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By: Kellie K. Speed

Rockettes - click to enlarge The time has finally come to put your bathing suits away and gear up for the winter months so what better way to kick off the holidays than with an evening at America’s most beloved theatrical, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the world-famous Rockettes.  This year, the show returns to Radio City Music Hall for more than 200 performances over the holiday season. But if you don’t live in New York City or won’t be able to travel there this season, don’t worry.  The Rockettes has expanded their markets nationwide.

Last year, more than one million guests attended the show in the Big Apple, which will premiere at Radio City Music Hall on November 6, 2003 and run through January 4, 2004.

For the past 12 years, the show has become one of the most popular New York traditions that brings people back to the city year after year.  In 1925, the “Missouri Rockets” and premiered in St. Louis with a small following.  That following emerged into a surpassed dream soon becoming an American tradition.

With more than 140-people, glamorous costumes, and holiday music written exclusively for the Show, the stars of The Christmas Spectacular, will surely dazzle the audience with their world-famous eye-high kicks.  Don’t be surprised if you see a visit from that jolly old fellow from the North Pole. 

In 2002, the 90-minute show premiered a newly enhanced 3-D film where Santa and his reindeer take you and your family on a thrilling sleigh ride through New York City.  This year, the film now features sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, races through Central Park, dashes by the holiday-clad windows of Fifth Avenue, and finally lands at Radio City Music Hall. 

When it was originally created, the Rockettes performance was seen as a holiday “gift” between movie screenings, but became a full production in 1979.  Since then, The Christmas Spectacular has expanded to a variety of new markets in an effort to bring this dazzling holiday experience to the rest of the country.  Just last year, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular debuted to sold-out crowds in Minneapolis, Dallas, and Phoenix. This year, the show can be seen in a total of nine cities nationwide, with debuts in four new markets: Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Seattle, and Milwaukee.  In addition, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will return to The Grand Palace in Branson (MO); The Fox Theatre in Detroit, The Grand Ol’ Opry House in Nashville, The Gammage Auditorium in Phoenix – and of course Radio City Music Hall in New York. If your city isn’t listed here, don’t fret.  Expansion plans are currently underway to bring the show to additional cities here and abroad.

Looking to become a Rockette?  The requirements today remain almost exactly as they were at the dance troupe’s inception. Since 1932, more than 3,000 women have danced as Rockettes.  Each year, in cities across America, hundreds of young women audition to be members of the internationally known troupe.  Radio City Rockettes must be between 5’6” and 5’10 ˝ and demonstrate proficiency in tap, jazz, ballet and modern dance. But exceptional dance skill alone is not enough to secure a coveted position on the dance line.  They must also display a radiant energy that will shine across the footlights to their audience.

The Rockette line today embraces the diversity of women everywhere.  The more than 200 women dance troupe embodies the modern-day woman – they are intelligent, strong, ambitious, multi-talented, beautiful, stylish, hip, fun, witty, fashionable, and not to mention they maintain the most physically fit bodies in the business.  The Rockette line is made up of obviously dancers, but also businesswomen, fashion designers, students, actresses, volunteer workers, and young mothers – all who have learned to perfect the art of balancing a dance career with their careers off the stage.  Endurance, perseverance and dedication have all contributed to their success in life and they proudly serve as role models for young women everywhere.

These unique performers have not only become known as ambassadors to Radio City Music Hall, but have also participated in show-stopping Super Bowl Halftime appearances and the 2001 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony where the Rockettes performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to numerous appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Late Show With David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Rockettes have even introduced their own doll.

The New York Times summarizes the Rockettes’ talent and appeal, “Best of all, as always, are the miraculous Rockettes in their crisp costumes, smiling and tapping their way flawlessly everywhere…”

Last year, The Christmas Spectacular celebrated its biggest season ever with more than two million people attending productions at Radio City Music Hall, and in numerous other cities across the United States.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes will run from November 6, 2003 through January 4, 2004.  Prices range from $38 to $92, with limited VIP seating available.  Tickets are available online at or at the Radio City Box Office, 50th Street and Avenue of the Americas, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Tickets may also be purchased by calling the Ticketmaster Christmas Hotline at (212) 307-1000 or at any Ticketmaster outlets.  Ticket prices include a $4.50 facility charge.  Tickets purchased via Ticketmaster are subject to service charges.  Please call (212) 247-4777 for more information.

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Kellie Speed - Click to enlarge

Kellie K. Speed is a freelance travel writer and restaurant reviewer. Her features have been published in various publications including The Boston Globe, Cahners’ Industrial Distribution and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines and Reno Air Approach.

Kellie has reviewed numerous first-class hotels and travel destinations, including Hawaii, California, Arizona, Bermuda and Mexico, to name a few. She has also traveled internationally to Ireland, England, France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Next year, she is planning a trip to Tahiti.

Since she is from Massachusetts, she will be providing reviews of local restaurants for Travel-Watch.

If you would like to email Kellie any suggestions or comments, please do so at


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