Much to my family's delight I was able to cram myself into the rented van and drive the three *cough cough four cough* hours back to my home sweet home before rousing myself the next morning, staggering sleepily onto a plane and heading for California! What exactly was in California? The Radio City Rockette audition, that's what! For many dancers this elite line of ladies is a dream job full of prestige and wonder. To link up in a Rockette line, proudly demonstrating perfectly in sync eye-high kicks might be possibly the coolest job I could ever have.
Gracing the stage in 1925 as the Missouri Rockets, these ladies set the precedence for the famed long-legged beauties we know and love today. They first debuted their Christmas show on December 27th, 1932 at Radio City featuring 17 different acts, one including infamous modern dancer, Martha Graham. The original "Roxyettes" as they were called, started with 16 members and now holds 36 woman on the line.
What's incredibly neat about the Rockettes is their dedication to precision and cleanliness in their dancing. Flawless numbers are executed perfectly in line with one another giving the illusion of one single dancer. No one is different, no one sticks out and there is nothing like watching 36 very individual women turn into a line of identical bodies. Not all ladies are able to grace the stage as a Rockette as they must be between 5'6" and 5'10 1/2". Don't lose heart, shorties, as they have ensemble members who are in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular as well.
Did you know the Christmas Spectacular has only been around since 1993? If you haven't watched their infamous "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" number, you should. OCU does their own version however its hard to compete with Radio City. Did you know they've performed for "The Daytime Emmy Awards" and even the premiere of "Miracle on 34th Street?" How awesome!
Well, I proudly sent my dancer self all the way to Burbank, CA for the LA audition for the Rockettes. I was prepared in every sense, however, I had not really mentally prepared myself. Just the Wednesday before my trip I took on full out freak-out mode because I was so worried about my physical condition. Did I look good in a leo, tights and heels? Was my hair going to be right? Was I sharp enough? Precise enough? And dang it, tell me some of these ladies have curves, too! After calming myself down and convincing myself I would make it a fun experience, I did just that. And then I got cut...
Let me just say that one mistake can cost you the whole audition. They expect exactly what they want which is completely understandable because, hello! A Rockette would not be a Rockette if she stuck out in a crowd. I knew the combination, had it down and while stupidly watching the group in front of me I witnessed a mishap for the center girl. My audition point. What to know where I messed up? You guessed it, same spot I witnessed just moments prior to my turn.
Was I disappointed? Sure, but did I have fun? Absolutely! I loved every minute I was in there and I fell in love with this job only four eight counts into the combo. A good majority my serious dancer career I've tried to reject the drill team gene I carry deep in my heart but once I slipped those heels on I couldn't fight it any more. I wanted that job.
So I messed up, chalk it up to good experience and call it a day. If anything I'm not more determined to go back and try again, year after year until I nail it. One gal at the audition was there for the EIGHTH time. Eight times. Eight years she has been trying. I hope I might make it in under three, and that may not happen, but if eight is what it takes, you can bet you'll see me there.
Good luck to everyone in Chicago and I hope everyone waiting on a phone call in June the very best. For now I'll continue with grad school :) Someday you'll see me high kicking it with these legendary ladies!