By HERMIA JEAN-LOUIS
Glistening like ornaments under studio lights on Thursday the Rockettes “kicked” off a spirited rehearsal for their annual Christmas Spectacular.
Since their debut in 1933, the dance troupe of Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center has upheld the tradition of spreading Christmas cheer by performing highly synchronized, high-stepping dance routines that appear as smooth as silk, light as snowflakes and precise as surgery.
The rehearsal, where much of the glistening arose from beads of perspiration, the dancers showed all the hard work and preparation that goes into the shiny final product.
Choreographer Julie Branam, a former Rockette who considers herself a “mother hen” of the young women, described them as “athletic, strong and powerful.” The 80 dancers work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week for 6 weeks, clacking on high heels until the first show on Nov. 10. Rehearsals are strict in making sure that every toe is pointed and every smile is brighter than ever.
One Rockette, Hailey, 18, described the feeling as a “great time”, adding that the pain of the nonstop dancing doesn’t set in until they stop rehearsing.. “We’re dancing so much, and our energy is up all the time so we don’t really think about it,” Hailey said. At such a young age, Hailey knew she wanted to be a Rockette when she first saw the show in 2013. Landing a spot on the line was“pure surreal-ness.” She advised other aspiring Rockettes to “never stop trying, keep at it and stay true to your dreams.”
Branam said the show features something new every year.
“We are always trying to up our game at Radio City,” she said. This holiday season Radio City has added new technical elements that gives a more interactive show with the audience, with new LED screens to create a more vivid and sharper image,
The innovations, however, will not overshadow traditions such as the Nutcracker, New York at Christmas, wooden soldiers and the living nativity.