Being a Rockette
Everything I Could Ever Tell You About …
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NAME: Angie Everett | AGE: 33 | HOMETOWN: The Woodlands | QUALIFICATIONS: Radio City Rockette since 1999 / Will perform in the 2006 Radio City Christmas Spectacular tour (through December 3 in Dallas and December 7-31 in Houston)
• When I was a little girl, it was a holiday tradition to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and see the Rockettes perform. The Macy’s parade is definitely how a girl from Texas found out about the Rockettes.
• To be a Rockette, you have to be proficient in ballet, tap, and jazz. I’ve been dancing since I was three.
• The audition is a two-day process. You learn several dance combinations and, after a series of cuts, finish with the famous eye-high kicks. A couple thousand women audition every year.
• It’s the hardest choreography I’ve ever had to learn, because you have to look like everyone else onstage. Is your elbow out to the side or behind you? Is your knee or your pinkie out of place? These things matter. Fortunately, we have dance captains who watch every show and give us notes afterward so we stay clean.
• You never touch the girl next to you in the kick line. It’s an illusion that our arms are hooked up behind us. You just “feel the fabric” of the costumes next to you, so there’s never any pushing. You’re completely on your own.
• There’s a height requirement of 5’6” to 5’10 1/2”. To appear as if we’re all the same height, the tallest girls stand in the middle and the shortest stand at the ends. I’m an end girl.
• There are about eight costume changes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. As soon as you run offstage, you change and run back on. The quickest change is ninety seconds.
• As you change, you’re constantly ripping your hats off and messing up your hair. So we use a lot of hair spray, or hair paste even.
• False eyelashes? Absolutely. Oh, and never use a lip liner that’s darker than your lipstick.
• We rehearse eight hours a day for six days a week for three weeks before the show begins. And then we perform six days a week, with three shows on Friday, four shows on Saturday, and sometimes even four shows on Sunday.
• There’s a big community of Rockettes and former Rockettes. My non-Rockette friends call it the Radio City Sorority. It’s like a special family.
• This year we’re celebrating our eightieth year. My favorite number is “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” which the Rockettes have been doing since 1933.
• Because we’re constantly changing formations, the best seat in the house is the front of the balcony. You can see the whole picture from there.
• Seeing the faces in the audience while onstage, the children’s faces, is just incredible. It’s knowing that you were there once—a little girl watching from the audience.
• This is the first time the Rockettes will perform in Houston. I’m so excited to finally be home for the holidays.