10 Things You Don’t Know About The Rockettes

1. We can kick up to 650 times in one day. We do more than 160 kicks per show and perform in up to four shows a day during busy periods!

2. Two iconic numbers have remained nearly unchanged. Two of the most cherished scenes in the show, the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and the “Living Nativity,” have been a part of Radio City’s holiday tradition since they were first performed on the Great Stage in 1933. Our costume for the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” number has remained nearly unchanged (the trousers used to be starched!), and is specifically crafted and sized for each of us.

3. Over 3,000 women have performed as Rockettes. Since the Christmas Spectacular’s opening night in 1933, more than 3,000 women have shared in the legacy by performing as a Rockette. It’s the ultimate sisterhood!

4. Over 1,000 costumes are worn by the cast each show. More than 1,100 colorful costumes are worn in the Christmas Spectacular—from us Rockettes to the ensemble and singers.

5. We do our own hair and makeup for performances. We wear a signature red lip (either MAC Red or MAC Russian Red—both are blue-based tones that pop under the bright lights!), false eyelashes and a French twist.

6. Our shoes are mic’d up. Ever wonder how the entire audience can hear each step of our tap routines? Wardrobe removes the heel and sole of our LaDuca tap shoes and inserts a custom leather sole that attaches to the bottom of the shoe. A new heel is made that allows a special cavity within the heel for the sound transmitter to be stored inside—this helps pick up the sounds of our taps (14,096 AA batteries are used throughout the run of the Christmas Spectacular!).

7. There are 36 Digital Projectors used throughout Radio City Music Hall. Ever wonder how the entire Hall lights up during the Christmas Spectacular? It’s our 36 digital projectors which project imagery onto Radio City’s proscenium arches, creating visuals from Bethlehem’s starry night sky in the “Living Nativity” to Santa’s whimsical workshop in the North Pole. Each projector uses the most advanced 14K digital mapping technology.

8. We weren’t always called the “Rockettes.” The dancers known as the “Missouri Rockets” made their show debut in St. Louis. That same year, the troupe traveled to New York City to perform in the Broadway show Rain or Shine and were discovered by showman S.L. “Roxy” Rothafel. The “Missouri Rockets” were such an instant hit that Rothafel was loath to let them leave after their performances at the Roxy Theatre. Rothafel pleaded with Markert to form another line to replace the departing “Missouri Rockets.” While there were three separate dance troupes performing in New York City at that time, Rothafel moved two of the troupes to Radio City Music Hall for its opening night on Dec. 27th, 1932 where they performed a routine to the song “With a Feather in Your Cap.” He dubbed the chorus line the “Roxyettes.” Two years later, the “Roxyettes” officially became the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.

9. We rehearse six hours a day, six days a week, for six weeks. Nothing beats that feeling when all 80 of us are in our rehearsal space for the first time in nine months. The days are long and there are many, different styles of dance (jazz, tap, and kicklines, of course!) that we brush up on but, with the help of our dance captains and our incredible choreographer and Creative Director, Karen Keeler, we are always prepared to take the Great Stage!

10. There’s a morning and afternoon cast in the Christmas Spectacular. There are a total of 80 Rockettes—40 Rockettes in each cast, and only 36 of us perform onstage at a time. Each cast has four “swings” who can fill in the spots for nine of the women on the line.