Who Are the Rockettes?

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The Rockettes are a famous precision dance company based in New York City. They are known for their high-kicking routines and synchronized performances. The group was founded in 1925 and has since become an iconic part of American entertainment. The Rockettes have performed at Radio City Music Hall since 1932 and are best known for their annual Christmas Spectacular show. They have become synonymous with the holiday season in New York City. The Rockettes are highly skilled dancers who undergo rigorous training and auditions to become part of the prestigious group.

Do you have any holiday traditions? For more than two million people each year, a special holiday tradition involves attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York City to see one of the most famous precision dance groups in the world: the Radio City Rockettes!

The Rockettes began their journey as the “Missouri Rockets” in St. Louis in 1925. Their founder, Russell Markert, was inspired by a British dance group called “The Tiller Girls” that he saw performing in the Ziegfield Follies show in 1922. He wanted to create his own chorus line of glamorous and precise American dancers who could entertain with style and flair.

When Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City in 1932, the Rockettes (known as the “Roxyettes” at that time) performed alongside 17 other acts. They were a huge success and soon became a permanent fixture at the venue.

Markert expanded the original group of 16 dancers to 36, and their high-kicking, tap dancing show began to amaze audiences on a daily basis. In fact, the Rockettes performed four shows a day, 28 shows a week, 365 days a year at Radio City Music Hall for almost 40 years.

Aside from their performances at Radio City Music Hall, the Rockettes have also showcased their talent at various prestigious events, including military tours during World War II, the Super Bowl Halftime Show, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and presidential inaugurations. Their distinctive appearance and precise high-kick routines are recognized worldwide.

Today, the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular attracts over two million visitors each year. The Rockettes group now consists of 80 women divided into two casts. However, only 36 dancers from each cast perform on stage at a time, just like in the past.

For young girls who grow up taking dance lessons, becoming a Rockette is a popular dream. Only a few spots open up in the cast each year, and hundreds of dancers audition for those limited opportunities.

So, what does it take to become a Rockette? First and foremost, you must be between 5′ 6″ and 5′ 10.5″ tall. Many people mistakenly believe that all the Rockettes are the same height when they watch them perform. However, they are actually just fairly close in height, which creates the optical illusion of uniformity.

In addition to meeting the height requirement, aspiring dancers must demonstrate exceptional talent in various dance forms, including ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. With the Rockettes’ renowned reputation, only the most skilled dancers make the final cut.

Try It Out

Are you ready to dance? Enlist the help of a friend or family member and explore the following enjoyable activities:

  • Go online and explore A Photographic History of the Rockettes. Which costumes do you prefer? Why? Do you aspire to become a Rockette one day? How challenging do you think it would be to perform their famous high kicks?
  • Think you can dance like a Rockette? Give it a shot! Watch the Rockette Dance Moves: Reindeer Knee Pops video online to learn how to master this iconic move. Practice with a friend or family member, and then put on your own performance!
  • Join ABC News online for A Spectacularly Close Look at the Rockettes. Would you like to be one of the over two million people who have the opportunity to witness the Radio City Christmas Spectacular each year? Perhaps one day you can plan a trip to New York City to see the Rockettes live in action!

Sources of Wonder

  • https://www.rockettes.com/history/
  • http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/12/02/top-10-things-didnt-know-about-rockettes.html
  • http://www.danceadts.com/Rockettes%20Micro%20Site/Rockette_12_30/rockette_about.htm


1. Who are the Rockettes?

The Rockettes are a precision dance company based in New York City. They are known for their high-kicking synchronized dance routines and have become an iconic part of American entertainment. The Rockettes perform primarily at the Radio City Music Hall, where they have been a staple of the Christmas Spectacular show since 1933.

2. How many Rockettes are there?

There are typically 36 Rockettes in each performance. These dancers go through a rigorous audition process to be selected for the group. They are chosen based on their talent, technique, and ability to perform in unison. The Rockettes are known for their precision and uniformity in their dance routines.

3. How long have the Rockettes been performing?

The Rockettes have been performing since 1925. They were originally called the “Missouri Rockets” and performed in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1932, they moved to New York City and became the Radio City Rockettes. They have been performing at the Radio City Music Hall ever since and have become an iconic part of New York City’s entertainment scene.

4. What is the height requirement to be a Rockette?

The height requirement to be a Rockette is between 5’6″ and 5’10 ½”. This is to ensure a uniform appearance and synchronization in their dance routines. The Rockettes are known for their precision kicks, and having dancers of similar height helps maintain the visual impact of their performances.

5. How long is a Rockettes performance?

A Rockettes performance typically lasts for about 90 minutes. During this time, the Rockettes showcase their signature high-kicking dance routines, along with other choreographed numbers. The performances are known for their elaborate costumes, set designs, and special effects, all of which contribute to a visually stunning show.

6. Do the Rockettes perform year-round?

While the Rockettes are best known for their performances during the Christmas season, they also perform in other shows throughout the year. They have appeared in various events and television programs, and occasionally go on tour. However, their most famous and longest-running show is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which is performed annually during the holiday season.

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