When we watch the Rockettes perform in the
Radio City Christmas Spectacular, we see a group of impeccable dancers moving in perfect unison—not a sequin or an eyelash out of place. But it takes a lot of intricate behind-the-scenes work to keep the Rockettes stage-ready. Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular experience, with insider information from NYC dance captain Traci Reszetylo.
Over 500: Dancers who audition for the Rockettes each season. “The line wraps around Radio City Music Hall!" says Rockette Traci Reszetylo.
Christmas Spectacular performances in NYC
37: Miles the Rockettes' double-decker bus from the “New York at Christmas" scene travels across the stage during the show's run
72: Wireless microphones used to amplify the Rockettes' tap sounds. “There's one small mic on the arch of each of our tap shoes," Reszetylo says. “They catch everything, so we have to be very clean with our sounds—no extra brushes or scrapes or scuffs."
40: Rockettes in each Radio City Music Hall performance
80: NYC Rockettes
15,000: Red dots applied to the cheeks of the Rockettes each season during “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers"
The Rockettes in rehearsal (photo by Carl Scheffel/MSG Photos)
216: Hours the Rockettes rehearse before opening night. “We go six hours a day, six days a week, for six weeks," Reszetylo says. “It's all about creating that famous Rockette precision, down to the fingertips—and that takes a lot of time."
16: Shows each Rockette does per week during busy periods, like the week after Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas—sometimes as many as five a day!
78: Seconds the Rockettes have to change costumes between “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and “New York at Christmas." “There's one dresser for every three Rockettes, and we have the process down to a science," Reszetylo says. “You're always putting on your earrings and your hat right as you walk onstage. I've gone on for 'New York at Christmas' with my 'Wooden Soldier' cheeks still on!"
"Snow" (photo by Dan Niver/MSGE Creative)
More than 900: Swarovski crystals on the Rockettes' sparkliest costume, for “Snow." “The 'Snow' costumes are my favorite, because they embody what the Rockettes are," Reszetylo says. “Since no two snowflakes are alike, each costume is a little different—slightly different shades, slightly different designs—but they make a beautiful picture together. Similarly, while each Rockette is an individual, onstage we make a single unified line."
9: Costumes each Rockette wears during the show
102: Shows each Rockette performs in. “We have two different casts, and we split the performances pretty much down the middle," Reszetylo says.
Traci Reszetylo (right) in the dressing room (photo by Avi Gerver/MSG Photos)
1,500: Kicks the Rockettes do on their busiest show days. “There are 300 kicks a show, between strut kicks, which come to the waist, and high kicks, which go to the eye," Reszetylo says. “On five-show days, that's a lot of kicking. Needless to say, we get in pretty good shape over the course of the season. We definitely earn our Christmas cookies."
“As a Rockette, you have all this onstage choreography that has to be perfect. But the choreography offstage is just as complicated, and you have to nail that, too."
Expressions Dance Alliance president Liz Ladley addressing the company (Sabrina Thadani, courtesy Liz Ladley)
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