It all began on December 21, 1933 when the Radio City Music Hall presented their first live Christmas Show. The world-famous Rockettes danced a 30-minute performance including the traditional dance number “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and the precise display of the “The Living Nativity.” From then on, history is made every year with added dance numbers and new technology. But who are The Rockettes and how were they founded?
The Rockettes were a dance group from St. Louis founded by Russell Markert in 1925. The dancers are known for their outstanding heights, intricate tap routines, and long legs that perform kicks in precise formations. The John Tiller Girls in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 inspired Markert. He’s quoted as saying, “If I ever got a chance to get a group of American girls who would be taller and have longer legs and could do really complicated tap routines and eye high kicks…they’d knock your socks off!” And thus the idea was born. The Rockettes perform in the Christmas Spectacular every year as the main attraction. Markert choreographed the famous dance number “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” which the Rockettes still perform every year holding true to its original choreography. The routine presents the Rockettes dressed as wooden soldiers performing intricate formations and a breath taking cannon of kicks for the traditional finale. This piece is something to look forward to as a piece of history in each year’s performances.
The Christmas Spectacular is a time-honored 90-minute presentation of live theatre. It features more than 140 performers along with original music and humorous story lines. The show always consists of Santa arriving in a beautiful fashion to be greeted by his reindeer, the Rockettes. This year there is a double story line, incorporating the New York Rockettes boarding a double-decker bus ready to see the New York sights. Santa and the Rockettes run into a young girl named Kayla and her mother who are on a search for a certain special toy. Santa whisks Kayla and her mother away to the North Pole where they find that some Humbugs have stolen all the toys. With the help of Kayla, her mother and the Rockettes, the toys are recovered and harmony is restored to Christmas.
Whether you’re a mother or a father or an aunt or uncle, this time-honored show is ever so much fun for the whole family. The beautiful staging and original music make live theatre a wonderful tradition and a must-do activity on this list of things to see in New York. Making memories is what the holidays are truly about, and taking someone to see this show is a guaranteed to last a lifetime.
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