Host Intro: The unemployment rate is still up at 8.1 percent, but the Radio City Rockettes are hiring this week. Callbacks are today, so if you haven’t made the cut, yet, there’s always next year. Acacia Squires reports from Rockefeller Center.
Hundreds of young women in leotards all colors of the rainbow line up around the Radio City Music Hall.
Sound of street at Radio City Music Hall
They’re here for a shot at becoming one of New York City’s famous Rockettes. It’s not even summer, but the dancers are hoping for a spot in the annual Christmas Spectacular.
Sound of counting off One, two, three, four, five…
These are open auditions meaning anyone, well, almost anyone, can come come try out. Many of the dancers showed up shortly after sunrise to get close to the front of the line. Ten-by-ten they make their way into the back of the building and up the service elevator. But before getting a peek at the audition studio, each dancer is measured for her height. Nineteen year old Megan Gesick doesn’t mind.
Gesick: The height requirement is five six to five ten and a half. For me it’s okay, because I am 5’9 so I am right in the middle, but I think it’s really cool that you can accept girls that short.
High kicks are an icon of the Rockettes. Upon passing the height test, the auditioners will pile into a room of 100 or so other dancers. They have fifteen minutes to learn a short, but precise, jazz routine.
Sounds of shoe squeaking and counting off and music.
Time’s up, the room is full of tension. Hopefuls are called up in groups of three, With elaborate eye makeup and perfect hair, they kick, twirl and pose. They have a single shot at nailing the 45 second routine.
Haberman: Another really important thing is being able to assimilate details quickly, so you have to really be smart, too (laughs).
Choreographer and judge, Linda Haberman.
Haberman: You have to kind of get your feet to move ahead of your brain and it’s a lot harder than it looks.
These young women are smart. Many have graduated from college with degrees in business, and other areas. Only thirty five will make it to the final call backs, and even fewer will be chosen as Rockettes. Emily Christiansen is missing a major milestone to be here.
Christiansen: I went to the University of Central Florida. Actually, my graduation ceremony is tomorrow, but I’ll be here, but that’s okay. (Laughs).
She says she thinks it’s worth it for a chance at realizing her dream. The auditions are demanding, but life as a Rockette isn’t a cakewalk, either. Dance season for the Christmas Spectacular is September through December. Meaning endless holiday music and sometimes five or more shows a day. Not to mention, come January, it’s time to find another job and then re-audition in the spring.
Acacia Squires, Columbia Radio News.
The unemployment rate is still up at 8.1 percent, but the Radio City Rockettes are hiring this week. Callbacks are today, so if you haven’t made the cut, yet, there’s always next year. Acacia Squires reports from Rockefeller Center.