10 facts about the Rockettes

It’s the Christmas season and both New Yorkers and tourists alike are flocking to Radio City Music Hall for the annual holiday tradition of seeing the legendary Christmas Spectacular.  But even if you’ve seen the show every year since you were young, you might not know these 10 fun facts about the Radio City Rockettes:

  • The Rockettes were founded in 1925 as the “Missouri Rockets.” They then became the “Roxyettes” when Roxy Rothafel transferred them to New York and Radio City Music Hall.  But the troupe finally became the “Rockettes” in 1934.
  • The Rockettes wear microphones on their tap shoes for “Rag Dolls” and their marathon tap number, “12 Days.”
  • There are usually six shows of the Christmas Spectacular on any given day during the holiday season. The cast is broken up into two companies—the “blue” and “gold” teams—and perform either the morning or the evening shows. On the one day each week that, say, the blue team has “off,” the gold team will perform all four shows that day.
  • One of the dancers’ fastest quick changes is just 78 seconds!
  • Rockettes have to be between 5’6” and 5’10.5.” The dancers appear to be the same height because they line the tallest girls in the center and trickle out to the “less tall” women on the ends of the kick line.
  • “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” has been performed by the Rockettes since 1933. The iconic number remains an audience favorite.
  • In their most famous kick line, the Rockettes kick to eye-level. They perform about 300 kicks per show and up to four shows per day (that’s 1,200 kicks in a single day!).
  • In 1967 the Rockettes went on strike, demanding paid rehearsals and better wages. Luckily, the strike only lasted 27 days and the dancers secured their demands in time for the season to start.
  • While they appear to be linking arms during their kick lines, the Rockettes don’t actually touch each other’s backs.
  • If you go on a Radio City Stagedoor tour, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and take photos with an actual Rockette.

Now’s the time to get your tickets for this year’s Christmas Spectacular!  But if you can’t make it to New York, you’re not out of luck—You can watch the 75th Anniversary special on Netflix or DVD.  If you dream of one day joining the legendary kick line, audition for the Rockette Summer Intensive to learn audition readiness, precision dance in high heels, and actual choreography from the Rockettes’ repertoire.

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