Meet the Women Who Inspired Us To Become RockettesT
he journey to becoming a Radio City Rockette takes hard work, dedication and perseverance, but most importantly, it requires a solid support system; we wouldn’t be where we are today without the strong, exemplary female influences in our lives! From bringing us to our very first dance classes to cheering us on for our first performance on the Great Stage, these are the amazing women that have empowered and inspired us.
“As a young dancer, there were countless women I aspired to emulate! From Complexions’ Christina Johnson to New York City Ballet’s Aisha Ash, many fierce African-American artists inspired me to pursue my dance career at a very young age. Growing up in the south, I never got the opportunity to see the Rockettes perform live, but I made sure to never miss them on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade either! Every year, my mom and I would hover around the TV to watch the iconic group along with all the other Broadway performances, and without fail, my mom would nudge me every time and say “Samantha don’t you see it? I see YOU on that line.” Maybe it’s a goal I didn’t think I could achieve, or maybe it wasn’t in the forefront of my brain just yet, but either way, my mom continually manifested that dream and helped me make it a reality. It’s safe to say that Mama Cheryl is a big reason why I took that leap of faith and auditioned to be a Rockette. 15 years later and I’m still kicking. —Rockette Samantha B.
“As a child, I always aspired to be a professional dancer. There was never a doubt in my mind that dance was something that would be a part of my life forever; I’ve known since I was three years old. I’ve been making a living as a professional dancer in New York City for over twelve years now and if there’s anyone I have to thank for that, it’s my mother, Jo. My mother has been a constant support system, role model, mentor, and voice of reason, and she has always been my biggest cheerleader as I chased my dreams. Jo worked multiple jobs and sacrificed so much of her personal time just to drive me to and from dance lessons. Children pick up on the habits of the people around them, and my mother showed me that working hard and never giving up were two tools I would absolutely need in life, especially if I wanted to continue dancing. Plus, she gives the best pep talks! I love my mother more than anything and I’m beyond grateful that she has been someone I can continuously look up to each and every day!” —Rockette Sarah G.
“My mother, Julie, has always been my inspiration. Growing up as an only child, she and I were best friends, and today we remain incredibly close. She as always encouraged me to work towards my dreams, however big or small. Every ounce of coordination and agility I get from her athleticism (you should see this woman on a ski mountain!). She loves her friends and family whole-heartedly, almost as much as she loves the holidays. She has been the greatest mom and such an incredible role model for me to become the woman I hope to be.” —Rockette Natalie R.
“When thinking of the woman who inspired me to become a Rockette, so many names came to mind: Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson, Ann-Margret, Chita Rivera, Josephine Baker, Diana Ross, Oprah and the list goes on and on! I’d always admired these women for being fearless in their endeavors. I was thinking about how I came across these women and realized it was because of my mother, Deborah; she is my true inspiration! My mother is certainly not a dancer (though she and my dad argue that they taught me everything I know), but she is the one who inspired me to get inspired. She exposed me to the world and artists that peaked my interests, she nurtured my curiosity, she worked to ensure that I grew as a dancer, and pushed me to achieve, not just the dream of being a Rockette, but any and everything that I hoped to accomplish. When she didn’t know which direction to guide me in, she would reach out and ask those who knew, helping and guiding me to find mentors all throughout my career. She’s been there every step of the way!” —Rockette Danelle M.
“I first met Corinne during Christmas Spectacular rehearsals when I was playing the role of Clara (she was a Rockette at the time!). I knew when the Rockettes were finishing their daily rehearsals, so one day, I decided to wait in the hallway in the hopes of meeting one of my idols. Sure enough, Corinne came right up to me, hugged me and introduced herself; I was completely starstruck! We quickly bonded and Corinne took me under her wing, becoming my mentor and older sister. She would help me with my eye high kicks offstage, and when she was on stage I watched her in awe, trying to mimic every move. After that Christmas season, Corinne continued to educate me in my dance studies, becoming my jazz teacher. She always pushed me to my limits in class and told me that where there is a challenge, there is growth. To this day, when I am challenged with choreography, rather than becoming discouraged I remind myself that I am growing into a better dancer! Corinne even gave me my first pair of LaDuca shoes to wear during my Rockette audition! Without her kindness, patience, friendship, and faith in me, I would not be where I am today and for that, I am forever thankful!” —Rockette Katelyn G.
“My mother, Pacita, is my inspiration. She grew up in the Philippines with very little opportunity as a child. Still, she has always loved dancing and singing—sometimes I even think she can break it down on the dance floor better than me! I know she would have become a dancer, given the chance, and that is why I work as hard as I do. I know she still can’t believe her daughter dances at Radio City Music Hall. She is my number one fan, and I’m continuously inspired by her day after day.” —Rockette Jackie A.
“My mother, Marsha, has been an essential source of support and inspiration throughout my entire life. Starting at an early age, she encouraged me to try every activity I was interested in and gave me opportunities to see the world outside of Kansas City (that’s where I’m from!). Every summer growing up, she would bring me and my sister to New York City to take dance classes, go to Broadway shows, and see firsthand that my dreams of becoming a professional dancer were possible with hard work and heart. When I was cut following my first Rockettes audition, I immediately called her and she gave me some advice that I’ll never forget: “Take that audition as a learning experience, and keep moving forward.” She was right, because at the end of the day, I still got to dance. Her belief in me is what helped me gain the confidence and courage to continue auditioning for the Rockettes, until I got the call I’d been hoping for—I’m a Radio City Rockette!” —Rockette Mindy M.