I Wanna Be a Rockette

Linda Haberman leads hopefuls through the audition routine. (photo by Amanda Schwab/Starpix)

It was a warm day in April, but at Radio City Music Hall people were already getting into the holiday spirit: Nearly 500 dancers were about to audition for a chance to perform as a Rockette in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Members of the staff greeted each other with “Merry Christmas!" as they herded the nervous, LaDuca-shod auditionees through the theater's maze of hallways and rehearsal studios.

For the Rockette hopefuls, the day was a whirlwind. After learning and performing four 8-counts of the Rockettes' signature precision jazz choreography in just 30 minutes, they found out whether they'd made the audition's first cut. What does that kind of intense pressure feel—and look—like? Dance Spirit went behind the scenes to find out.

Dancers came from all over the country to audition for the Rockettes—many of them for the second, third or even fourth time.

Rockette auditionees line up outside Radio City Music Hall. (photo by MSG Entertainment)

(photo by MSG Entertainment)

(photo by MSG Entertainment)

(photo by MSG Entertainment)

After posting her dance video on the Rockettes' Facebook page, Paige Melanson, from Las Vegas, was voted the winner of the Rockettes' “Jump the Line" contest, which earned her a trip to NYC for the audition.

Paige Melanson (photo by MSG Entertainment)

“Our nerves were going!" Paige says of the audition's first round. “Linda was very precise about where your arms had to be, where your foot had to be, where your fingers had to be."

(photo by Amanda Schwab/Starpix)

(photo by Amanda Schwab/Starpix)

"The Rockette style is all in the details. Precision dance isn't like anything else. You can be a great dancer and not be good at this." --Linda Haberman, director and choreographer of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

(photo by MSG Entertainment)

(photo by MSG Entertainment)

The dancers learned the routine in one large group, practiced a few times in smaller groups and then performed for the creative team in trios.

(photo by MSG Entertainment)

Paige made it through the first cut, but was not called back after the second round. “Of course I felt a little disappointed," she says. “But there's always next year."

(photo by MSG Entertainment)

(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 by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

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
Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)

All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.

Keep Reading Show less
Dance on TV
Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

Keep Reading Show less



Get Dance Spirit in your inbox