The Radio City Rockettes rev up holiday fashion
What to expect this season! (Hint: It’s not just a NYC phenomenon anymore.)
“Can we get a break from smiling?” asks Jacquelyn Dowsett at the DS fashion shoot, before bursting into a fit of laughter with her castmates. Decked out in silver high-heeled shoes, with legs that almost touch the ceiling, the Radio City Rockette needed a minute to let her face and kicking legs rest after three hours of posing for photos. And she should take a break while she can get one. Dowsett is one of 32 Rockettes who will fuse jazz, tap and ballet in this year’s Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Starting November 7, she’ll be spreading cheer round-the-clock (as in 30 shows a week!).
This isn’t the same Christmas Spectacular your grandmother saw. “The show is totally re-imagined each year,” says Katie Martin, a returning Rockette. Along with the legendary “Living Nativity” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” (routines that have dazzled audiences since 1933), this year’s crowd will get something fresh: the ladies will board a real Gray Line double-decker bus before going with the audience on a dancing, musical “tour” to famous NYC landmarks, all in the comfort of the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall. The number ends with live explosive fireworks!
The Rockettes aren’t just going to be driving in a bus onstage, but they’ll also actually be touring the country! The brand-new arena tour will be hitting 23 cities before the new year begins. The updated elements—different lighting and costumes, a flying Santa and a 360-degree viewing—all encompass that traditional Rockette spirit.
“It’s the most wonderful experience, whether you’re seeing the show around the U.S. or in NYC,” notes Martin. “A Rockette is a Rockette no matter where she is.”
It’s this eternal optimism and buoyant energy that’s made the troupe more than just a precision kick-line for the past 76 years. Even Dowsett, after asking for a smile break, couldn’t seem to wipe one off her face. The joy this job creates in the dancers is palpable, and it translates to the stage.
Come this fall and winter these NYC-based Rockettes, as well as their arena-tour sisters, will have a lot of kicking to do. But it’s a safe bet that, no matter how tired the dancers are, their smiles will be genuine and of course, perfectly in sync.
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.