Rockettes bring high-kicking act to Pittsburgh

By Laura Nizlek

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Nov. 12 through Dec. 6

Benedum Center

$30.50 to $70.50. … Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Nov. 12 through Dec. 6

Benedum Center

$30.50 to $70.50.

412-456-4800 or visit

Ever wanted to see a chorus line of reindeer do leg kicks? Here’s your chance.

Get ready to ring in the holidays when the world-famous Rockettes kick up their heels from Nov. 12 through Dec. 6 at the Benedum Center with the national tour of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a tradition since 1933.

The cast and crew of more than 100, including the kick line of 18 Rockette dancers, a Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and elves, will dance in a staggering 51 performances in the Pittsburgh leg of the tour.

The leggy performers originally hailed from St. Louis in 1925 as the Missouri Rockets, changing their name to the Roxyettes when they moved to the Roxy Theater in New York City. They became the Rockettes in 1932 when they debuted at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The renowned dance ensemble has toured 43 different cities in the United States and Canada.

Erin Harold, a senior dance major at Point Park University, is a Rockette in the Pittsburgh and Seattle cast — she will spend four weeks in each city. This will be her second year as a member of the precision dance team.

Erin has been dancing since the age of 4, but only became serious about dance in high school when she began to go to summer intensives, or specialized training programs for dancers. After watching the Rockettes perform in Cleveland, Ohio when she was a teenager, her heart was set on joining the high-stepping hoofers.

In order to dance as a Rockette, Erin says dancers must be proficient in ballet, tap and jazz, and stand between 5 foot 6 to 5 foot 10. Musical ability is a plus, since the Rockettes also sing in the show.

The dancers’ schedule is intense: They rehearse six days a week, eight hours a day. When the actual performances start, the Rockettes can be in as many as 17 shows a week, sometimes performing up to three or four shows a day.

Erin’s favorite number in the Christmas Spectacular is “Reindeer,” which starts off the show with the dancers “all dressed up like Santa’s reindeer with boots on and brown velvet unitards and jackets with bells on our shoulders and, of course, a hat with antlers. We are Santa’s reindeer, and we are all excited to get out of the barn and deliver presents.” “Reindeer” is a very fast paced and exciting number, setting the tone for the rest of the program.

While the audience sees a smoothly running show from their seats, the backstage can be frenzied, as the performers change into as many as eight

different costumes per show, with only seconds to spare in between sets. Each costume is outfitted with its own unique headpiece, ranging from a stately soldier helmet to an elaborate wig. The performance closes with the Rockettes moving in unison in its signature precision kick line routine, the culmination of endless practice sessions.

Tickets range from $30.50 to $70.50. For more information on tickets, call 412-456-4800 or visit The show is no longer available through Pitt Arts.