Auditions are like vegetables: Are they the most delicious food? Probably not. Are they essential for your growth as a dancer? Definitely.
We love asking the pros for their advice, because we know the important role auditions play in every dancer's career. Whether we're breaking down the basics for first-time auditionees, giving you real talk on mistakes you don't know you're making or keeping it light with stories of pros' worst audition mistakes, we're always looking for tips to help you make it to the final round.
A Rockette audition (photo via New York Daily News)
With audition season almost upon us, who better to share advice than our favorite leggy ladies, the Radio City Rockettes? We love that they hold auditions every year and are always on the lookout for new performers. Here are some of their top tips for a solid audition experience:
- Review all of the audition requirements and guidelines...more than once. (You do NOT want to be that girl who brought black shoes when tan ones were required.)
- Use a folder or envelope to hold all your paperwork, like application forms, audition fees, headshots and resumes (and extra headshots and resumes).
- If you're asked a question or interviewed, listen carefully, take a breath and then speak. (It's not a great feeling to blurt out an answer, accidentally interrupt someone and then have literally no idea what you just said.)
It's an indisputable fact that the Radio City Rockettes never look bad. (I mean, these ladies can even work it in toy soldier costumes.) But we've become so accustomed to seeing them dolled up in holiday-themed costumes—candy stripes, snow flakes, Santa suits and the like—it was hard for us to imagine what their looks for the New York Spring Spectacular might be.
Whelp, we are sooo not disappointed. The show that seems to have brought out all the big guns enlisted three top fashion designers—Diane Von Furstenberg, Zac Posen and Isaac Mizrahi—to each create one look for the Spring Spectacular's ode to New York Fashion Week. High fashion + dance is always a good thing, and we're thrilled to see the two worlds collide outside of ballet. (If you're listening, fashion gods, that doesn't mean we don't want more ballet couture collaborations. Please keep those coming, too. #neverenough)
You can check out the three designs below, but if you'd prefer to see them in person, we've got some fantastic news: It's still not too late to enter our New York Spring Spectacular ticket giveaway for the March 27 performance. Or, if you'd rather guarantee your spot in the audience, you can purchase tickets using the discount code DANCE and save 20 percent. You've got options!
All slideshow photos by Angela Cranford/MSG Photos.
[portfolio_slideshow nowrap=0 thumbs=true timeout=4000 showtitles=true showcaps=true showdesc=true]
Alexis Stewart of Elmont, NY, rehearses her performance to “He Lives in You” from The Lion King in front of celebrity guest mentors Mindless Behavior, Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, Broadway actor Tony Vincent, Rockettes Karilyn Surratt and Tara Dunleavy and Knicks City Dancers Alyssa Quezada and Ana DeMatos. (by Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix)
Rockettes are famous for their lengthy legs, perfect time steps and star quality—but what many don’t know is what they’re up to when they’re not on stage. Each spring, the Rockettes, alongside other divisions of the Madison Square Garden Company, give children their own shining moment on the Radio City stage through non-profit charity Garden of Dreams.
Established in 2006, Garden of Dreams turns dreams into realities for children facing adversities from illness to homelessness. The Rockettes serve as judges, mentors and inspirations for children who audition for the charity’s talent show, which takes place on the Radio City Music Hall stage. So far, Garden of Dreams has provided magical and memorable opportunities for over 225,000 children and their families!
Here’s how it works: Last month, contestants auditioned for a rotating panel of expert judges including Broadway stars, Knicks City Dancers and, of course, Rockettes. Then, those who were chosen presented their acts twice more before the final performance while getting pointers from the judges on how to fine-tune their acts and eliminate their nerves. The final talent showcase, called “Dare to Dream,” is this Tuesday, April 16, and it will include approximately 200 children from across the tri-state area.
What are the highlights? There are too many to count! But Rockette and judge Tara Dunleavy told DS: “A 5-year-old boy will sing Bruno Mars. He’s so cute and fearless, and so much fun to watch.”
If you're in NYC, there’s no reason to miss this touching event, because it’s open to the public and free of charge! For more info, check out gardenofdreamsfoundation.org
It's kind of hard to believe that the #MannequinChallenge has only existed for about two weeks. Because it is absolutely EVERYWHERE. There is no better thing to do right now than to film you and your friends not moving for an uncomfortably long period of time. And we're not saying that sarcastically—we're actually obsessed with it. The results are frequently, for some confusing reason, mesmerizing.
When the Rockettes do the #MannequinChallenge, though? There's less confusion as to why that's awesome. First, the Rockettes can do no wrong; second, they're precision dancers, for goodness' sake, which means holding a pose is literally in their job description and they're darn good at it; and third, their take on the meme gives us a fascinating behind-the-scenes peek at Radio City Music Hall.
Major bonus points, by the way, go to the Rockette who chose to freeze herself mid-foam roll:
That is commitment. Ouch.
A video posted by Rockettes (@therockettes) on
It is November 7, ladies and gentlemen. It is two-and-a-half weeks before Thanksgiving and a full 48 days before Christmas. It is objectively too darn early for anything related to mistletoe and jingle bells and chestnuts roasting on open fires. (Especially for us dancers, who have already been drowning in Nutcracker rehearsals for two months and just want to plug our ears and "lalalalala" our way to oblivion whenever we hear the Trepak music at the mall because NO LORD NOT YET.)
But! Here's the thing: We can't be cynical about anything to do with the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, because it is real holiday magic of the highest order. Those leggy ladies could perform "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" in the dead of August—which totally happens every year, btw—and we would still clap and giggle and squee with delight. They are that wonderful.
Since the Christmas Spectacular opens this Friday, the Rockettes have been out and about in the world a lot recently. This morning, they stopped by "The Today Show" in all their sparkly glory to give us a taste of the holiday goodness that'll be on offer at Radio City up to five times a day (seriously!) for the next two-plus months. The full video isn't available online, boo, but even this preview snippet will be enough to get you in the ho-ho-holiday spirit. (Also, it was like 40 degrees in NYC this morning and those ladies were gettin' it in halter dresses and tights, which, hello, #MotivationMonday.)
— 12 News (@12News) November 7, 2016
There are zillions of makeup goodies out there, and just as many ways to wear them. Rather than spending the rest of your life trying to find that perfect black eyeliner pen, take a cue from these pros, who have streamlined their prep routines to get the job done night after night.
Megan Levinson, Radio City Rockette
Lloyd Knight, Martha Graham Dance Company principal
Jenny Driebe, Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson ONE dancer
Madison Keesler, English National Ballet first artist
Megan prepping her Rockettes look (photo by Rana Faure/MSG Photos, courtesy MSG Entertainment)
Megan Levinson's Routine
“I start by blending liquid foundation on my entire face, and then use concealer under my eyes. Next I apply eye shadow primer on my eyelids and let it dry as I fill in my eyebrows. I mix eye shadows, and always make sure to define the crease of my lid with a dark brown. Then I put on mascara and false lashes. Once my eyes are done, I set my face with powder foundation and apply blush. Finally, and most importantly, I finish off my makeup with the famous Radio City Rockette red lip!”
Megan’s Pro Tip
“The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is 90 minutes of non-stop action with athletic choreography and quick changes, so we need our makeup to stay in place,” she says. “I always apply Sealed With a Kiss lip seal by Cosmetically Sealed over my lipstick to keep it looking perfect during the whole show. Also, eye shadow primer is life-changing!”
A Few of Megan’s Go-To Products
•Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion and Eyeshadow Palette in Naked
•MAC Russian Red lipstick
(“It’s the iconic Rockette color!”) and blush in Mocha
•Ardell false eyelashes
Lloyd Knight's Routine
“I begin by moisturizing my face and applying foundation. Then
I move on to eye makeup: first shadow, then liner and then mascara.
Lloyd Knight with his makeup spread (photo by Brigid Pierce, courtesy MGDC)
Depending on what I’m dancing, I like to change up the colors or the boldness of the lines. After my eyes are done, I contour my cheekbones and jawline, apply lipstick to seal the deal and hit the stage!”
Lloyd's Pro Tip
“It’s always best to go out into the house to see how much makeup you think you might need,” he advises. “Determine how far away the audience will be sitting, and try to see what someone else’s stage makeup looks like from the house. You don’t want to overdo it, or wear too little.”
A Few of Lloyd's Go-To Products
•Make Up For Ever foundation in 180=R530 Brown (“It matches my skin color perfectly!”) and black Graphic Liner Pen (“It makes for a really clean and sharp look.”)
•Sephora eye shadow in Colorful Sandcastle and Colorful Diamonds Are Forever, and Waterproof Contour Eye Pencils in White, Cocoa and Black
Jenny Driebe's Routine
“Each dancer in Michael Jackson ONE has a specific look created by the amazing makeup artists at Cirque du Soleil. I always begin with a primer base and then apply silver cream
Jenny Driebe in her finished look (courtesy Jenny Driebe)
by Make Up For Ever to my lids, brow arch and inner eye. I draw a pink line from the inner corner of my eyebrow down my nose, blend it out over my eye, and blend blue into the outer corner to create a smoky look. Then I apply foundation; contour and blend; set it with translucent powder; brush the excess powder away; and repeat everything with powder eye shadow, contour and blush. I line my eyelids and fill in my brows. Finally, I add glue and silver glitter to my eyelid, and the unique rhinestone appliqué
I wear goes on my cheek.”
Jenny's Pro Tip
“This was taught to me by one of the awesome makeup artists from Cirque du Soleil: For a 3-D lip look, apply lip liner and lipstick as usual, using a brush to blend them together. With a thinner brush, apply a line of cream highlight around your lips. Use powder to set it, and voilà! Beautiful 3-D lips that really pop!”
A Few of Jenny's Go-To Products
•Make Up For Ever Star Powder (“It highlights with shimmer.”)
•MAC Bone Beige Sculpting Powder (“to enhance bone structure”) and False Lashes mascara
Madison Keesler's Routine
“I always start with face primer and then do my brows. I follow with foundation, concealer and contouring. Then I powder my face with setting powder and ‘bake’ my T-zone. Baking is when you leave excess powder on your face for a few extra minutes before gently
Madison Keesler in full stage makeup (courtesy Madison Keesler)
brushing away the excess—this step is key! Then I prime my eyelids, use different eye shadow colors to define the crease, and use liquid liner on the top and bottom lids. I finish with mascara and lipstick, and any extra blush, highlighting or contouring.”
Madison's Pro Tip
“Choosing a lipstick color is very important because it can really change the overall look of your makeup. Also, to get the best brows, do them first! I do brows right after primer because it helps the brow product stick.”
A Few of Madison's Go-To Products
•Tarte Clean Slate primer in Poreless
•Cover FX contour kit in P Light Medium
•Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
It’s official! Not only are the Rockettes unveiling a brand new summer show this year—titled New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes—but they’ve also tapped genius Mia Michaels to choreograph and direct.
That’s right: Michaels will be given full creative reign. And after the awesome opening number she created for last year's Spring Spectacular, we’re super excited to see the finished product. "The Rockettes are such a special group of women, and no other dance company in the world delivers the same kind of passion, femininity and power through dance. It is going to be an epic ride!” Michaels says in a Rockettes press release.
A classic kickline from last year's Spring Spectacular show (photo by Jason Allen via USA TODAY)
The show will pay tribute to NYC, following the adventures of a brother and sister who get separated from their parents during a trip to the city. The siblings will make their way through the Big Apple, receiving help from various landmarks come to life—from the Wall Street bull to the George M. Cohan statue in Times Square.
A few favorite elements from last year’s spring show will make an appearance this year, too: The 26-foot Statue of Liberty puppet and the jaw-dropping tap number in real rainfall to “Singin’ in the Rain” (sans Derek Hough, unfortunately) will return. What won't be included this time around? The Spring Spectacular's celeb cameos, either in person (à la DHough) or via voiceover. The leggy Rockette ladies will be the stars of the show, which we're more than OK with.
The epic "Singin' in the Rain" tap number from last year's Spring Spectacular (photo by Dan Niver via NewYork.com)
The New York Spectacular runs all summer (June 15–August 7) at Radio City Music Hall. Be sure to check it out when you’re in town for Nationals or summer intensives!
We've been living for the Rockettes and their fierce moves this (and every!) holiday season. So naturally, we were thrilled when Maddie Ziegler joined forces with a few of the stellar ladies to learn a classic Rockette combo. Teen Vogue's video follows Maddie from the dressing room—where she prepped and primped to Rockette-level glam—to the studio, ready to learn the choreo.
BAM! (via YouTube)
The always humble Maddie admitted that the moves were a lot harder than she anticipated—but after a few run-throughs, she obviously nailed them and looked like a seasoned pro. Watch the whole video below, and be sure to check out the Rockettes' dance moves series!