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Dreamed of being a Rockette? Chicago auditions could be your chance

"The Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes" at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. | Courtesy MSG

It’s most famous eye-high kick line in the world.

Making their home at New York City’s legendary Radio City Music Hall for more than 85 years, the Rockettes are an American pop culture icon.

And if you’ve dreamed of being one of the 80 Rockettes who star in the annual production of “The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes,” you’re in luck. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Rockettes organization is hosting auditions outside of New York City, and Chicago is one of those select cities. Auditions will take place starting at noon May 7 at the Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph, 3rd floor, studio F.

In an email interview, the troupe’s creative director (and former Rockette for 14 seasons), Karen Keeler, offered some insight for audition hopefuls:

Q. Are there height requirements to be a Rockette?

A. Yes – you must be between 5’6” and 5’10 ½” in order to be a Radio City Rockette. The illusion of their uniform height is maintained by putting the tallest Rockettes in the center with the women gradually decreasing in height towards each end of the line.

Q. What types of dance do you need to be skilled in prior to auditioning?

A. You must have a strong technical foundation in ballet complemented by a proficiency in jazz and tap, as well as an ability to demonstrate versatility in these styles. We look for well-rounded dancers of all backgrounds, who possess a desire to execute very detailed choreography, and a willingness to work as part of the Rockettes line. We are encouraging dancers from all backgrounds to attend auditions and we want to expose as many dancers as possible to the Rockettes style of precision dance.

“The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes.” | Courtesy MSG
“The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes.” | Courtesy MSG

Q. What are some of the qualities that you look for in dancers when they’re auditioning?

A. The Radio City Rockettes are made up of incredibly strong, unique, independent women. We are holding auditions outside of New York with the hope of finding the most talented dancers from all over the country and even the world.

Q. Why are the Rockettes so much a part of American pop culture?

A. The Rockettes are iconic, known for their history of strength, precision and athleticism, and they are the most famous precision dance company in the world. “The Christmas Spectacular” has been beloved for more than 85 years and to our fans and audiences who visit from around the world, represents the joy of the holiday season. Outside of “The Christmas Spectacular,” [they] have performed at some of the most important events in entertainment, including their annual appearances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting, and on multiple national television programs. … I am proud to be part of the Rockettes legacy and sisterhood. I am inspired by the opportunity to push the brand forward in terms of choreography and athleticism while maintaining the integrity of being the only precision dance company of its kind.

The “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” segment from “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes” | Courtesy MSG
The “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” segment from “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes” | Courtesy MSG

For more information, visit Rockettes.com.