today" show this morning to promote the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and we can't help it—as soon as we see that iconic kickline, we start daydreaming about sleigh bells and mistletoe and gingerbread lattes.
The Rockettes know a thing or two about winter—after all, their Christmas Spectacular is pretty much the pinnacle of the holiday season. And now that winter finally seems to be here with its freezing temperatures (NYC's 75 degree Christmas was only a few weeks ago, after all!), we could certainly use some tips to help guide us through another few months of snowstorms, scarves and sniffles. That's where the Rockettes come in! Not only did they help us master their iconic dance moves last month, but they've got our backs again with nine tips for beating the winter blues. Rockette Katelyn G. says to just "embrace the snowy weather," Sarah G. says to "keep busy" and avoid the urge to hibernate until warm weather graces us with its presence again. All their tips might seem like no-brainers, and I can't speak for you guys. But I know I'm guilty of using winter as an excuse to a) never leave my house, b) sleep until noon and c) use the weather as an excuse for anything and everything, so thank you, ladies—I'll most certainly be using your tips for motivation. Promise! Check out the rest of the tips here.
The Rockettes showing us how a high kick is truly done. (Photo via Alive Mag)
Hey, everybody! Do you dream of being a Rockette in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular? Well, now's your chance: They're holding open auditions on August 10. That's in 10 days, people! Start working those eye-high kicks now. Oh, and it couldn't hurt to go behind the scenes with us at a previous Rockette audition!
The cutest. (Ladies auditioning for the Rockettes, photo Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News)
I've always been obsessed with the Rockettes. I mean, they're basically the definition of glamor. Alas, I've also always been waaay too short to audition. Ladies need to be between 5' 6" and 5' 10.5" tall.
So go, leggy dancers, and live your Rockette dreams. Merde!
When we watch the Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, we see a group of impeccable dancers moving in perfect unison—not a sequin or an eyelash out of place. But it takes a lot of intricate behind-the-scenes work to keep the Rockettes stage-ready. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular experience, with insider information from NYC dance captain Traci Reszetylo.
Over 500: Dancers who audition for the Rockettes each season. “The line wraps around Radio City Music Hall!” says Rockette Traci Reszetylo.
(Courtesy MSG Entertainment)
206: Christmas Spectacular performances in NYC
37: Miles the Rockettes’ double-decker bus from the “New York at Christmas” scene travels across the stage during the show’s run
72: Wireless microphones used to amplify the Rockettes’ tap sounds. “There’s one small mic on the arch of each of our tap shoes,” Reszetylo says. “They catch everything, so we have to be very clean with our sounds—no extra brushes or scrapes or scuffs.”
40: Rockettes in each Radio City Music Hall performance
80: NYC Rockettes
15,000: Red dots applied to the cheeks of the Rockettes each season during “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”
The Rockettes in rehearsal (photo by Carl Scheffel/MSG Photos)
216: Hours the Rockettes rehearse before opening night. “We go six hours a day, six days a week, for six weeks,” Reszetylo says. “It’s all about creating that famous Rockette precision, down to the fingertips—and that takes a lot of time.”
16: Shows each Rockette does per week during busy periods, like the week after Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas—sometimes as many as five a day!
78: Seconds the Rockettes have to change costumes between “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “New York at Christmas.” “There’s one dresser for every three Rockettes, and we have the process down to a science,” Reszetylo says. “You’re always putting on your earrings and your hat right as you walk onstage. I’ve gone on for ‘New York at Christmas’ with my ‘Wooden Soldier’ cheeks still on!”
"Snow" (photo by Dan Niver/MSGE Creative)
More than 900: Swarovski crystals on the Rockettes’ sparkliest costume, for “Snow.” “The ‘Snow’ costumes are my favorite, because they embody what the Rockettes are,” Reszetylo says. “Since no two snowflakes are alike, each costume is a little different—slightly different shades, slightly different designs—but they make a beautiful picture together. Similarly, while each Rockette is an individual, onstage we make a single unified line.”
9: Costumes each Rockette wears during the show
102: Shows each Rockette performs in. “We have two different casts, and we split the performances pretty much down the middle,” Reszetylo says.
Traci Reszetylo (right) in the dressing room (photo by Avi Gerver/MSG Photos)
1,500: Kicks the Rockettes do on their busiest show days. “There are 300 kicks a show, between strut kicks, which come to the waist, and high kicks, which go to the eye,” Reszetylo says. “On five-show days, that’s a lot of kicking. Needless to say, we get in pretty good shape over the course of the season. We definitely earn our Christmas cookies.”
“As a Rockette, you have all this onstage choreography that has to be perfect. But the choreography offstage is just as complicated, and you have to nail that, too.”
—Traci Reszetylo, Rockettes dance captain
(Photo courtesy Beyond the Stars)
Michelle Quiner is the epitome of technique and artistry in perfect harmony: Sure, she makes quintuple pirouettes on pointe look like a cinch, but it’s this 15-year-old’s emotive quality that captivates audiences. Michelle’s talent has won her such titles as National Miss Teen Onstage New York and Miss Junior Starpower, as well as first place at both Starpower and Legacy Dance Championships Nationals. It also landed her the part of Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Nashville, TN, in 2010.
(Photo courtesy Beyond the Stars)
Birthday: April 17, 1999
Hometown: Chester, NJ
Dance studio: North Jersey School of Dance Arts
Favorite dancers of all time: Gillian Murphy, Paloma Herrera and Catherine Hurlin. “I love American Ballet Theatre!”
Favorite dance movie: First Position
If she were a superhero…“I would have an amazing memory. I’d learn all of the combos and never forget them.”
Go-to stress relievers: “I like to crochet dolls for my seven siblings, and I like to read
Dream dance roles: Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake
"In the dance world, you’re gonna hear ‘no’ a lot. You just have to learn how to work through that without getting discouraged. Never give up on what you love to do."
(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!
Here at DS HQ, we're more than ready to be kicking off a new month (please please please tell us that March is going to finally bring us some warmer temperatures and pretty flowers...please?) and, fittingly, a brand-new issue!
The March issue of Dance Spirit is our annual Ballet Issue, and how lovely is this prima-in-the-making on the cover?
A little backstory...
I have been obsessed with Juliet Doherty for years. I saw her perform the role of Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and I fell hard for her gorgeous facility, sweet smile and perky onstage personality. At the time, Juliet was a competition dancer training at Fishback Studio of the Dance—her great-grandmother's studio—in her hometown of Albuquerque, NM. Now, at 16, Juliet's making big moves toward a serious ballet career: She's currently a level-seven student at the San Francisco Ballet School and she's performed as Clara in San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker. Earlier this year she competed at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland. And let's not forget—she's a ballerina named Juliet. It's perfect.
We are so excited to feature Juliet on the cover of this issue. Not only is she a stunning dancer (as you can see from the cover—can this girl take a beautiful picture or what?), she's also super-smart (she was asked to give an inspirational TEDx Talk in 2012!), ultra-sweet and insanely humble.
Click here to read Juliet's cover story. And, as always, we've got plenty of extras for your viewing enjoyment: click here to check out a ton of outtakes from Juliet's cover shoot in L.A. with photographer Joe Toreno, and then watch a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot.
We love you, Juliet, and we can't wait to see what you do next!