The Radio City Rockettes


Most people don’t know that The Radio City Rockettes did not start in New York City. The group first kicked to life in 1925 as the “Missouri Rockets” and made their show business debut in St. Louis with their creator, Russell Markert. “If I ever got a chance to get a group of American girls who would be taller and have longer legs and could do really complicated tap routines and eye-high kicks…they’d knock your socks off,” said Markert.

They did just that at Radio City’s opening night, on December 27, 1932. The Rockettes brought to New York the kick that they needed. They were an instant hit. Markert created an outstanding group of girls with great style and long legs. Starting with only 16 women has now become 36 over the years. In 1933, Radio City featured a new movie every week starring the Rockettes. Markert continued to stage and choreograph productions at the Music Hall until he retired in 1971. The concept of the way Markert choreograph the Rockettes was so that the audience saw 36 long legged dancers but performed always moving as “one dancer.” Still to this day they kept the costumes identical so it would give the illusion of uniform height by putting the tallest dancers in the center and then decreasing from either end.

Not only did they star in the world famous Radio City Christmas Spectaculars but also in Broadway’s production “Can, Can.” They danced at the premieres of “Miracle on 34th Street,” “102 Dalmatians” and “The Lion King.” Every year the Rockettes appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and for the past several years they’ve appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Since 1932, more than 3,000 women have danced as Rockettes. The Rockettes are an inspiration to so many young girls and women across the world. Each year across America hundreds of young women audition to try to be a part of the long-legged Rockettes. There is a strict height requirement of  5’6 to 5’10 and display excellence in tap, jazz, ballet and modern dance. But even if you have all these qualities you must also have the energy that will shine across the audience as you perform each and every show.

The Rockettes have not only put on great shows for more than 75 years, but are thriving now more than ever.