We go backstage to see how the Rockettes train for the show

i amYou’ve seen the annuals Christmas spectacular starring Radio City Rockets At New York’s Radio City Music Hall, you’ve seen the Rockets’ talent, the dancers at the heart of the show, and most notably, their iconic signature move: a mesmerizing kickline. But what you may not know is the kick-butt workout and the type of practice it takes to liven up those kicks for 90-minute shows, back-to-back a few times a day for about two months. When Well+Good Creative Director Ella Dove recently spent a morning with Rocket, she learned the insider secrets of how they train, rehearse, and recover—and experienced it all firsthand.

As Dove quickly discovered, a huge part of maintaining such a high-intensity performance schedule is doing consistent warm-up exercises before a show, including planks, arm exercises and, of course, plenty of hamstring preparation for those leg kicks. In fact, dancers have their own signature move to fire up the hamstrings that they call “bottoms up,” which involves squatting with your hands pressed together in front of your chest and then extending the legs into a forward fold and doing several repetitions. times

Once Dove had a chance to do these warm-ups and more alongside the six Rockets, it was time to move on from lineup positions to learning how the Rockets train for their famous kicks. And that’s where things get interesting: Despite what you might think, the rockets don’t hold onto each other’s backs for support—or actually touch or lean on them. at all That’s right, they rotate their hands behind each other in a shape that Rocket Sarah Grooms Hose calls “arc and slice.” “Your right arm is out and around, and your left arm straightens out at the lower-middle of your side back,” she explains.

This means the Rockettes are not only kicking their feet sky-high to the beat of the music, but they’re also keeping their arms up, hiding their hands behind the people on either side of them. Dove’s consent after only eight kicks in this position? “Tough as hell.” (And remember, the Rockets make hundreds of these kicks per show.)

“From the moment the orchestra starts at the top of the show, you’re ready to go [for 90 minutes straight]- You have to be.” —Sarah Grooms Hoge, Radio City Rocket

To avoid overworking and straining their muscles, the Rockettes do regular cool-down exercises, use an onsite athletic training room to stretch after shows, and submerge their legs, feet, or entire body in ice tubs (filled with 30-degree water). . In the same space, a gym has strength-training equipment that dancers often tap into pre-shows “just to get everything going,” Hoge says, “because by the time the orchestra starts at the top of the show, you’re ready to go.” [for 90 minutes straight]-You have to be.” The show, as you’ll quickly notice after attending, has no intermission and almost every scene involves rockets.

To learn more about how the Radio City Rockets train to kick all season long, and how they get ready for each event (they do their own hair and makeup!), watch Dove’s entire journey backstage by pressing play on the video above.

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