very dancer who has ever been a Rockette has performed our iconic Wooden Soldier Fall. And despite the fact that we’ve been doing it since 1933, it is no easy feat to accomplish. So what goes into ensuring that every Wooden Soldier falls perfectly?
Long before the curtains open for the first time on the Great Stage each holiday season, we’re rehearsing the Fall in smaller groups under the guidance of our dance captains and Creative Director, Karen Keeler.
“We start the fall with six women at a time, and then we add and do twelve women at a time, and slowly add more and more Rockettes until we have a full line of 36 doing the Wooden Soldier Fall,” Rockette Hailee S. explained.
Then, once we get to the full line, the Fall itself is actually an illusion. It seems like we are falling, but each Rockette is actually lifting taller out of her legs to maintain a plank the whole way down. We need to do this in order to make the full fall go nice and slow.
While no two Wooden Soldier Falls are exactly the same, each one requires strength, agility and the precision that the Rockettes are known for. That’s what makes it a fan favorite.