6 women doing a burlesque dance kick in unison.

How You Can Really Be the Rockette

I recently saw an article in Dance Teacher Magazine that shared some secrets: the secrets of how to get hired as a Rockette.

My mind traveled back to childhood. I started dance lessons at a young age and became enamored by the Rockettes. I wasn’t simply enamored with the way the Rockettes looked or danced, I reached a higher level of entrancement in being intrigued with becoming a Rockette. For years this was my dream job.

Dream fueled by visit.

There was a little fuel thrown on this fire when I was able to see the Rockettes perform in the midst of an adventure in NYC with my dance instructor and two classmates to take lessons from Broadway dance instructors. This was an extra special trip as we three dancers were uniquely skilled for 10-year-olds. It’s no wonder that I was imprinted with a dream as I watched the inline kicks and imagined myself part of the group.

List for kicking success.

Oh, how this list of tips would have fueled my fire even more! One glimpse and I would have pestered my parents silly to help me ‘be’ each one of these things.

This isn’t a list of physical skill requirements but a list of traits. From versatility to help candidates realize being a Rockette is about more than high kicks to making sure that you have the endurance to smile through multiple shows a day for weeks on end during holiday season, this list shares what’s inside the head of today’s creative director Karen Keeler and understand what needs to be inside the head of the success Rockette candidate.

It’s no easy feat to be genuine while you’re nervous or exhausted to be confident and unique yet assimilate into the group and execute with the precision of the Rockette brand.

A few other Factettes.

There are some misconceptions about these famous kickers floating around out there. Being founded in St. Louis in 1925, the Rockettes have had plenty of years for stories true and false to develop!

Rockettes don’t really touch each other – While we think we see them locking arms, they aren’t. They simply touch the fabric of the others costumes and use their core strength to stay in line.  

There is lots of bling – Eight costume changes (some in as little as 90 seconds) with the final number’s costume boasting more than 3,000 crystals.

Older than the minimum – Rockettes are required to be at least 18 years old, however many re-audition for years on end. There are many 13- and 14-year veterans who are there to each newbies the ropes.

They do their own hair. Each Rockette is essentially a beauty guru since they do their own hair in French twists and match up their red lipstick so it can even be seen from the cheap seats.  

No off-season holiday. Rockettes don’t sit around during their ‘down time.’ Many are professional dancers who perform year-round and others do charity work representing the group. Regardless of their activities they must maintain stay in shape for next year!

Not just the same old thing. Regardless of what many think, the Rockettes don’t perform the same show every year. Every year’s performance is fresh and new!

Be the Rockette.

Rockettes represent a famous American brand that is the stuff dreams are made of and being one comes with tremendous responsibility.

There is lots in this list that applies to all dancers seeking success. Even way back in the dark ages when I was dancing we needed to be versatile, listen to details, ‘be’ the group, and show our passion in our faces.  And we had to have stamina to dance, dance, dance for the hours it took to polish moves, combinations and routines into the perfection we wanted them to be – which means we never gave up.

I challenge all dancers with dreams and aspirations to ‘be the Rockette’ to strive for the traits that are expected of the representatives of this famous American brand.

Really, the difference is that Rockettes are required to be 18-year-olds who are between 5’ 6” and 5’ 10.5”…




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