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The Icons of Christmas

I don’t know about you but whenever Christmas rolls around, I find myself appreciating the traditional feelings of yesterday. I like the nostalgia of celebrating the holidays in an old-fashioned way. One of those reminiscent moments that makes me smile and appreciate Christmas time is those synchronized ladies of dance—the Rockettes.

Everybody’s heard of the Rockettes. What better way to epitomize the best of the season then to pay tribute to this fantastic dance troupe. The Rockettes began in 1925 in St. Louis and slowly made their way to New York City in 1932, for more exposure.

The Rockettes are America’s best-known dance group. You can be sure that when Christmas time rolls around, the Rockettes will be there to entertain their adoring audiences, and have done so, for nearly a century. For many people, especially those who live in New York, it is a ritual and special treat to see each new show the Rockettes come up with every year.

You never know what you will get when you come to a Rockettes show. This team of female dancers and their impeccable choreography always changes. You can count on seeing brand new dance routines, styles and costumes. These dancers even have special shoes made with sound transmitters, so their foot tapping is in sync with each other. This adds to the pleasure and awe of the audience.

Quite rightly so, the Rockettes are considered America’s icons and surely have made Radio City Music Hall famous and even kept it alive with their grand Christmas Spectacular Show that’s been thriving for decades.

Here are some fun facts about the Rockettes:

· Ages range from 18 to 41 years old

· The height of the dancers ranges from 5’ 6” to 5’ 10 ½” inches tall

· There are a total of 80 Rockettes. There are 40 Rockettes in each cast. Only 36 of them

perform onstage at a time

· To become a Rockette dancer you must be proficient in jazz, tap and ballet and be able

to go through two-day auditions that are held in the spring at Radio City Music Hall

· In 1967 the Rockettes went on strike to demand better wages to compensate for their

demanding practice schedules and unpaid rehearsal time, and they got it

As a special treat, we have our own Rockettes story to tell. Our founder, Marilyn (Winkie) Fordney has a friend named Felice Blumberg. Recently, Felice and her husband, Richard made their lovely daughter Jolie, a beautiful Bat Mitzvah. As a surprise to Jolie's parents for this lavish event, here is a shot of Jolie dancing at her own Bat Mitzvah with the Rockettes! Not too many people can say they danced onstage with the Rockettes. You see, Jolie's dance teacher was a former Rockette.

Jolie Blumberg's Bat Mitzvah 10-23-21: Jolie dancing with Rockettes

Enjoy your time with friends and family. The Fordney Foundation wishes all of you a wonderful holiday season.

**We have received contributions from individuals who would like to have a dear relative or friend who passed on remembered that loved to dance or was a dance aficionado. We call these memorial contributions. Perhaps you would like to have someone memorialized in this manner. Make a donation and give us their name. We will soon put on our website a yellow brick road to add their name to a brick as a memorial to that person. This contribution will assist future generations of dancers and help keep young people more positive and healthy.

Thought Of The Week:

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart - Washington Irving

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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website

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