Last year, on June 22nd, I arrived at Radio City Music Hall for my first day of the Rockette mini intensive. I was so excited and couldn’t wait for what was to come. Back then I didn’t have this blog, but now that I do, I thought I would share what I experienced last year with you guys.
It all started off with the audition. Me and my mom drove to University of Maryland to audition for the Rockette summer intensive. I will admit it was very nerve racking, especially with being the youngest one there. We stretched, learned different types of pieces (tap, Jazz, kick line, etc.), and lastly went out into small groups. The groups were the hardest part because now, instead of having a large mirror in front of us, it was a wall, 3 Rockettes as judges, and a big camera filming us. I knew the choreography pretty well, but as soon as I went out on the floor my nerves got the best of me and I blanked. After I blanked, a Rockette told me a little phrase which now I choose to live by in my everyday life. She said you just got to fake it till you make it. I interpreted this as always stay confident and unfazed even if you are nervous or afraid about something.
Weeks later I finally received a response that I was on a waiting list. It meant that I didn’t get in yet, but I wasn’t fully declined yet either. This sort of made me lose hope. My mom told me there was still a chance, but I automatically thought that I was out of the running. Weeks passed by and no new responses had come. Finally we received a letter one day saying that I actually got into a new version of the intensive. Instead of it being a week with the Rockettes and a show at the end, it was a 3 day mini version which consisted of training with the Rockettes. I was thrilled to be apart of this new intensive, and I couldn’t wait to head to New York City.
On June 21st, me and my mom were on our way to the big Apple! We hopped on a train with all my bags containing leotards, tights, bobby pins, and all the dance shoes I needed! The first day was pretty chill we just walked around the city, planned our route from our hotel to Radio City, shopped around at Zara, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, etc., got some bomb food, and lastly went to sleep to prepare for our busy next day.
The first day of the intensive was very nerve racking! When we arrived we got into a long line of dancers and got the official badges to get in. During that time I met my first new friend, it was a girl my same age and we immediately bonded (turns out in the future we found out we were the youngest ones there and everyone else mainly were either seniors or in college). When we got in we went right to work on learning some of the Rockettes actual routines. All of us were all in awe on how perfectly their movements matched each other, and how strategic the choreography was. I loved all the choreography I learned day one, and I loved making so many new friends.
The second day was all about allllllll about the little details when it comes to being a Rockette. Every hand placement, torso position, foot bevel, head position, etc. all have a specific placement for every single move. It took us pretty much the whole day to go through all the little details in all the routines we learned the day prior. I’ll have to say getting the positions correct were very tiring.
The last day was my favorite! We started off the day with performing the routines we had learned the days prior for one another. I found it funny because our group placements were the tall group and the taller group since all Rockettes have to be tall. Also we could have our friends film us doing the routines on our phones, so that way we could keep those memories forever. Next we also toured all of Radio City Music Hall and got the opportunity to go up on the main stage. I took so many pictures that all of my storage was full! Also that day I filled up on a bunch of my favorite cookies that they had for us at lunch every day. Sadly by the end of the day I had to say goodbye to all of my new friends I made during the intensive.
Overall the intensive was a great experience that I will never forgot. Due to it though I did realize that I don’t think being a Rockette will be a career choice of mine in the future, but the way they dance is amazing and the amount of hours, dedication, and work they put into their routines is something that I could never fathom. But if your a dancer I would 10/10 recommend you try to get into this intensive because it will be an experience you won’t forget. Also I know it may be nerve racking to put yourself out there to audition, but as a Rockette once told me “fake it till you make it”, be confident and forget those nerves.
xoxo- Ashlyn Kate