By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City- Rachel, the rockette whom we had a photo op with before the Christmas Spectacular unfolded before our eyes, quipped that one had to be between 5.6 to 5.10 ft./in. tall to be able to audition as a dancer.
We had a very quick cordial conversation before cameras were clicking. Towering before me, she volunteered that she has a degree in Dance before joining The Rockettes a few years back. And so I asked if a dance degree makes the job easy.
She responds that it is not that easy at all. “Always a lot of hard work and discipline.”
Your eating too must be disciplined? No no, she said, we can eat anything with the work that we do.
Backstage around the time we watched The Rockettes, the precision dance company figured in the news about performing at the President-elect Trump inaugural while some dancers did not feel like they want to.
Weeks later, the matter had been fairly resolved. No one was forced to perform. Thanks to some rockettes who articulated their voice against performing. The show goes on anyway, spectacularly.
The Rockettes was founded in 1925 in Missouri by Russell Markert. It moved in Radio City Music Hall in 1932 bringing with them the grace and perfection of ballet, tap, and modern dances on stage.
The ensemble of precision dancers gradually took in non-white performers. In 1985, Japan-born Setsuko Maruhashi was the first Asian rockette and in 1988, Jennifer Jones debuted as the first black rockette. In 2004, Filipino-Polish rockette Christine Seinicki graced the stage with her charm and high kicks. She still is a dancing star to this date.
Watching the Christmas Spectacular creates in me nothing but a sense of admiration for the dancers, their dance directors and the entire production crew.
Up close, each performance is a spectacle of magic because of the dedication and discipline given to the whole ensemble since its inception in 1932.
No wonder The Rockettes has become a must see for the young and old alike. I will remember it for the rest of my life.