Firstly, if you haven’t heard of The Rockettes (which we hadn’t), it’s a “precision dance troupe” of the kind that doesn’t seem to exist in this country any more (not that I know of, anyway). For those of us of a certain age who can remember Sunday Night at the London Palladium, and especially the Tiller Girls, then you’ll get the idea. The founders of the troupe admit that, years ago, they took the example of the Tiller Girls, but have now brought the dance routines very much up to date. There are still lots of long legs and high kicks, however….!
This show takes place every year at the Radio City Music Hall which itself is worth a visit. It’s a wonderful art-deco style building with a huge auditorium and fantastic stage facilities. You can get a back-stage tour, which we didn’t do, but which looks interesting. You can even meet a Rockette! Tickets are expensive but there are half-price ticket booths in nearby Times Square for on-the-day shows, or plenty of websites to buy in advance. We managed to get great $250 seats for around $60!
The show itself has become a New York institution at Christmas. We wanted to see a show during our visit, and there are plenty on Broadway (and off-Broadway) to choose from, but we decided on this one as we wanted to see something particular to New York. We weren’t disappointed! There was lots of dancing, of course, with The Rockettes changing costume in the blink of an eye. We saw dancing reindeer, dancing rag dolls, dancing santas, ice-skaters with giant snowflakes floating over our heads around the theatre, scenes from the Nutcracker and the now famous Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, where the 36 Rockettes march around the stage in precise formations, ending with them falling backwards like dominoes – in precise time, of course. The show is compered by none other than Father Christmas himself, and the bible story is loosely recounted, including a ‘living’ nativity with camels, sheep and a donkey all on stage! There is plenty of singing, an orchestra that appears as if by magic from below the stage somewhere, twin organists that pop out from both sides of auditorium, and just about everything else you could wish for to make this a truly memorable occasion.
“Website for The Rockettes”:https://www.rockettes.com/christmas/