Dreaming Big With Ginger Rogers

Rockettes Reflections

By Darlene Wendy Frank

Throughout their 90-year history, the world-famous Rockettes have shared the stage—and unforgettable adventures—with many other world-famous personalities. They have appeared at such iconic events as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Super Bowl and on TV shows like America’s Got Talent and Night of 100 Stars. The Rockettes are taking a moment to reflect on their favorite stardust memories.

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Ginger Rogers performs with the Rockettes in 1980.

In the spring of 1980, the Rockettes performed in a show at Radio City Music Hall called A Rockette Spectacular with Ginger Rogers. We shared the stage with the legendary actress, singer and dancer, and, many nights after the show, I got to hang out in the wings with her and talk about our lives as dancers.

Frank's autographed photo of Ginger Rogers.

Frank’s autographed photo of Ginger Rogers.

Darlene Wendy Frank (left) with Ginger Rogers (middle) in 1980.

Darlene Wendy Frank (left) with Ginger Rogers (middle) in 1980.

One of the first times we chatted, I was really nervous, but I just had to tell Ginger my personal story about her.

I was born to be a dancer—when I was a baby, my mother would see me moving to the beat whenever I heard music. I just loved music. One day, the TV was playing an old movie starring Ginger Rogers, and, for the first time, I walked. I walked to the TV and kissed it and said to my mom, “Mommy, pretty.”

As I was telling Ginger my story, her mouth was wide open with such a heart-warming grin on her face, which I will never forget.

“You see, Darlene?” Ginger said. “You didn’t even realize it. You had a dream as a baby to be a dancer and to work with me. And you did. Dreams can come true and remember to stay true to your passion.”

Not only did I grow up to become a Rockette, but I was also able to star in a performance with a kind, elegant, sweet and talented woman who showed me never to give up on my dreams.

Darlene Wendy Frank was a Rockette from 1980 to 1997. She currently resides in Forest Hills, New York.