There is nothing like the Radio City Christmas Show to make the holidays special. At Dance Connection, we are lucky enough to have one of the wonderfully talented alumni of the world famous Radio City Rockettes as a member of our teaching staff. Miss Tiffany sat down with me to give all of us and idea of what it was like to be part of a New York holiday institution, and what it took to get there.
Miss Tiffany knew at a very young age after getting to see the Rockettes in person that one day she wanted to be up there on that stage. Growing up loving dance and performance Miss Tiffany was a natural fit for the prestigious performance group. She studied at a local studio in her hometown that had a focus on professional performance. At least five students had gone on to become Rockettes and students both male and female had gone on to Broadway careers as well. This was where Miss Tiffany began her dance training.
As she grew up and her skills developed she began traveling to the city to audition and to get a feel for what it was like to live and work in the city as a performer. She took classes and workshops to further her development as a dancer and as a performer in general. At the age of 17 she was able to book a job as a Rockette, but was too young to take the job. She would continue to study and audition until at 18, she was able to sign her contract and become one of the Radio City Rockettes. She remembers being very inspired at that first audition, and she also remembers how badly she wanted to be a part of the amazing group of women that were gathered around her. Rockettes need to re-audition every so often to renew their contracts, so Miss Tiffany was able to inspire other young women as they auditioned to become a Rockette for the first time.
Being part of an elite performance group takes hard work, discipline, and focus. During rehearsals the group would be in the studio 6 days a week from 10 am until 5 pm with a 10 minute break every hour and 20 minutes and an hour lunch during the day as well. Most days the ladies would be at the studio at 9 am to warm up for the day’s rehearsal and frequently stayed an hour after for ice baths and to work with their trainers to either treat or prevent injuries. They would also work with their friends on choreography as well.
While a show is running there are two performance groups, Blue and Gold. The Blue group has Thursday off and the Gold group has Tuesday off. They split the days shows with the Blue group performing in the morning and the Gold group in the evening. In a typical six show day, shows would begin at 9 am with the last at 10 pm. The Blue Group would have their first show at 9 am which would end at 10:30 am, they would have a half hour break, receive their half hour call and the next show would start at 11:30 am. This would continue for the last show.
Their health and fitness was a particular focus, and one of the most amazing things about the group. Rockettes are weighed in at the beginning of a performance or rehearsal run so that their weight can be monitored, but not for the reason you may think. The Rockettes each had a personalized maintenance plan for their health and each of them had an individual body fat percentage that they must maintain. Their weight was able to fluctuate as it normally would 8 – 10 pounds in either direction during the course of a show run. This individualized attention to each dancer’s health and well-being was part of the larger focus that Radio City places on promoting healthy lifestyles, positive body image, and the importance of each individual and their personal contribution to the group as a whole. It is an emphasis that Miss Tiffany says has been a part of the group since the very beginning.
In their down time, the ladies spent a lot of time hanging out together. Miss Tiffany was an ambassador for the group which allowed her to travel to Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Boston, Atlanta, and all over Canada and the US. One of her favorite memories was from a trip to Mexico city where, during a tour of the pyramids outside of the city they were able to witness a volcano erupting!
When Miss Tiffany talks about her experience as a Rockette it is easy to tell what an important and amazing part of her life it was, and how many wonderful memories she made. When I asked her what advice she would give to Dance Connection dancers who had dreams of dancing at Radio City, she had this to say “Focus is incredibly important, you have to throw your whole self into it.”
Being a Rockette takes dedication, hard work, passion, discipline and focus, but it also provides for a fun and memorable experience for those lucky women who are able to represent one of the most beloved groups on stages all over the world.