Times to Remember

50th Anniversary Gala



Oh What a Night!!


50th ANNIVERSARY DINNER DANCE

Click here to see pictures.


Anyone who has pictures to share, please send them to Ellen at tdenniston@comcast.net


The Quilt!

Rockette Anniversary Quilt
timeless beauties tiers of Rockettes snowing in August

"...we were all 17 again for 10 minutes..."
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Rockette Cake

Christmas in August - SNOW!!



"Christmas in August".......and the gang's all here!


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ROCKETTE 75TH ANNIVERSARY


By Sandi Bloomberg

It was definitely a "hoot!" Four hundred Rockettes of various heights, widths, ages and outfits of red and white, converging on the Grand Foyer of the famous Radio City Music Hall for the 75th Anniversary of the Rockettes. A sight to behold!

The invitation told us to be at the stage door dressed in any combination of red and white, by 9:00 A.M. for a rehearsal, then at 1:00 P.M., a performance in front of the Music Hall to "kick" off the sale of the tickets for the upcoming Christmas show. "Christmas in August" they called it and invited all the present and ex Rockettes to the 75th Anniversary PR ploy to sell tickets. I didnít care. I was going!

At 7:00 A.M. all dolled up in my new white pants and red t-shirt, I walked out of my house to get into my car and make the drive from Melville Long Island to Manhattan. There before my eyes was a stretch limo and a driver holding the door open for me. My husband surprised me with a royal "Rockette" ride to the city. I was so sure the girls would say "who the hell does she think she is?" that I had the driver drop me off a block before the stage door. I didnít have to. I was so early, no one had arrived yet.

By 9:15, the Grand Foyer was filled with every combination of red and white imaginable. As I made my way through the throng, I heard screams of recognition, saw hugs and kisses ad nauseam, and finally added to it when I found familiar faces from my "era". They were all there, my backstage buddies Ė Speedy, Millie, Sue, Marylou, Emmie, and many more I hadnít seen since my last summer at Radio City Ė 1962. And I thought that I was going to be the only one who had put on some weight over the years. There were quite a few who were also wearing an x-large sized t-shirt like mine. Of course there were those who after 39 years still had their Rockette figures. How dare they!

We had to separate into groups according to when we started dancing at the "hall". I went into the "60"s group. There were girls from the 30"s, right up to the young, skinny, gorgeous, Rockettes of today. Some of the original "girls" were in wheel chairs and walkers. But they all made it to Radio City for this special celebration.

They came from all over the United States. There were special air fares and a block of hotel rooms at the Hilton for the occasion.

After learning six counts of eight to "New York, New York," kicks and all, we were ushered out to 6th avenue where the present day Rockettes performed their famous "Wooden Soldier" dance. We followed in lines of 30ís, 40ís, 50ís, 60ís, 70ís, 80ís, and 90ís girls, all strutting our "stuff". Over 2000 people surrounded us, traffic was halted on 6th avenue, and the TV stations of all the major networks covered the festivities, as a huge fake 75th birthday cake was wheeled out in front of us.

For just a few brief moments we were all doing our famous "kicks", though not as high as we used to. There was not a dry eye amongst us. For these precious few minutes, we were young again, we were glamorous again, we were "Rockettes" again. It was great!

I hope to make it to the 100th Anniversary celebration. Iíll only be 85!

Don't forget to check out Sandi's web site at http://sandibloomberg.com/ where you'll find information on her recently published books for kids. "The Magic Garden" and "The Magic Cookies" are available through Amazon.com.

Attendees:

Rosalie Bowers Amoroso
Cheryl Homan Anderson
Berlinda Artzner-Gordon
Abby Arauz
Eleanor Aetisse
Evelyn Rakovich Ashley
Patricia Clark Asmann
Lindsay Flora Babich
Mary Lee Dewitt Baker
Millie Pratt Balint
Linda Bartle
Lenore Lortz Beetar
Andrea Clifford Bekkenhuis
Dottie Belle
Barbara Baxter Benjamin
Kiki Bennett
Linda Berres
Emma Stiffer Bishop
Sandy Harvey Bloomberg
Pokie Powers Bookless
Lisa Lewis Basi
Darla Bradle
Katy Braff
Dorothy Meachen Breen
Peggy Burke Brennan
Dee Dee Knapp Brody
Mary Limbach Burg
Linda Deacon Burrington
Deidre Caroll
Kathleen Rudolph Cezer
Elizabeth Chanin
Stephanie Chase
Barbara Ann Cittadino
Kelli Coleman
Jacqueline Collins
Lillian Colon
Helen Conklin
Holly Copeland
Barbara Boho Creighton
Alzine Straub Cuppett
Mary Ann Strilka Cusimana
Cathy Dacey
Vickie Daigle
Betty Rose Silva Dammert
Darlene Wendy
Cheryl Davidson-Steinthal
Prudence Grey-Demmler
Irene Guerreiro Diamante
Cathy Beatty Di Marco
Gretchen Green Dodd
Susanne Doris
Becky Downing
Beverly Browne Duke
Beth Dukleth
Cookie Franzese Dutch
Carolyn Dutra
Jenny Eakes
Betty Dedrick Eckhardt
Rosemary Rickerhauser Elsegood
Gretchen Esch
Holly Evans
Angie Everett
Dotty Hoarton Eyl
Janice Dinkins Ferguson
Betty White Fernandez
Diana Ford Fiscus
Barbara Parkhurst Forgue
Christina Fortenbaugh
Linda Christ Gache
Mary Anne Fiordalisi Garretson
Barbara DiMateo Gasser
Dianne Gauroy
Fern Dion Gedney
Jody Erickson Ghanem
Joy Wheeler Gibbons
Glenda Guilfoyle Vosberg
Heather Ginther
Darcy Gloria
Heather Goelz
Eileen Grace
Jeanne Spooner Gracey
Pat De Carlo Grantham
Mary Ellen Scilla Greco
Shelly Speas Green
Troy Greenfield
Leslie Guy
Charles Hacker
Nanette Brousseau Hackett
Joy Shelby Hairston Ward
Tamara Halenda Dobias
Michelle Hammer
Jackie Sloan Hanson
Cheryl Hebert
Susan Henderson
Ellie Thies Hevel
Sandie Summer Hilliard
Janice Davis Himler
Betty Hunt Holding
Kathy Maier Horan
Michelle Imor
Lorraine Monty Johnson
Linda Johnston
Temple Kane
Jerry Karsus
Jeri Kansas Jandrok
Mary Louise Fidmik Kaufmann
Mary Lou Barnes Kennedy
Sharlene Curley Kessler
Natalie King
Bernice Hess Klebaur
Corinne Lawton Klemmer-Allaire
Bette Lou "Belle" Daley Koblentz
Judy Goodman Koch
Debby Kole
Laurie Kotecki
Barbara Kraemer Renna
Amy Krawcek
Edith Karen Kusik
Sandra Scilla La Maina
Cindy Pierce Lee
Liane Neumann-Pruzan
Eleanor Russell Leight
Joanne Lentino
LuAnn Leonard-Johns
Barbara Yula Levy
Lisa Lewis-Basi
Sabra Lewis
Arnelle Mauer Liblit
Eleanor Leight
June Anne Loesch
Mary Lillygren
Kimberly Louwsma
Adele Harper Lyttle
Linda Muhrcke Lynch
Elaine Bahr MacDonald
Peggy Morrison Macherey
Melissa Mahon
Flip Butterfield Manne
Geri Marcolina
Jean Radzik Martin
Setsuko Maruhashi
Lisa Matsuoka
Elizabeth Maurer
Florence Kimball May
Barbara Vaughan McCabe
Mary McCatty
Patrice McConachie
Julie McDonald
Lori McMacken
Laraine Memola
Stevie Van Meter
Angela Mezzacapa
Sarah Misiano
Marquis Monday
Sue Bono-Moore
Marion Block Moriarty
Betty Vincent Moritz
Harriet Rover Muller
Catherine Madigan Murray
Janet Murphy
Anne Murphy
Lucille Naar
Darcy Natalie
Kathy Westlund Nelson
Nancy Walker Nesbitt
Dorothy Laxson Nesholm
Liane Neumann-Pruzan
Jennifer Newman
Betty Ann Warshauer Nice
Peggy Fears Noble
Beth Woods Nolan
Joyce Nolen
Rosemary Posillico Noviello
Gail Paduani Oldfield
Eileen O'Rourke Liese
Pat Tully Osborn
Lillian Hodulick Oswald
Cathy Dunsmore Oswandel
Jill Owens
Dani Parish
Jyl Perry
Cynthia Petrone
Pam Stacey Pasqualino
DoDo Wicker Parmenter
Keisa Parrish
Margaret Morley Pearsall
Rita Iacurto Pelletier
Susan Kingsland Peterson
Sandra Simpson Philpott
Anita Sowa Pokrassa
Maureen Stevens-Pollack
Liane Neumann-Pruzan
Kerri Quinn
Tara Radcliffe
Dorothy "Candy" Hart Ratcliff
Erica Reed
Carol Kaufman Reilly
Laureen Repp-Russell
Loraine Brown Rinaldi
Jody Robinson Buckelew
Sheila Phillips Rodriguez
Kara Marie Sandberg
Kathryn Kehrle Ryan
Lorraine Holscher Sarek
Patsy Brady Scalise
Kim Leslie Schwab
Tara Bradley Schweitzer
Melanie Seymour
Diane Brisson Sheehan
Tamlyn Shusterman
Susan Alai Sinibaldi
Helene Grethlein Smith
Amber Smith
Barbara Speedling Gatti
Jean Spouswell
Elizabeth Sprei
Katherine Steers
Twila Saylor Stern
Leslie Stroud
Carole Roth Sullivan
Lyn Sullivan-Bowers
Fern Fitzgerald Sweet
Romaine Strilka Switch
Carol Wilcox Tarallo
Jeanette Dix Tarrand
Nancy Bryan Taylor
Eileen Thomas
Adriene Thorne
Tammy Tipton Nay
Joan Swack Tipton
Linda Gumiela Toliver
Michelle Tolson
Karyn Tomzak
Betty Brady Walters
Eva Ward
Sara Weber
Carla Drumm Webber
Barbara Warren Anzalone
Darlene Wendy
Marilyn Westlake
Tiffany Whitaker
Gertrude Fryer Wylie
Kathleen O'Connor Williams
Dottie Williams Hunt-Kleeb
Laura Williams
Jaime Windrow
Suzanne Sibilio Winn
Sally Wong
Verna Pharo Yezo
Amy York
Carole Calibani Zablocki
Terry Burke Zukowski
Diann Mac Donald Catino
Viva Reynolds Pastor
Keri Pearsall
Corliss Fyfe Whitney


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(L-R) Joan Browning Bean, Barbara Vaughan McCabe, Muriel (Duffey) Hake, Margaret Morley Pearsall, Corliss Fyfe Whitney -- Taking Duffey to Lunch

Celebrating 75 Years -- The Rockette Alumni takes to the stage for recognition of their 75th Anniversary.

NY Times Article, December 24, 2005
To see the article, click here.

By GIA KOURLAS Published NY Times: December 24, 2005 The Rockettes performing "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" at Radio City Music Hall. Choreographed by Russell Markert in 1933, the number is a perennial highlight of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Everyone seems to forget that Rockettes are serious dancers. As soon as the holidays roll around, they seem to be everywhere they shouldn't be - posed seductively next to an inane weatherman as he delivers the morning forecast and then, invariably, tries to take part in a kick line, or being ridiculed by comedians on VH1's "I Love the Holidays." At the gift kiosk at Radio City Music Hall, there is even a doll version available to take home.

The Rockettes are a highly marketable operation, but what consistently saves them from becoming a pawn in the Radio City promotion blitz is the glory of their dancing - specifically, in Russell Markert's "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," a gorgeous number from 1933. In it, the Rockettes move in rigid patterns that resemble military drills without a trademark eye-high kick in sight. "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" is a veritable modern masterpiece of precision dancing, which would be a dying art if not for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a boisterous show of otherwise questionable artistic merit, which continues at Radio City Music Hall through Jan. 2.

The dancers, wearing the latest generation of the stunning soldier uniforms designed by Vincente Minelli - wide-legged white pants, snug red jackets and tall black hats topped with jaunty white feathers - move as one impeccable line, facing the audience or the rear of the stage, and rotating in sharp circles to form shapes that fit together like the steel puzzle of a piece of machinery. Standing in profile, they pretend to be hit by a blast from a cannon and collapse one by one, each carefully hooking her arms through those of the dancer in front. Like a painstaking game of human dominos, one body descends into the next until the last dancer has no choice but to crumple into an oversized red velvet cushion. After all these years, it's still a mesmerizing wonder.

This year, the Christmas Spectacular includes a new opening number, "Deck the Hall," choreographed by John Dietrich, in which the dancers congregate sexily around a glittering sign that spells out "Rockettes." The design is pretty enough, but the number comes nowhere near recreating the power or the austere beauty of "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers." The dancers display what the audience expects - tapping and kicking with movie-star smiles - which is important, but the results are more an arrangement of bodies than a timeless dance. The effect is hardly Las Vegas, and that is commendable, but dressed as they are, in sparkling white halter dresses, the Rockettes come closer to resembling models than dancers.

"Deck the Hall" is a lost opportunity. What the Rockettes need is not a modernized imitation of the precision style but an innovative choreographer willing to challenge them to the fullest extent of their meticulous technique, all the while honoring the past. The Radio City Web site maintains that in the 21st century, the Rockettes "will continue to explore new dance repertoires, styles and techniques that reflect their exciting, contemporary and modern style." Unfortunately, this reads as little more than truism. The group's lack of modernity isn't a flaw; it's what makes the Rockettes so fascinating and viable in the modern world. As proof, "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" remains the freshest, most distinct piece of choreography in the Rockettes' repertory.

In the excellent book "The Work of Dance: Labor, Movement and Identity in the 1930's," Mark Franko points to a 1938 essay on dance and abstraction by John Martin, longtime chief dance critic of The New York Times. As an example of dance that "puts aside all dramatic and literary program, and deals exclusively in terms of movement, without what is generally referred to as meaning," Martin relies on the Rockettes, which he calls "as complete abstraction as it is possible for the human body to attain."

Russell Markert, who died in 1990, invented the Rockettes with that notion seemingly in mind. He was inspired to form the group after watching a performance of the Tiller Girls, a popular English group, but he was intrigued by the idea of a bolder, all-American version, with a lineup of taller dancers who could kick higher and master more complicated tap routines than their predecessors. His answer, the Missouri Rockets, was formed in St. Louis in 1925; touring companies were created. At the invitation of Samuel L. (Roxy) Rothafel, Mr. Markert brought his troupe to the Roxy Theater in New York as the Roxyettes. It wasn't until March of 1934 that the Roxyettes became the Rockettes.

When John D. Rockefeller Jr. approached Rothafel to oversee the opening of a new theater - Radio City Music Hall - the opening-night performance featured 19 acts, including the Roxyettes in Mr. Markert's "With a Feather in Your Cap." The program also included Martha Graham and her Dance Group in "Choric Dance for an Antique Greek Tragedy," creating an inclusiveness that rarely exists today.

By all accounts, opening night was a bust. A rainstorm delayed the curtain, many audience members fled after intermission, and Rothafel, the visionary behind it all, collapsed and was taken from the theater to the hospital on a stretcher.

But no one could criticize the splendor of the Music Hall. In 1933, with the Depression in full force, the theater began presenting films. At first, they played for only one week each, and Mr. Markert choreographed new numbers for the Rockettes with the same frequency. But as choices for suitable family movies declined in the late 1960's, so did the troupe's performing options. Today, the Rockettes remain vibrant and capable, but they are stilted by a lack of stage time. Performing at the halftime show at a New York Liberty basketball game or with Hugh Jackman at the 2004 Tony Awards simply is not sufficient.

The legacy of what it means to be a Rockette is not lost on the dancers; if they don't immediately identify with their icon status, they do understand that they are part of a deep sisterhood. They are hardly automatons or chorus girls, and they are infinitely more than a bunch of life-size Barbie dolls that appear at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They are treasures of the dance world, and they need their own show.

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