Behind the Scenes: Auditioning for the Rockettes Summer Intensive

Experiencing what life would be like as one of the glamorous Rockettes is a dream for many, but a reality for Kristen Smith and Aimee Lane. After intense auditions, both girls earned coveted spots in the six-day Rockette Summer Intensive in NYC (42 alumni of the intensive have become world-famous Rockettes!). The girls are also featured on the MSG Varsity three-part series “The Rockette Summer Intensive," which follows several girls as they vie for positions in the workshop. Kristen and Aimee talked to DS about the audition process and their goals for the summer.

Dance Spirit: What did you do to prepare for the audition?
Kristin Smith: The main thing I did was take extra dance classes. At the audition, they look at your jazz and tap technique, but I also worked on my ballet, since that is a requirement for the intensive.

Aimee Lane: I try to get as much sleep as I can before auditions. I don’t do a lot of hard workouts, as that can tighten up my muscles. Plus, I start practicing my hair and makeup about three days before any audition. The Rockettes’ signature hairstyle is a French twist, which is really hard to do on yourself!

DS: What was the audition process like?
KS: We first learned a jazz routine and then a tap routine. For both of them, we split into groups of three to audition. I just thought of the audition as a normal dance class.

AL: Obviously, you have nerves because there’s a lot weighing on the audition day—you’re dancing in front of actual Rockettes! It can be stressful because they teach you the choreography quickly and it really puts your mind to the test. If you have one finger out of line, they notice.

DS: What do you hope to learn at the Summer Intensive?
KS: This intensive is so different and unique—it has a great atmosphere and it’s less competitive than other workshops. I look forward to learning more about myself as a dancer.

AL: The Rockette style is such a different genre of tap and jazz than what you’re used to at a studio. I’m hoping to gain even more knowledge and background about the Rockettes to use for the future (I would love to intern with the Rockettes next year!).

DS: What are your future dance goals?
KS: In the fall, I'll be attending The Boston Conservatory for dance. I hope to someday become a Rockette and maybe audition for professional ballet companies. I also would love to teach dance during my performance career.

AL: To be a Rockette! Broadway is my other passion—for college, I’ve been looking into NYC schools with strong musical theater programs.


Follow Kristen, Aimee and other hopefuls throughout their audition process in “The Rockette Summer Intensive” airing tonight at 7:30 on MSG Varsity.


Photos top to bottom: Dancers audition for the Rockettes Summer Intensive; Summer Intensive hopefuls lined up at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. Both courtesy the Rockettes.

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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