Flashback Friday: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

By Cambria Sawyer

Admired by many to be some of the most inspiring dancers, strongest athletes and empowered women, the Rockettes of the classic Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which captivated audiences at the Frank Erwin Center on Dec. 30 and 31, 2008, will hit the stage once more this holiday season for their annual Christmas show at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Their dazzling performance is the product of many months of training and rehearsals, a process that begins early each year with auditions in March.

“Rockettes must be between 5’6″ and 5’10 ½” tall (measurements will be taken in stocking feet). Rockettes candidates must be proficient in ballet, tap, and jazz,” the Radio City audition page reads.
After making it through the first round of the audition process, which is an obligatory physical and training requirement, hundreds of brightly-colored leotards and beige heels flood the recital hall on the first day of tryouts and each Rockette hopeful is given a number tag that the judges use as an identifier.

The hundreds of hopefuls take turns dancing in different rooms for many different judges. The women who demonstrate the best mastery of choreography and technique move on to a secondary round. As expected, the enormous pressure can stir up some nerves on the dance floor.

Those who make the cut are invited to callbacks, where their technique and form are scrutinized even more closely. At this point, the tryouts have consolidated into only one room, and the remaining women take the studio floor for one final round of observation.

For many who come to tryouts it is their first time, but many others return after being cut previous years with sharpened skills and a hope to make the show.

Regardless of who she is or where she is from, each Rockette hopeful dreams of the outstanding show, adoring fans and longstanding tradition that stands before them should they be the lucky one receiving a callback.

Visit the Frank Erwin Center website to see who's coming, and subscribe to Be the First to Know to get a jump on upcoming pre-sales and ticket giveaways.

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