My student Kate Meyers had the incredible experience of attending the Rockette Summer Intensive in NYC a few weeks ago. I asked her to do a guest blog and she did a wonderful job! Read about her adventures and see a few pictures of her at Radio City! I am so proud of her and can’t wait to see what she has learned and how she shares it with the rest of our performance company!
Rockette Review by Kate Meyers
I knew this was going to be the trip of a lifetime. I could hardly believe I was attending the Rockette Summer Intensive (RSI), training with REAL Rockettes for 7-8 hours a day, and learning THEIR choreography.
After a few missteps with the NY Subway System (yep, not in Indiana anymore), I arrived at RSI orientation and was provided an official RSI security access pass and shoulder bag (very cool!). We auditioned for placement which involved a series of combinations with eye high kicks, double pirouettes, a standard double time step, and other Rockette choreography. I was placed in the yellow group which was immediately split into 2 lines, tall and taller. (We learned in Rockette land, there is no such thing as short!). Being around 5 foot 8 inches, I landed in the tallER line.
Throughout the week, we learned choreography to Wooden Soldiers (my TDC friends would recognize our shim-sham-shimmy music!), Ragdolls, and Electricity. Each was a different style, but the precision and attack each number required was the same. To accomplish those sharp, quick movements, we warmed up Rockette style with a kick-your-butt level of abs, push-ups, planks, and some high-octane cardio to build up our strength and endurance. And most importantly of all, we STRETCHED to warm up those hip flexers, hamstrings, and other leg muscles to support our eye high kick lines.
The greatest accomplishment for each group was learning to move together in perfect precision. The choreography only works if each dancer remains EXACTLY evenly spaced as they dance and move across the stage. Part of that process involved memorizing our line placement (almost like a grid) for up and downstage to perfect the spacing.
The week ended with a performance which made me feel like a real Rockette on stage. I must say the “Yellow Taller” group did amazing and rocked that Wooden Soldiers’ wheel! I made some wonderful friends from across the country, that not only share my height, but my passion for dance. When our feet hurt, our legs ached, and our brains were overstuffed with information, we leaned on each other for support and had a blast along the way. Yes, it was an experience of a lifetime with so many memories. In fact, I’m sure my hamstrings will never forget the day we did a full hour and twenty minutes of kick lines!
One of the most special moments was watching the four Rockette teachers demonstrate choreography. It was breathtaking, because everything was so precisely together, strong, and powerful. It was so inspirational to me, because I want to have that effect on people and make my movements so sharp they are goose bump worthy!
Many dancers come back each year to summer intensive and I hope (fingers crossed!) to join them next year!