Boston Conservatory and the Radio City Rockettes have teamed up to bring the dance troupe's famed precision dance techniques to dance and musical theatre students at the Massachusetts institution. Beginning with BoCo's spring 2023 semester, the first-of-its-kind class will be taught by members of the Rockettes organization, with focus given to the troupe's signature precision technique.
Class makeup, however, is liable to look different from the typical all-female Rockettes kick line, with the training available to students of all backgrounds and gender identities. The offering will be restricted to dance majors in the contemporary dance and commercial dance programs, musical theatre students with a dance emphasis, and Berklee College of Music dance minors.
The course will use strength training and special choreography to teach the foundational techniques behind the Rockettes' trademark high-kicking style, which incorporates tap, ballet, and jazz. Beyond preparing students to join the New York-based troupe, educators hope the class will help students explore how the Rockettes' precision technique can inform other dance styles and new works.
“We are thrilled to partner with Boston Conservatory at Berklee, one of the preeminent dance conservatories in the country, to offer the first-ever for-credit class in the Rockettes style of precision dance,” says Madison Square Garden Entertainment (parent company to the Rockettes) Senior Vice President Jessica Tuttle. “This marks a major step in the evolution of the Rockettes brand and our dancer development programming, and comes on the heels of our extremely successful first in-person Rockettes Conservatory this past summer. As leaders in the commercial dance industry, the Rockettes are committed to eliminating barriers to entry and providing quality dance education to all aspiring dancers. Boston Conservatory and the Radio City Rockettes are united in their pursuit of excellence in dance, and in their mission of creating equitable and inclusive spaces in both pre-professional and professional dance organizations.”
"Both of our organizations are thinking deeply and critically about how to honor the best parts of our traditions while simultaneously evolving and innovating with a consciousness towards excellence and inclusion," adds BoCo dance chair Mila Thigpen, who has led the collaboration.
The partnership is the latest in a relatively new push into training for Rockettes hopefuls. The company launched the Rockettes Conservatory in early 2020, inviting dancers to a week-long training intensive. Held online in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the program got its first-ever in-person session in summer 2022. Seventeen of the 18 new Rockettes who joined the company for the 2022 Christmas Spectacular came through the 2022 conservatory program.
Founded in 1867, Boston Conservatory trains students in a wide range of performing arts disciplines, including musical theatre and dance. Among the institution's notable alumni are Erin Davie, Kimiko Glenn, Katharine McPhee, Hayley Podschun, and Stephanie Umoh.