My alarm went off at 6:45 am this morning. I took my time getting ready, pinning back my bangs and packing my bag for the day. I made sure I had my heels and my tap shoes since today was the day I’d be assisting at the Rockette Experience at Radio City!
I found out I’d be working with the Rockette Experience a while back, but today was my first day! I wandered downstairs around half past and made myself some oatmeal. I looked at the clock…then looked again. Then, my heart stopped.
It was 7:30am.
I was supposed to be at Radio City at 7:45. I am still in the Bronx, an hour away by subway. I realized too late that I’d set my alarm an hour later than I meant to. Cue panic attack. I called my supervisor and explained that I was running a little behind, but would be there as soon as I could. I called a cab service and ran down the street to the ATM. When the cab pulled up, I jumped in and said:
“Radio City! And step on it!”
Well, no…I didn’t really say that since the gentleman driving the cab didn’t speak English too well. I had to explain several times, “51st between 5th and 6th” then politely ask him to go as fast as possible. My heart was racing the entire way there. At 8:05 we turned onto 52nd street and as soon as Radio City was in sight I said, “this is fine!” paid the fare, then jumped out of the cab and sprinted down 5th avenue towards the stage entrance. I skidded to a halt at the stage door when I heard my name called.
It was the other girls who were assisting…they hadn’t even gone in yet! Thank God! No one would have to know I’d almost been late!
When my supervisor arrived later she seemed surprised to see that I’d made it, but I happily reported that it was a false alarm, and had made it in time.
For the next four hours, myself and two other BDC interns stood in the back of the rehearsal space and picked up choreography. Since it was our first day assisting, we were there mostly to observe and let the real assistants (who’d done this before) run the show. I loved learning all the choreography and relished picking up the little details. It reminded me of learning dance team choreography, where every detail is of extreme importance. Even though the steps were relatively easy, it was the precision that mattered and that’s what I tried to focus on.
We learned a jazz routine, a tap routine, and of course, a kickline. Did you know that when the Rockettes do their famous eye-high kicks they actually aren’t touching each other? It looks like they all have their hands on each others’ backs, but in reality their hands hover just inches away from the person next to them so that they don’t push on each other. Doing those kicks while holding your arms in that awkward position and trying not to touch the girls next to you is a lot harder than the Rockettes make it look!
After learning all the choreography, we took turns helping the girls, who were actually taking the workshop, through the mock audition. Two assistants would do the choreography with each group of four girls so that they had someone to watch if they forgot the choreography. Which of course, put the pressure on us not to forget!
When it wasn’t our turn, myself and the other interns agreed that even though we were only assisting, we were really nervous! There was certainly pressure to do well with a real Rockette running the mock audition. I couldn’t help but imagine myself in that room a few months from now at the real audition! Yikes!
After all the girls had their chance to perform, there was a Q&A session with our Rockette teacher. She told the girls about the importance of eating well and training. She also shared her audition experience, which was very interesting and insightful since she’s been a Rockette for 10 years!
I left the workshop feeling really good, and definitely looking forward to next week when we’ll be up front…real assistants! I was glad we had a sort of practice run this week…I was nervous enough without having to stand in the front!
Also, my sister, Michelle, and I have been having tons of fun in the city, but I’ll save that post for another day, so check back in!