The Radio City Rockettes' Crazy Fitness Routine

November 5, 2013: Radio City Christmas Spectacular tech rehearsal at Radio City Music Hall.
November 5, 2013: Radio City Christmas Spectacular tech rehearsal at Radio City Music Hall.

Wellness Editor

Watching the Rockettes is a mesmerizing experience. Those perfectly synchronized kick-lines are impressive from both a visual and an athletic standpoint, especially when you consider the troupe performs its Christmas Spectacular show four times a day, every single day. Rockette Hannah Sides squeezed in a quick phone call between performances to talk about the dancers’ intense training schedule and essential recovery regimen.
[jwplayer 8idV7LF2-RnIdcM25]

Esme Benjamin: What’s the most challenging thing about being a Rockette?

Hannah Sides: The schedule during the Christmas season is really intense. Rehearsals happen six hours a day, six days a week, and during the tech process, when we’re in dress rehearsals, it’s even longer. While performing the Christmas Spectacular we do four shows per day, seven days a week. The choreography is deceivingly complex, but the Rockettes have the style and grace to make it look effortless.

EB: Is being a Rockette a year-round job?

Paul Kolnik for MSG

EB: How long did it take you to learn the choreography?

HS: I’m also dance captain and assistant choreographer, so I teach the routines to the Rockettes. It usually takes us three weeks to teach the show and get it perfected. The process is fast; we learn one number for three days, then have one day of cleaning it up and making it precise.

EB: Do you have a recovery routine?

HS: We have an amazing athletic training department, including ice baths — which really aids recovery, for my feet in particular — and physical therapy. I also use a foam roller which helps achy-ness and lactic acid build-up.

Courtesy of MSG

EB: What about your off-duty self-care?

HS: I love to take hot vinyasa yoga as a kind of recovery. It stretches everything out and keeps muscles long and loose feeling. It’s also invaluable for keeping me centered during the craziness of my schedule.

EB: The toy soldiers dance is incredible. How do you perform the dominos-like topple at the end?

HS: The fall is deceivingly challenging. Everyone needs to be strong and really be there for person in front of them. It’s actually symbolic of the Rockettes as a whole — we’re such a supportive group of strong females, and this section of the show really embodies that.

Courtesy of MSG

EB: Talk me through what you eat in an average day.

HS: I like to start the day with oatmeal, fruit and eggs. It’s so important we get energy in our systems between each show, so I eat smaller meals — bigger, more filling ones are hard to dance on — with a good mix of protein and carbs. Grilled chicken and rice is a typical example. Simple food with plenty of energy.

EB: The holidays are traditionally a time for eating rich food and boozing a lot. How do you reconcile that diet with your dancing? Do you have to be extremely restrained?

HS: With the number of shows we do (17 every week) we can have that slice of pizza or cookie and not even think about it. I treat them as a well-earned reward.

Courtesy of MSG

EB: What are some exercises people can try at home that would build up the leg strength needed to be a Rockette?

HS: To perform kick lines we need a strong core, so I like to do planks on my elbows and hands.

When it comes to building up leg strength, lunges and yoga poses are great. The aim is to get lean, strong muscles in both the front and the back of the leg, so it’s best to counter the lunge with a hamstring extension. Hamstrings need to be strong to pull a high kick back down.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article