Rockettes – A Brief History

The Rockettes are a precision dance company performing out of the Radio City Music Hall in ManhattanNew York City. During the Christmas season, the Rockettes have performed five shows a day, seven days a week, for 77 years. Perhaps their best-known routine is an eye-high leg kick in perfect unison in a chorus line, which they include at the end of every performance.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is performed annually at Radio City Music Hall and in numerous other American and Canadian cities by a touring company of Rockettes. It is one of the most-watched live shows in the United States, with over 2 million viewers per year. The Rockettes perform annually at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (since 1957) and the America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. The NBC Rockefeller Center Tree-Lighting Ceremony also traditionally includes a performance by the dance troupe.

The group was founded in St. Louis, Missouri by Russell Markert in 1925, and originally performed as the “Missouri Rockets.” Markert had been inspired by the John Tiller Girls in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922, and was convinced that “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!”

The group was brought to New York City by Samuel Roxy Rothafel to perform at his Roxy Theatre and renamed the “Roxyettes.” When Rothafell left the Roxy Theatre to open Radio City Music Hall, the dance troupe followed and later became known as the Rockettes. The group performed as part of opening night at Radio City Music Hall in 1932.
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For more information, visit the Rockettes’ Official Website: http://www.rockettes.com/