There is much more to the renowned dancing troupe known as the Radio City Rockettes than just their immaculate kick line and watt-size smiles. Dancers can perform up to four times per day in the fast-paced, physically demanding precision choreography. Rockettes auditions are made to demonstrate the standard of work expected of those employed, ensuring that applicants have what it takes to work for the firm. You must begin at the yearly open call if you want to become a Rockette and perform on the Radio City stage (along with 500 other dancers).
Here are the opinions of dancer Jacie Scott and the company’s creative director Karen Keeler, a former Rockette herself. Continue reading to learn what to expect at the Rockettes audition and how to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
What can dancers expect at the audition?
Karen Keeler: They may expect performing mixtures of jazz, tap, and kick. As they learn combinations, I wander around the room and provide notes because I’m a very engaged teacher. I can learn a lot about someone’s work ethic if I give them a note and I don’t see it used. The method has taught them how to work in a different manner than they have in the past. I approach it more like a lesson than an audition, and I make an effort to get to know each person.
Jacie Scott: I approach Rockette auditions like I would any other class. I approach the situation with the intention of putting out my best effort, processing the information provided, and carrying it out in a way that I can be proud of. I advise individuals to approach auditions with the mindset that they are performing for themselves in order to avoid becoming sidetracked by other people or attempting to imitate them. Because there will be a lot thrown at you, concentrate on what you can do and go forward incrementally.
Is there a dance background Rockette hopefuls should have?
KK: I believe Ballet forms the cornerstone of a solid technical base. Technique and neat lines are very effective in choreography. However, don’t restrict it because adaptability is crucial. I wouldn’t advise someone who doesn’t tap to attend the audition since you never know what can happen if you just show up.
JS: They stress how important having a foundation in ballet, tap, and jazz is, so I’m pleased I did. I added contemporary, modern, and other styles, and I believe that helped me learn how to learn new dances. You must be able to pick up anything that is thrown your way. NFL cheerleading was more about energy projection because we were on the field and the crowd could be as high as the nosebleeds. On the Radio City stage, that has been beneficial.
How can someone stand out in an audition?
KK: Be yourself. I can tell when someone isn’t being sincere. Don’t go overboard just because you feel like it’s necessary. You’ll work with me if you be yourself are and demonstrate that in the room. These women are never just overdoing it or being cheesy. These women never just go overboard or act corny. They connect with the audience better because of the authenticity of their act.
JS: I had the mentality that it was crucial to incorporate all the information they give us into my dancing while still showcasing my own personality. Without missing the details, you can picture yourself performing the routine. I made an effort to convey how much I wanted the position and how much fun the audition process was for me.
How are the Rockettes different from and similar to other dance companies?
KK: Although the Rockettes are the sole dancing company of their kind, I believe a connection may be drawn between them and the corps de ballet in a ballet company where the focus is on the group, which eventually becomes the star. But what really sets these women apart is how precisely every part of their bodies is shaped. They are all unique people, but I shouldn’t let one of them become the center of my attention. Because the Rockettes and the women who make up the ensemble are always what I should be concentrating on.
What surprised you about the process of becoming a Rockette?
JS: I was taken aback by the entire audition process the first time because I had no idea what to expect. The Rockettes make what they do appear simple, but it’s actually very difficult. I experienced that during the audition. It may look smooth and well-placed to learn four eight-counts for the audition, but it takes a lot of practice to execute it well. That became further clearer to me once I joined the Rockettes. You must ensure that you are in the proper location in addition to doing the dance. While making this movement, you might need to go 3 feet to the right and 4 feet forward while maintaining line with the person in front of you. Contrary to popular belief, a lot more goes into making a pretty picture.
What advice do you have for Rockettes hopefuls?
KK: Attend classes as frequently as you can, switch up your schedule, and avoid growing accustomed to one particular session. Take [class with] several instructors so that your brain is forced to function in a new way, you’re pushing how it functions, and you can learn choreography. Set a goal for yourself in class to perform the choreography exactly as the instructor demonstrates it. To become a Rockette, you must begin to educate your brain to function in that manner. Additionally, be conscious of those around you. The Rockettes start to come together as a line as they focus their energies, cooperate, and discover that togetherness. It’s a constant element of rehearsal: you observe the women around you doing something one way and realize you have to do it the same way.