In celebration of Women’s History Month, four Radio City Rockettes tell us about the important women in their lives and how they have been supported and encouraged throughout their dance journeys. Hear more about these inspiring women below!
One of the most inspiring women in my life, both personally and as a dancer, is my mom, Angelia Betscher. She has always had a passion for the arts and danced as a child herself. She took me to see “The Nutcracker” at the Cincinnati Ballet at two years old to expose me to the beauty of dance. Inspired by what I saw, I began constantly dancing around the house, but unfortunately there was a distinct lack of dance studios in our rural area. My mom has always found creative solutions to problems she’s faced and did everything possible to help me pursue this growing passion. This resulted in bringing the dance studio to me via VHS tape so I could learn to dance from our living room.
I am so grateful for her unwavering positivity when facing a challenge, because that would become even more necessary once I finally began in-person classes and started to really live and breathe dance. Seeing the Rockettes in the “Christmas Spectacular” for the first time as a 13-year-old inspired my decision to pursue dance professionally. When I told my mom that someday I wanted to be on the Great Stage, she told me, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” This translated to my parents moving heaven and earth to provide all the right training, ultimately bringing me to where I am now, having just finished my ninth season as a Radio City Rockette! After nine years dancing in the “Christmas Spectacular,” they still see the show multiple times every single year. I am so grateful for my mom’s unwavering support, because without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
One of the most important women in my life, and especially in my dance career, is my incredible dance teacher, Sandra Glenn. She owned the dance studio I attended for over ten years and was one of my ballet teachers. As a former President of the Cecchetti Council of America, an organization dedicated to maintaining the standards and method of classical ballet training, she mentored me through seven extensive examinations of Cecchetti ballet, which I could not have accomplished without her diligent guidance. She has the gentlest voice and a clever song for every dance combination. I still use this trick for memory, and I am so proud that I learned it from her. Mrs. Glenn would never let me finish a lesson on a negative thought or a feeling of defeat; she would acknowledge the difficulty but reiterate her belief in me, and that is something I always harness in my work.
When she was able to come and watch me perform in the “Christmas Spectacular” as a Radio City Rockette, it was one of the most memorable performances in my five seasons. To have somebody who taught me sit out in the audience and watch me dance on the Great Stage at Radio City Music Hall, the biggest stage of my career, was beyond meaningful. That day, right before the curtain went up, I thought to myself, “Mrs. Glenn, I hope when you watch me, you realize that I am a reflection of all of YOUR work and passion for what you do”.
The woman that has inspired me the most is my mom. I was always dancing around the house when I was little, so she put me in dance classes at the age of three and I’ve never looked back! Although she’s an engineer by trade, my mom has always given me the autonomy to pursue a career path that I’m passionate about. As I got older, I decided to pursue careers in both data science and dance, and my mom was my biggest supporter. She was equipped to help me with my scientific endeavors in a way that she wasn’t with dance, but I appreciate that she surrounded me with teachers and mentors who could aid me in my artistic pursuits – and that includes my journey to becoming a Radio City Rockette. One thing my mom told me before going into the Rockettes audition was to do my thing and enjoy the moment. Looking back on my first two seasons as a Rockette, my mom has served as a constant presence providing positivity and encouragement.
I am so fortunate to have my mom, a dancer and studio owner, as my inspiration. She was my dance teacher growing up and taught me everything I know and everything I needed to know to pursue a career in dance. She inspires me every day to follow my dreams. My mom always taught me to “work hard, stay humble, and be kind.” I live every day by these words and truly believe that they have helped me in becoming the dancer and person that I am today. I still go my mom’s dance classes and learn as much as I can from her to further my dance training. I truly don’t know where I would be without my mom’s endless training, support, and encouragement.