I Wanna Be A Rockette!

I’m at the Amtrak station at a quarter to 5 in the morning. My eyes are barely open, but my heart is already racing. Nerves!

Arriving in Manhattan a few hours later, I hail a taxicab; and as I direct him to Radio City Music Hall, I can finally start to calm. I’m here. I’m on time. I’m ready.

The line at 8:30 already stretched around the entire city block. As I took my place in it, I estimated 200 young girls in front of me, and over 300 would come behind. When auditions are announced at 10:00, it’s best to be there early.

I watched as group after group went in before me. A few walked out beaming – most exited already in tears. It’s such a long way to come to realize the harshness of the business, and so hard to keep going when rejected time and again.

My turn to enter the audition room. I relearned the steps, now familiar after years of auditions and memorizing the Christmas Spectacular. Three at a time we performed for the judge – the show choreographer herself! – and waited with bated breath to hear our names should they be called. I counted on my fingers as the named began… 16 in my group kept… and somewhere in there – Kate Michael! I was one of the beaming.

Of the over 500 talented young women who auditioned for the Rockettes yesterday, only approximately 75 were kept through the second round, and of course, less with each harsh cut. I’m proud to have been one of the last 30 or so, but sadly, won’t be featured in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular this year.

My lessons learned? Just like in Miss America, it’s hard not to be the last one standing, but at least in this case, should I choose to, I have the opportunity to try again. Dreams are dreams – until we make them reality.