When most people think of the Radio City Rockettes, they think of glamour, sequins, leggy ladies, and Christmastime and to be fair, that’s what you’re supposed to think while feeling nostalgic. The Rockettes are an American icon bringing world famous eye-high kicks, but that’s not all they do.
The Radio City Rockettes have mastered the art of working as a team, something every business should learn, but doesn’t readily know how to do.
Having first-hand experience, I’m going to share with you the inner-workings and secrets for building such a strong team that ranks highest in its industry in the world.
The casting directors are masters of hiring women that aren’t only talented dancers, but are also fast learners who are able to take direction and apply it immediately. The stage is a grid where each Rockette has multiple marks to remember. Depth, spacing, and numbers on the stage grid accompany every turn of the head, angle of focus, step, and arm movement. The amount of detail that goes into each movement is immense and the Rockettes must take them all in and immediately apply. Oftentimes the strength and intelligence of the Rockettes can be overshadowed by the glamour, but that’s a misconception. Many of the Rockettes hold graduate degrees and work jobs outside of the dance industry after the holiday season.
Unlike other companies I’ve worked for, the Rockettes are welcomed into their first day with both the admiration and responsibility of the Rockettes Legacy. Every Rockette, from former casts or present, has been indoctrinated into this group of strong, classy, and intelligent women and is aware of their responsibility to uphold the standards and traditions of this amazing company both publicly and internally. The sense of pride and incredible amount of respect each Rockette holds is palpable.
The chain of command is not only thoroughly laid out, but also made clear from the first day of rehearsals. This not only makes it easy to know who to take direction from and when, but also ensures the company as a whole runs smoothly at all times, both onstage and off. There’s an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with every position within the organization. Each Rockette knows not only her own responsibilities, but also those of the roles surrounding her. From the publicist, to company and stage managers, and the directors, the Rockettes know whom is leading, when and where they are leading, and how to take their direction to keep not only the show, but the company running perfectly.
In order to maintain the precision and perfection the Rockettes are famous for, the women work as a team. If one person is off, the entire line is affected. The Rockettes know the importance of working together as a team and support each other both onstage and off. There is no room for hierarchy or egos.
From the 1930’s, to the years I was a Radio City Rockette, to the ladies that are currently cast into this sisterhood, the Rockettes are always evolving and keeping mainstream while upholding the standards that existed from the very first cast. Whether performing “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” which was choreographed in 1933 and performed annually, or dancing to “Fireball” alongside Pitbull, the Rockettes keep relevant while upholding the traditions and class of the first Rockettes.
Being a Rockette is more than simply putting on a smile and good show, it takes class, talent, intelligence, superior work ethic, amazing physical form, respect, and the ability to adapt to change immediately. More companies should take a page from these leggy-ladies book and learn to not only work as a team, but to build an environment of mutual respect amongst all employees, leaders, and owners.
Here’s to a great season ladies. I’ll see you on Opening Night!