WEB EXCLUSIVE: Students dance with Rockettes

GW students were treated to a taste of a dancer’s life as the world-famous Rockettes precision dance troupe held a master class and audition at the “Rockette Experience” sponsored by the Program Board Saturday in the Dorothy Marvin Betts Theatre.

About 15 female students attended the master class taught by Rockettes Kerri Quinn and Kristin Tudor.

“This is a great non-traditional event that is an example of how the Program Board has tried to branch out to students this year,” PB Executive Chair Seth Weinert said.

Participants registered for the class through the PB. Dance experience
was preferred because the students learned challenging material. About 30 students signed up, but only half of them participated Saturday, PB Arts Committee Chair Jessica Love said.

“Though the class was meant to instruct and not necessarily recruit girls to become Rockettes, the instructors kept their eyes open for girls that showed outstanding performance abilities,” Love said.

Quinn, an eight-year Rockette veteran, taught the class three routines during the master class.

The Rockettes, who celebrated their 75th anniversary last year and
have about 175 members, perform the Christmas Spectacular in New York City and at other venues around the country yearly.

The dancers started the “Rockette Experience” about a year ago in Radio City Music Hall in New York City to give people a behind-the-scenes look at the Rockettes. The program soon branched out to universities, Quinn said.

GW is one of the first universities in the country to host the program, Love said.

“It’s a good event for the University and it helps (the Rockettes) with the recruitment process,” she said.

Quinn began the master class by teaching the students a Latin jazz routine she choreographed. Quinn said she was the first Rockette to choreograph routines.

The second routine was the infamous kick line. After each attempt by students the audience erupted in applause.

The last routine was a Rockette classic tap routine. After the two-hour master class, the group held auditions for anyone interested in giving it a shot.

Teaching and rehearsing of each routine took about 45 minutes. Tudor said a real audition requires dancers to bring their resumes and head shots, but Saturday’s audition was informal.

Five students auditioned for Quinn and Tudor.

Students who did not audition said they enjoyed the event.

“I came because I like to dance and I missed jazz and tap,” freshman Michelle Abbani said. “And to get a free dance class.”

After the audition, Quinn and Tudor discussed the life of a dancer in a half-hour question-and-answer session.

The Rockettes told students where to go in New York to succeed as a dancer, what the job pays, how to act during an audition and other advice to be successful in the dancing world.

“I saw it advertised and thought that it looked like fun,” junior Laura Drabek said. “I thought it would be good to try the audition for real to get the experience.”

Other students said the auditions were an enjoyable experience.

“I’m a theatre major and I love to tap and Jazz,” sophomore Alicia Trider said. “I thought the dancers were very informative and they made it easy to understand even though (the class) was challenging.”

“It was a lot of fun and it was a good idea to have a real audition,” freshman Kathryn Paine said. “I’m happy the Program Board did this, they should do things like this more often.”

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