High Kicks High Hopes

Rockette auditions, right this way!
I am by no means a stranger to the audition process at Radio City Music Hall. On Tuesday I donned a red lip and french twist for the fourth audition in my Rockette hopeful career. This time, however, was a little different for me because it was my first audition for the Rockettes' New York Spectacular, their new summer show. This show is a tribute to New York City featuring fresh choreography that fuses the infamous precision-dance style of the Rockettes with hip hop and contemporary. Showcasing choreography from the legendary Mia Michaels, fantastical props galore, and actual rain falling on the stage, this production is truly a spectacular (forgive my irresistible pun) celebration of the Big Apple.

If you have ever wondered what it's like to audition for the Radio City Rockettes, keep reading! I'll be taking you behind the scenes of one of the most famous auditions in show business.

The Rockette audition process begins long before you even step foot in the door. Hopefuls from all over the world start lining up around the block hours before the auditions begin. When the doors finally open, hundreds of leggy, beautiful women march into Radio City with a dream in their heart and headshots in hand. You are led to the downstairs lobby, a sleek art deco lounge originally designed to instill a sense of calm and quiet into the large crowds. In this space, you are allowed to stretch and practice all pre-audition rituals. You also are given time to fill out paperwork, pin your number to the right place on your body (your first listening test!), and touch up that famous red lip.

Stretching for those eye-high kicks in the downstairs lobby
When the auditions begin, groups of 80 to 90 women are taken up to the eighth floor, where the Rockette rehearsal space is located. Once you are divided into equal lines, a short combination is taught at lightspeed that tests you with minute details and highlights examples of Rockette technique, like beautiful lines and sharp movement. As soon as the choreography has been taught, small groups perform the combination for the director and a panel of judges. They quickly confer and once all dancers in the room have performed, a list is read of the numbers of the women who are advancing to the next round. Of my group of 80, only four women were kept. This process continues for several rounds including tap and jazz, as well as partnering and pointe in the case of the summer show. Usually the auditions take place over two days, challenging the dancers to remember choreography and improve upon it overnight.

  Just waiting for my day to come!                                            Preparing to enter the audition room.
Unfortunately, this was not my day. I was cut in the first round. What most people don't know about auditions like this is that the directors are usually looking for something very specific. You could be the best dancer in the room, but unless you are that 5'9" redhead the panel is looking for, you will not advance through the rounds. This is why it's so important to never give up. You absolutely never know when your time will come. Even if you are rejected time and time again, it's important to always show up, remind them of your passion and dedication, and learn from great artists. One day it's going to happen for you. One day it will be your day. We will sadly never be able to predict the day that our dreams come true, but I can assure you that they will never come true if you stay home in fear of rejection. Learn to love the "no"s. They make the "yes"s so much more rewarding. Here's looking forward to audition #5!

Until then, I'm happy to be here and ready to work!

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