How to become a rockette dancer
How to chase your dream of becoming a Rockette: NYCurious
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Every year, hundreds of dancers flock to New York City for the chance to spend the holiday season onstage at Radio City Music Hall alongside the Rockettes. With only 80 spots total, and even fewer open for newcomers each year, making it as one of the city’s iconic dancers isn’t an easy feat.
Many who’ve made it past the annual audition process and actually get to high-kick New Yorkers and tourists into the new year remain aware of the rarity of the position they hold. Park Slope’s Audrey Telemann, 25, says she’s still “so grateful” after nearly eight years on the team.
It’s not uncommon for the Rockettes to have spent years at local dance studios gearing up for their big moment. Several have dreamt of working at Radio City since seeing the show for the first time as children.
But there’s still hope for you to become one of the dancers even if your desire to do so is simply a new aspiration.
Below, we’ve broken down a bit of what you’ll need to know to become one of Radio City’s leading ladies, from those meticulous height requirements to audition process secrets.
Keep in mind, the road to the stage looks different for everyone. Heather Langham, 38, auditioned 10 times over the course of six years before finally becoming a Rockette in 2009. Telemann only auditioned once before being graced with the dance team’s title.
You have to be proficient in jazz, tap and ballet. It’s always a plus if dancers know other techniques, but not knowing pointe, for example, isn’t a dealbreaker. Rockettes use jazz, ballet and especially tap throughout the show, from the “12 Days of Christmas” to “Parade of the Wooden Soldier.”
You must be between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10 1/2 inches tall. The dance team is known for its strict height requirements, but they’re in place for a reason. The dancers are arranged in descending height order while in line to perform their iconic high kicks and other numbers to create the illusion that they’re all exactly the same height. When you get to the audition, they’ll measure you in “stocking feet,” meaning you’ll have to fit into the range without your tap heels on.
You must be at least 18 years of age. If your 18th birthday falls after Sept. 15 in the casting year, you’ll be allowed to audition with a consent form signed by a parent or guardian. Technically, there’s no maximum age limit, but Rockettes typically aim to hit the goal of at least 10 years on the stage before hanging up their tap shoes. Retired Rockettes often remain with the company, working backstage as dressers or teaching dance classes during the Radio City Summer Intensive workshop.
The audition process:
Two-day auditions are held each spring at Radio City. More than 400 women showed up to the April 2017 auditions. Since the auditions are open to the public, lines often grow outside the venue, and dancers are seen in order of arrival. Auditions take place in the Large Rehearsal Hall.
You’ll perform Rockette combo routines in groups. Dancers are split into five groups as they learn dance routines that gradually increase in difficulty. Routines vary between ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and kicks.
Cuts are made after each routine. The “Christmas Spectacular” directors and choreographers watche while the dancers give it their all. They “look for dancers who are in great physical shape and have the stamina to perform in up to five 90-minute shows in one day,” according to a Rockettes blog post.
“They’ll teach you a basic kick and turn combo, then they do a cut in the first round. From there, those who made it will learn jazz, then another cut. Then they’ll teach more of the jazz combo, then a tap combo, and then if you made it that far, you’ll come back for the callback round,” Langham says.
You won’t get told why you didn’t make it. With hundreds of dancers to see in two days, the team can’t give individual feedback to all who try out. If you’re not asked to return for the second day, or don’t get a callback after round two, you won’t be told why. “There’s no feedback. You have to learn on your own in the audition process,” Langham says. “I make sure I’m watching the assistant helping the director, looking at their details and trying to replicate what they’re doing when they’re presenting. Feedback-wise, you have to go back off what you think and work harder on perfecting the style.”
Even if you become a Rockette, you’ll have to try out again each year. No spot on the Rockettes team is final. If you make it, you’ll be awarded a contract that stretches from September or October to early January, though it varies per Rockette. Once the contract ends, Rockettes attend the open auditions before being asked to return for the following season.
Tips from the Rockettes:
Get your body ready for the physical demands. Rockettes can do up to 300 kicks per show and as many as five shows per day, making it mandatory that the dancers are in top physical shape. “I started doing a lot of weight training. It’s not bodybuilding, but what I was doing was a lot of strength training and high intensity interval training to help with endurance,” Langham said.
Take part in the summer intensive. Several dancers who now call themselves Rockettes took part in the summer workshop before nailing their auditions. The workshop (about $1,099), led by former Rockettes, teaches you actual routines that’ll come in handy when performing. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of feedback. You can find out more about the program, which stretches June through August, at rockettes.com/rockettes-summer-intensive.
Don’t let defeat keep you down. “I’ve told a lot of the girls I worked with at the summer program that it’s really just a lot about passion and perseverance behind your dedication,” Telemann says. “If you want something, don’t let anyone stop you. Keep going after it and after it. I’ve told friends who auditioned many times you have to go back and smile be confident.”
How to Become A Rockette, According To the Coach Who's Trained 36 Of Them
After 12 seasons dancing with the Rockettes, Rhonda Kaufman Malkin knows a thing or two about becoming one of Radio City’s iconic dancers. Since 2006, Malkin has shared her secrets to success as a dance coach and personal trainer in New York City through her company Fusion Exercise. She’s had 36 students book the Rockettes, and numerous others land Broadway shows, national tours, commercials and even Beyoncé’s tour.
At the most recent Rockettes callback, over half of the 25 dancers had taken class with Malkin—and seven of them were offered contracts. Here’s how to get to Radio City, according to Malkin.
1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
“Some dancers have great ballet technique, but their jazz or tap skills may not be as strong, so I hone in on those areas,” says Malkin. For others, taking extra ballet classes to improve lines and alignment may be the missing puzzle piece.
2. Get in shape.
If a dancer is out of shape—lacking endurance, muscle tone or flexibility—Malkin switches on her personal trainer side to guide them back on track. “If you don’t walk into the audition ready to put on the costume, you won’t get work,” she says. “Directors never think, ‘Maybe if we give her two weeks she will look the part!'” More important than physical appearance is the overall strength benefits reaped from cross training—fewer injuries means more time to give 100% to training, auditions and eventually that dream job.
3. Dress the part.
Based on Malkin’s experience, wearing trendy items—like thigh high boots or crop tops—might make a dancer stand out, but not always in a good way. “The current Rockettes director is very traditional, so I advise my students to wear a leotard, flesh color tights, and nude heels, with hair in a French twist,” says Malkin. Makeup should be done as though “you are going on a date with the hottest person you know.” Let your talent, hard work and love of dance set you apart.
4. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t tap.
Some dancers shy away from auditioning for the Rockettes or classic Broadway shows because of their lack of tap skills. Malkin has had at least 10 students come to her with zero tap training who later booked the Rockettes. One student performed with a modern company for five years, and called Malkin saying she wanted to book the Rockettes. “She was hungry, focused and practiced my steps as well as taking additional tap classes,” recalls Malkin. “She booked the job within eight months.”
5. Skip contemporary class.
Over the years, Malkin has observed increasingly popular contemporary styles decreasing dancers’ abilities for precision, accurate counting and attack. So if a dancer is focused on becoming a Rockette or booking a classic Broadway show, Malkin strongly discourages taking contemporary classes.
6. Approach learning choreography as a skill.
During the first cut for the Rockettes audition, the combination is only demonstrated three times—you either get it or you don’t. But don’t stress if picking up choreography produces nightmares. Malkin’s success with her students proves it is a skill that can be learned. For starters, she suggests counting while learning choreography, otherwise you are already one step behind.
7. Focus on what’s in your control.
The requirements for being a Rockette are to be 5’6″-5’10.5″ tall and proficient in ballet, jazz and tap. If a dancer does not meet those height requirements, it is out her control. But the technical and artistic requirements are completely within the dancer’s power, and Malkin says those factors are the only ones worth worrying about.
8. Practice good audition etiquette.
If you get cut, simply say thank you and leave promptly. “You are never allowed to ask casting directors why you didn’t make the cut,” Malkin says. “That’s my job as a coach to identify.” If you do get to the end of an audition or callback, a simple thank you will do–no handshake required. Thank you notes are not required after auditions, but Malkin does advise sending handwritten notes to anyone involved in casting once a job is completed, saying you enjoyed the opportunity and hope to work with them again in the future.
ᐅ How to become a dancer? | How do they become dancers?
Many people dream of working as a professional dancer, imagining fame, popularity and brilliance of spotlights. But how to become a dancer, what is needed for this? Let's find out!
To begin with, it is worth understanding that this is, first of all, hard work, and only a few are given to break onto the stage.
The profession of a dancer requires good physical shape and long training sessions.
- How to become a dancer?
- How do you become a dancer from scratch?
- Schools where one becomes a dancer
- How to become a dancer without education?
- How to become a good and successful dancer?
How to become a dancer?
Anyone can become a dancer. This does not require special education, somewhere to study, and all that is needed is to experience the pleasure of dancing. But that's if it's a hobby. Amateur and professional dancing, pleasure and work as a dancer are very different concepts.
I dream of becoming a professional dancer. How do they become dancers in general, what do you need to know and be able to do, how to start?
Unfortunately, and maybe fortunately, not all become successful dancers. To do this, you need not only to love to dance, but also to have a confident and strong desire to improve, overcoming difficulties.
In order to reach the top in the profession, it is not so much external data that is important, but attitude to business and diligence. With these qualities, you can become a good dancer, whose performances are pleasant to watch the audience.
How do you become a dancer from scratch?
In order to become a dancer from scratch, you need to be sure that this particular job will become the work of a lifetime. Such a creative profession requires complete dedication and the ability to express vivid emotions.
In addition, you need to prepare physically and develop endurance. After all, rehearsals last many hours and take place almost every day.
Before you start mastering the profession, you need to decide on the style.
There are a huge number of them, and it is important to choose the most suitable one for yourself. When choosing, it is worth considering personal preferences and your level of physical fitness. For confidence, you can rehearse in front of a mirror.
Schools for becoming dancers
You can become a dancer after receiving a special education. To do this, you need to enter an art college or university. They are accepted here on the basis of nine and 11 classes, depending on the direction.
To enroll in a group, you need to pass a creative competition, for which you should prepare well. You also need to be ready to provide the results of the exam in Russian and literature. The exact list of subjects required for admission can be clarified at the educational institution.
Training to be a dancer in an educational institution is not yet a guarantee that you can become one.
Getting a professional education on the basis of a college or university will not yet give you the opportunity to become a dancer, but it is an opportunity to acquire all the necessary knowledge and skills.
Experienced teachers will help you develop your talent and fully reveal your creative potential. They will point out mistakes and help correct them. But a lot depends on the student. Therefore, the educational institution itself will not make you a dancer, it will only give you an opportunity.
For example, while studying, students have the opportunity to participate in many competitions and festivals, which will help them test their strength and even get a job offer.
How to become a dancer without education?
Many people become dancers without special education. For this profession, attitude and talent are much more important. If a person truly loves to dance and develops his abilities, then he will be able to achieve considerable success. It is important to understand that a couple of hours of training three times a week is not enough to become a professional dancer. You have to work hard and hone your skills.
For beginner dancers, it is not so much the technique of performance that is important, but the development of endurance and the ability to express their emotions through body language. The presence of charisma and a bright personality distinguishes a good dancer from the rest. You need to be ready for constant hard training and strictly follow the regimen.
You can learn to dance professionally if you have good skills on your own. But it is better to seek help from professionals. To do this, there are many circles, courses and dance schools. There, in a fairly short time, you can master a certain dance style. Regular classes with a dance teacher will help develop physical endurance, learn basic dance moves, and develop talent in yourself.
Members of clubs and dance schools often get the opportunity to participate in competitions and perform at concerts. This has a positive effect on emotional mood, increases confidence and gives you the opportunity to express yourself. Achievements in competitions will be a great addition to the portfolio of a novice dancer.
How to become a good and successful dancer?
In order to succeed and shine on stage, you will have to make a lot of effort. The most important qualities of a good dancer are charisma, perseverance and hard work.
The main thing is to choose this profession consciously and remember that behind the beauty and brilliance of dancers' performances there are constant training and heavy workloads.
And as mentioned above, one cannot become a dancer overnight, without proper preparation. You need to play sports and follow the necessary regimen. Only thanks to this, professional dancers cope with difficult numbers and exhausting rehearsals.
It is important to choose the most appropriate dance style for you. You can master it perfectly by completing training as a dancer in a professional educational institution. And for people who want to learn how to dance without going to college or university, there are many options for circles, courses and dance schools.
In any case, learning to dance professionally is much easier with a teacher. It will help you master all the dance moves and learn how to beautifully express emotions on stage with the help of dance.
where to study, salary, pros and cons
Author: Professional Guide
Dancer is a person of art who performs rhythmic movements to music, taking part in theatrical performances, shows. The profession belongs to the type “a person is an artistic image”, it requires excellent self-discipline and, of course, talent. Children who distinguish literature, physical education, music and singing from all school subjects can become dancers. By the way, the ProfGid career guidance center has recently developed an accurate career guidance test that will tell you which professions suit you, give an opinion about your personality type and intelligence. 9Ol000
This profession has a rich history and is closely associated with the arts. However, the success of dancers by more than 50% depends on dedication, endurance, self-discipline. A specialist can work independently, performing solo choreographic numbers, it is also worth highlighting pair and collective dances. There are a lot of types and techniques of this art direction:
- variety and folk dance;
- historical dance and others.
Also distinguish styles such as street jazz, hip-hop, R'n'B, contemporary dance, street dance, etc. Dancers choose the style and type of performing arts based on their physical abilities, temperament, personal preferences. On stage, they create artistic images, convey emotions, making the hearts of the audience tremble.
Features of the profession
Anyone can become a professional dancer, but it is worth starting training in childhood. Choreographers recommend giving children to dance studios at the age of 3-7 years, which will allow them to develop good posture, plasticity, stretching, a sense of rhythm and other skills necessary for professional performance. Dancers most often work in 1-2 overlapping styles, they pay special attention to training and rehearsals, maintaining excellent physical shape. A career is short, because its peak is at the age of 15-25 years, and after 30 years, most specialists change their field of activity. They can realize their talent and knowledge in other areas, working as directors, choreographers, school teachers.
Dancers independently or under the guidance of a choreographer create performances: choice of music, sequence and rhythm of movements, costumes and image, facial expressions, plasticity. Before performing the dance, they rehearse for a long time, honing their skills. Many members of this profession often travel around their home country and travel abroad, where they give concerts. The activity is associated with certain difficulties, which leaves an imprint on the lifestyle and character of the dancer.
Pros and cons of the profession
- Excellent physical development, because dancing strengthens the body and willpower.
- Opportunity to work on the best stages.
- Talented dancers achieve success quickly.
- The profession is interesting, active and ambitious people will like it.
- Opportunity to earn income from various sources, because dancers work alone or in pairs, can take part in private productions, star in music videos.
- Useful business connections in the world of art.
- The opportunity to change the field of activity, because dancers often open schools, give private lessons, work as choreographers - the choice of directions is huge.
- High injury rate.
- Serious injuries can put an end to a professional career.
- Short career period.
- Very high competition.
Important personal qualities
Dancers have excellent plasticity, but in this profession not only technical performance is important, but also emotionality. The dancers convey the idea of the performance with the help of movements, facial expressions, so they must be distinguished by well-developed artistry. Increased efficiency, resistance to physical stress and low pain threshold are very important, because rehearsals and performances often end with sprains, dislocations and other minor injuries. Only those people who do not suffer from laziness, negligence, and excessive self-confidence ascend to the pinnacle of success.
Training for a dancer
Professional education can be obtained in various institutions:
- schools and academies of choreography;
- dance studios;
There are no special requirements for the education of a dancer, the level of his skill is determined during choreographic tests. It is worth starting training at a young age in order to reach a professional level. Let's consider the most interesting directions:
- "The art of dance (by type)", implemented in choreographic colleges and schools. You can start training after grades 7-9, which depends on the requirements of the college;
- The Art of Ballet. The direction of training is open in many creative colleges, studio schools, academies. Children who have completed the 4th grade of the school are invited to study.
You can also go to study at a university, choosing a specialty related to choreography, folk dance and other areas. Primary training can be obtained in public and private schools of choreographic art, during individual lessons.
12 budget places
23 budget places
8 budget places
16 budget places
Best Primary Schools
- Dance Quarter School.
- School for children "Dancevaliya".
- State 27 Dance Studio.
Best colleges and academies for dancers
- ARB im. A. Ya. Vaganova.
- MCU at the Moscow State Academy of Theater Arts "Gzhel".
- School-studio (school) at GAANT them. I. Moiseeva.
- KMTI them. G. P. Vishnevskaya.
- ARB them. A. Ya. Vaganova.
- Russian State University A. N. Kosygin.
Place of work
Dancers are in demand in theaters, film industry and organization of holidays and events. They can work as teachers, find vacancies in nightclubs, private groups - there are many options for employment.
There is no exact tariff rate in this segment, because everything depends on the style in which the dancer works, personal qualities, education, reputation and experience.