The Rockettes have captivated audiences for decades with their perfectly synced leg kicks in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. These stars of the stage work countless hours to get their audiences into the spirit of the season.
You might wonder if the salary to be a Rockette is worth the hours and hours of hard practice. Being a Rockette is more than just a job — it means being among the select few dancers who have been part of this time-honored Christmas tradition. Read on to find out how much the Radio City Rockettes earn for sharing their talents.
What Is a Rockette?
Just a year after moving to Radio City Music Hall, the Rockettes starred in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which in those days had a running time of only 30 minutes. Over time this show evolved into the 90-minute full holiday-themed theatrical production it is today. The dance troupe pays homage to the Rockettes of yesteryear by performing the original Rockette numbers “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and the “Living Nativity.” To date, over 3,000 Rockettes have taken part in this show with 75 million ticketholders filling seats since the Christmas Spectacular began 1933.
How Much Do Rockettes Make?
According to Rockettes.com, dancers are union workers who receive their contracts from the American Guild of Variety Artists. Each contract might begin in late September and conclude in early January, depending on the role the dancer is cast in. Although each of the Rockettes receives a benefits package, these performers are not provided with housing or reimbursed for any travel-related expenses.
Typically, each Rockette receives a paycheck of between $1,400 and $1,500 each week. Because these famous dancers only perform seasonally, this only amounts to between $36,400 to $39,000 per year. The Rockettes do receive their benefits year-round, though. During the off-season, many of the dancers opt to teach fitness or dance classes or join smaller shows for additional income.
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Are the Rockettes Required to Complete Any Training?
For each show, there are a total of 36 Rockettes who perform on the stage at one time with four extras — referred to as “swings” — who are trained to fill in for some of the women on the line. The dance troupe has separate morning and afternoon casts, which bring the Rockette total to 80 women. To be selected to join this prestigious dance troupe, women must meet strict criteria including reaching between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 and a half inches in height, and already being well versed in the arts of ballet, tap and jazz.
Anyone interested in learning what it takes to be a Rockette can attend the Rockettes Summer Intensive Dance Program. This program is not a requirement for landing a job as a Rockette, but it is a great way to see how these how these advanced level dancers train. The Rockette Intensive Dance Program is scheduled during the troupe’s off-season and is designed to train dancers in the Rockettes style. Dancers in the program spend six hours each day over the course of one week learning the Rockettes choreography. Afterward, participants are welcome to stay for a one-hour seminar on one of the following topics: professional make-up, injury prevention, or health and wellness. Over the past 16 seasons, this program has produced 60 Rockettes.
Once hired, the Rockettes move right into training with months of rehearsals and training on how to do their own hair and makeup. Rockettes must also learn to change costumes in under 78 seconds, kick up to 1,200 times each day, and line up in a way that gives the illusion the dancers are all the same height.
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What Are the Radio City Music Hall Ticket Prices Like?
Tickets are sold at the Radio City Music Hall Box Office, which is found on Sixth Avenue near the corner of 50th Street. If you can’t make it to the box office, you can also order tickets online through Ticketmaster. Prices vary by date; for example, you can expect to pay between $45 and $150 per person for a ticket during the month of November, but tickets closer to Christmas fall in the range of $65 and $220. The price includes a facility surcharge of $6, which is used to help pay for the cost of running the box office. All tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are non-refundable, so double-check that you are available to see the show before you commit to a specific date and time.
Parents are not required to purchase a ticket for children under the age of two, so long as the little one can sit on your lap during the show. Students are eligible for a discount to select shows when they use the code TIX4STUDENTS. If you can get a group of nine others to see the show with you, you’ll also be able to take advantage of reduced rates. Finally, you might wish to sign up for the Rockettes’ regular newsletter, as they occasionally send out special offers.