The Rockettes are getting ready for a growth spurt, and that starts with a newly-created job: artistic director.
While the iconic precision dance troupe has of course always had artistic leaders for each of its shows, its parent organization, Madison Square Garden Company, is now looking to hire someone to oversee the artistic vision of all of the Rockettes' year-round programming. That includes workshops, outreach activities and, intriguingly, new productions.
In a press release, president of creative content and productions Jennifer Vogt said, "It's time to grow the Rockettes brand beyond its beloved annual attraction, the Christmas Spectacular, by expanding the creative direction of this amazingly talented company."
The Rockettes began in St. Louis in 1925 as the "Missouri Rockets," and moved to New York's Radio City Music Hall for the theater's opening in 1932. Today, their extraordinarily popular Christmas Spectacular plays up to five shows a day from November to January. But over the years, the company has also experimented with other productions, trying to replicate that holiday success.
Today's announcement about the search for an artistic director indicates that the brand is looking to evolve beyond the traditional kickline, and become a year-round presence in the dance world:
"The artistic director will be responsible for developing an all-female identifying dance company that moves beyond one production and one style of dance. This individual will work with the productions team to develop and spearhead future shows that attract new creative teams, incorporate new styles of dance and serve as a complement to the long-running Christmas Spectacular."
The use of the term "female identifying" seems to imply that the company might be opening up to a more 21st-century concept of gender when hiring dancers. Particularly since the job description on the application page underscores the primacy of making the troupe more diverse and inclusive.
To be sure, MSG also says they're looking for a director who will preserve the company's historic legacy, so those classic unison high kicks won't be disappearing anytime soon. But we might be seeing a whole new side of the Rockettes in the next few years.