|Cute bear costumes, but not my style—Courtesy of Ralph and Jenny, via Flickr
After seeing the Radio City Christmas Show for a third time, I can honestly say I have no regrets about my hasty decision to run from the dancing bear audition in 1985.
Doesn’t every little girl in dancing school dream of becoming a Rockette? Well maybe not every one, but a large percentage would love to be up on that RCMH stage kicking in unison with 35 other hoofers. I was no different. If my dancing ability wouldn’t have stopped me, my height most certainly would have. Rockettes must stand between 5′-6″ and 5′-10″ tall, and I’m a mere 5′-5″. But no matter my dims, the dancing bear costume wasn’t my style.
I had a fantastic seat in the front row of the mezzanine with no obstructed view. The last time I saw the show from the orchestra, I only saw half of it. The perspective from orchestra seats is completely different, and in this venue, it’s honestly not as good as sitting in the mezz. When the feet matter, I recommend sitting high, unless you have an extremely long torso, which I don’t.
|The neon lights of RCMH|
The bears came on early in the show for their number—I laughed again because they were adorable. Still, as cute as they were, I felt no remorse for passing on my bear opportunity back in the day. Funny though, those bears have managed to stick around since 1985, so in a sense, their “cuteness” has become an essential ingredient in this annual extravaganza.
Soon enough, the bears’ big moment was over and the Rockettes returned. All of my attention was back on the stage—the leggy troupe didn’t disappoint. My favorite number has always been the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. The ladies performed each and every choreographed step with precision, meticulously marching in time. Were these real people or life-size mechanical dolls? These were definitely female dancers with years of classical training, as well as modern, jazz and tap, parading in soldier costumes and moving identically to each beat of the music.
|The Rockettes never miss a step!–courtesy of Ralph and Jenny, via Flickr|
With every head, arm and leg in sync, the group traveled in patterns around the stage, changing formations as if they were second nature, until the best part: the big finish. The cannon exploded and BOOM! One by one each soldier fell backward like a stack of dominoes until the entire chorus line was down on the stage floor. Why do I always get nervous at this part? It was flawless.
The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers is only one of the magnificent routines in the Christmas Spectacular. Supposedly, the dance troupe throws about 300 kicks per show, with five shows each day. The Rockettes are beautiful, elegant, graceful and envied by many. On the other hand, the bears are chubby, awkward, dopey, and laughed at by everyone. Okay, I neglected to mention “cute.”
As the highlight of each show, the Rockettes draw audiences from around the globe. I’ve yet to hear anyone say, “I’m going to see the dancing bears at Radio City Music Hall.” If you have, I’d love to hear about it.