MainStage Dance Academy visit the Rockettes

Eight girls from MainStage Dance Academy got a special holiday treat this year: the Rockette Experience. 

On Dec. 15, the Greenport dance studio started their day by seeing a show. Then, they participated in a four-hour workshop, where the girls learned how to do the special kicks seen in class Rockette shows, a tap routine, a jazz routine, and a routine with the wooden soldiers. They even had a mock audition and got graded.

“We got to experience the way all the Rockettes got to audition,” Julia Cardi, 10, said.

The Rockettes-in-training got to take a tour of the vintage backstage, including the old theater and costumes and got to take a peek in the VIP room where celebrities often sit. Pictures were taken with the Rockettes. This experience is meant for dancers above age 10 that have experience in jazz, tap and ballet.

“I got to learn what the Rockettes really do in the show,” Julia said.

MainStage Dance owner Lucille Naar-Saladino said they were fully prepared for the day, because she herself was once a Rockette. From 1976 to 1977, she danced on the steel stage in Radio City Music Hall, and then moved to Las Vegas to continue her dance career.

She took her first class to the Rockette Experience in 2013 and has been participating every two years since.

“I love going and seeing all of them learn and perform in a large rehearsal hall where I rehearsed,” Ms. Naar-Saladino said. “The most important thing is that here, they only know how to dance with their friends. Even though I take them to perform in different places, they only dance with each other. There, they danced with so many different girls from different countries, ages, levels and states.”

The girls learned little tricks and interesting facts the Rockettes have, like how all the dancers have microphones built into their shoes and that the dancers never tough each other’s backs; their hands hover over when they are in standing in kick line form.

“I got to learn how to do the high kicks,” Brianna Grattan, 10, said.

“I learned that the Rockettes don’t just dance, they have to use their face and their emotions to perform,” Lauren Mullen, 11, said. “We want to go back next year.”

This day turned eight girls into aspiring Rockettes.

The other girls who went were Sarah Mather, Isabelle Penny, Emily Martin, Carley Wilinski and Jackie Martocchia.

For information on how to bring a dance studio or dance group to the experience, contact [email protected] or 212-485-7730.

Photo caption: From left: Carley Wilinski, Jackie Martocchia, Lauren Mullen, Julia Cardi and Brianna Grattan. These five plus three other girls not shown participated in the Rockette Experience on Friday. (Credit: Rachel Siford)