‘Tis the Season: It’s Christmas at Radio City Music Hall

By Kendra Callari

Although summer is right around the corner (hello backyard BBQ’s!), the holiday season was in full swing last week at Radio City Music Hall where there were open call auditions for dancers in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Échappéing while auditioning for the part of Clara!

Échappéing while auditioning for the part of Clara!

From 10- to 14-year-old girls auditioning for the part of Clara (the main character in The Nutcracker number) to male and female performers wishing to be a part of the ensemble, we saw almost 500 people at Radio City Music Hall hoping to land a role in our iconic holiday show.

“I wear this lucky flower to all my auditions,” Julia, 10, who made it to the final round of the auditions for Clara, told Rockette Danelle. “I won’t find out if I got the part of Clara until the beginning of August. I am going to be so nervous all summer!”

During the hour-long en pointe audition, the group of young girls learned three ballet combos from the Christmas Spectacular, and had to perform in groups of three.

Three-at-a-time for the male ensemble auditions!

Three-at-a-time for the male ensemble auditions!

“The hardest thing was picking up the choreography quickly,” 12-year-old Kayla, who was one of the Clara’s in last year’s show, told Rockette Taylor. “Trying to express my feelings through the dance while trying to remember the choreography was most challenging.”

While the Clara auditions were mainly en pointe, both the male and female ensemble auditions focused on a variety of styles, including ballet, jazz, and “Russian” combinations, as well as a singing portion.

“Going into the audition, you don’t really know how you’re going to feel—it’s very overwhelming and surreal,” said Natalie, 17, who came from Dearborn, Mich. for the audition (it’s her first audition in NYC!). “I’ve always wanted to be a Rockette, but not being tall enough, I got really exciting knowing that there were other parts in the show!”

Even though there was a lot of new talent at auditions, there were a handful of veterans who are hoping to re-join the cast for this year’s show.

Rockette Danelle chatting with Christmas Spectacular veteran, Kristin.

Rockette Danelle chatting with Christmas Spectacular veteran, Kristin.

“I have done the show for four years—two years on the road and two years in New York,” said Calvin, who has been a male ensemble dancer. “It’s a very warm environment, and when you come into the job, everyone is just so supportive of you—from the production team to the musicians.”

Kristin Zettlemoyer, who stars on Lifetime’s reality series, “Little Women: New York” has been in the Christmas Spectacular for the past 15 years (uninterrupted!).

“Performing in front of 6,000 people is the best feeling,” Kristin, who has played the roles of elves and baby bears, told Rockette Danelle. “It is an honor to be here and I love coming back. It’s the most family-driven atmosphere—there is so much love and respect.”