You know the song “I Wanna Be a Rockette”? That is 100% how I’ve felt pretty much my entire life. Even after I quit dancing in eighth grade, I still dreamed of being a Rockette. It was a childhood dream that I’ve held onto long after it was reasonable or even feasible. I actually used to be kind of tall for my age with the longest legs in my dance classes. My legs apparently just stopped growing in fifth grade while the rest of me caught up. I was 5′ 3″ throughout high school and grew about two inches throughout college (#verylatebloomer)… so I’m shy half an inch for the necessary 5′ 6″ minimum. Of course, the lack of dance training would be the first thing holding me back, but let’s just pretend like it’s solely a height issue 😂. (Let a girl dream!)
My family used to travel to NYC pretty frequently. I think there was a stretch where we went every year. We’d always go to as many Broadway shows as possible (probably one of the best investments my parents made for us!) and one year we were there around Christmas/New Year’s and went to see the Rockettes. Needless to say, I was hooked on the high kicks.
While I was in Tampa for Thanksgiving, I got an email from my friends at Venus about doing a dance class with the Rockettes. It was the fastest “yes!” reply I’ve ever sent! Venus is the official razor of the Rockettes, and I think it’s such a genius partnership for them. A few people from the press and social media were invited… it was so much fun and felt like my dream did come true, even if it was only for two hours. Seriously, I loved every second of it!!!!
The two Rockettes who taught the class were amazing. It was fun to hear about their audition experiences and interesting to know about some of the more behind the scenes of it all. Melinda, the Rockette on the left, has an eight-month-old baby and danced last year’s season while she was pregnant! As much as I like to dream about being a Rockette, being a professional dancer is no joke. The precision that goes into every step was insane. I didn’t think it would be easy at all, but I was impressed by the various positions that they had to eyeball– and nail– alongside everyone else in the company with no room for error. For example, the lines alone can be split, toed, or heeled…. just the slight inch or two could make a huge difference in how the dance looks.
During the class, we learned a few eight counts of the iconic toy soldier dance. It’s been in the repertoire since the 30s and is basically as “Rockette” as it gets! We attempted the most basic steps, and it was such a challenge. We also learned a little portion of a dance complete with the high kicks. I. Was. Living. For. It.
After the class concluded, we did a quick tour of Radio City Music Hall, and I more or less floated home I was just so happy.
PS Anyone can actually sign up to do a dance class with the Rockettes. It looks like it’s wrapped up for the year, but might be something you’re interested in for next year. A reader went after seeing the class I did on Instagram, and she said it was a blast– but also filled with kids…. so if you’re going to do it, bring a bunch of your girlfriends.