Update: Spring auditions in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago have been postponed due to coronavirus concerns. New dates to be announced.
The road to becoming a Radio City Rockette just got smoother.
While the Rockettes Summer Intensive has long been considered the best way for aspirants to get their foot in the door, the famed precision dance troupe has announced a new dancer development program that will formalize the student-to-Rockette pipeline.
The Rockettes Summer Intensive and the Rockettes Mini Intensive will be replaced by two new summer programs, held at Radio City Music Hall: a three-week Rockettes Conservatory for 20 invited dancers and a one-week Rockettes Preparatory, which will offer three sessions. The end of the Rockettes Conservatory will lead directly into the annual August auditions for the Christmas Spectacular, though dancers from both programs will be encouraged to try out for a spot on the line.
Selected dancers will be able to participate in these programs at no cost, with transportation to and from New York City, housing and meals provided.
The Rockettes are also widening its net by holding auditions in Los Angeles and Chicago, in addition to New York City, in April; dancers at these auditions will be considered both for spots on the line and in the dancer development program. (Previously, summer program auditions were held separately.) In addition, the Rockettes team will be scouting at university dance programs nationwide. Dancers who participated in the troupe's previous summer programs between 2017 to 2019 and still fall within age requirements will automatically be considered for the first iteration of the dancer development program this summer.
"We are committed to finding the best dancers in the country," said Jennifer Vogt, president of creative content and productions for The Madison Square Garden Company (the Rockettes' parent company), in a press release. "By offering this program at no cost, and by expanding the ways in which we seek talent, we are breaking down significant barriers to entry and ensuring that the country's best female-identifying dancers of all backgrounds see an opportunity for themselves within the iconic dance company."
After widening its applicant pool with auditions in Chicago and Atlanta, last season's Christmas Spectacular featured an unprecedented 13 new Rockettes and one of the most diverse lines in the organization's 95-year history. The continued use of the term "female-identifying dancers" and these new efforts to remove financial and geographical barriers to entry for auditioning dancers means we could be seeing the troupe evolve even more in the coming years.