Kickin’ it behind the scenes with Radio City Rockettes

ABC News' Ashan Singh gets an inside look at Radio City Music Hall's annual Christmas Spectacular show and the Rockette dancers.
5:52 | 12/09/22

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Transcript for Kickin’ it behind the scenes with Radio City Rockettes
TOGETHER. OUR ASHAN SINGH LIEARNING ALL TE SECRETS, ESPECIALLY THOSE CELEBRATED HIGH KICKS. >> AM I A ROCKETTE? >> I THINK WE'VE GOT TO GET YOU SOLDIER CHEEKS. >> THIS IS HEAVY ON YOUR HEAD, YOU'RE DANCING WITH THIS? >> Reporter: KICKING IT BACKSTAGE WITH THE ONE AND ONLY RADIO CITY ROCKETTES. MAYBE NOT SLAYING THEIR ICONIC LOOK QUITE AS WELL. >> RIGHT ON YOUR CHEEKBONES, PERFECT. >> IS THIS THE AMERICAN DREAM? ♪ >> Reporter: IT'S HOLIDAY SEASON NUMBER 90 FOR THE WORLD-FAMOUS DANCE TROUPE. ♪ AND THEY'RE TAKING US INSIDE THE LEGENDARY NEW YORK CITY SHOW, "THE CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR." WE'RE AT THE ICONIC RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL. IT'S HOLIDAY SEASON. WE'RE ABOUT TO LINK UP WITH THE LEDGE LEGENDARY ROCKETTES. THEY'VE INVITED US BEHIND THE SCENES SO LET'S GO CHECK IT OUT. >> THERE'S NOTHING LIKE NEW YORK AT CHRISTMAS. THAT JUST PORTRAYS IT SO WELL. >> Reporter: THIS YEAR'S SHOW FEATURES CLASSICAL MUSIC NUMBERS LIKE "THE PARADE OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS," A STAPLE SINCE THE SHOW'S INCEPTION. AND A HIGH-TECH NUMBER, "DANCE OF THE FROST FAIRIES" WITH DRONES WHIRLING AND SWIRLING OVERHEAD. ♪ LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW ♪ >> Reporter: THE SHOW HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE THE ORIGINAL 16 ROCKETTES IN THE EARLY 1930s. NOW WITH A LINE OF 36 DANCERS, OR 72 LEGS. >> REALLY SILLY QUESTION, DO YOU LIKE KICKING? DOES IT HURT? >> YEAH, I MEAN -- IT'S SOMETHING YOU GET USED TO. YOU KNOW, ONCE IT'S IN YOUR BODY. BUT IT'S DEFINITELY HARD. >> I KNOW THE FIRST TIME I DID THAT KICK LINE I WAS LIKE, OKAY, LIKE -- I'M A ROCKETTE. ♪ >> Reporter: THE ROCKETTES PERFORM THAT FAMOUS HIGH KICK NEARLY 200 TIMES PER SHOW. UP TO FOUR SHOWS PER DAY. BUT IF YOU THOUGHT THOSE HIGH KICKS WERE NERVE-RACKING, IT'S NOTHING COMPARED TO WAITING FOR THE CASTING CALL AFTER AUDITIONS. >> THANK YOU! >> WHEN I PICKED UP THE PHONE, I KNEW THEN AND THERE WAS THE MOMENT. RIGHT AS I ENDED THE PHONE CALL, I SCREAMED MY LUNGS OUT. WE WERE JUST JUMPING UP AND DOWN. IT FELT LIKE ALL THE HARD WORK WAS PAYING OFF. >> BRITTNEY, ON COUNT SEVEN. >> Reporter: HARD WORK PAYING OFF BUT MORE WORK BEGINNING AS THEY TAKE ONE OF THE MOST ELABORATE HOLIDAY GIFTS ON EARTH. WHAT DON'T THE AUDIENCE MEMBERS SEE WHEN THEY'RE SITTING IN THE CROWD? >> THERE'S CHOREOGRAPHY ON STAGE. THERE'S CHOREOGRAPHY BACKSTAGE AS WELL. >> Reporter: BETWEEN THE NUMBERS THE ROCKETTES CHANGE COSTUMES, CHOOSE HATS, RACE BACK ON STAGE JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME. >> WE ARE IN ONE OF OUR QUICK CHANGE BOOTS THAT WE USE DURING THE CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR, SO WHEN WE CHANGE OUR COSTUMES IN BETWEEN DANCES, DURING THE SHOW, WE COME RIGHT IN HERE. OUR FASTEST CHANGE IS 78 SECONDS, FROM OUR "PARADE OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS" DANCE INTO OUR "NEW YORK AT CHRISTMAS," WHAT WE'RE WEARING TODAY. >> WE'VE STARTED PRACTICING THE CHANGE, ESPECIALLY WITH THE NEW ROCKETTES THAT ARE IN LINE, BEFORE WE EVEN GET TO THE STAGE. >> Reporter: JULIE BRANHAM HAS BEEN WITH THE SHOW OVER THREE DECADES. NOW SHE'S THE CHOREOGRAPHER. HOW MUCH OF THIS YEAR'S CHOREOGRAPHY IS YOU TRYING TO PRESERVE THE TRADITIONS OF THE ROCKETTES, HOW MUCH IS YOU ADDING NEW FLAVOR? >> A LITTLE BIT OF BOTH. "WOODEN SOLDIERS" I DON'T TOUCH BECAUSE I THINK IT'S BRILLIANT. THERE ARE OTHER THINGS, IF I THINK I CAN DO BETTER, I'LL CHANGE THE CHOREOGRAPHY. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THE ROCKETTES ARE KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES AND PUSHING THE ENVELOPE. >> Reporter: OVER THE YEARS CRITICS HAVE FOCUSED ON LACK OF DIVERSITY. >> THIS IS AN INSTITUTION THAT HAS BEEN PREDOMINANTLY WHITE. WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING TO BETTER R WHAT THE UNITED STATES LOOKS LIKE AND WHAT THE WORLD LOOKS LIKE? >> OUR CONSERVATORY PROGRAM AND DENSER DEVELOPMENT IS ALL PART OF THIS. >> THE ROCKETTES CONSERVATORY IS A DANCER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM THEY HAVE BEGUN TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN THE DANCERS OF TOMORROW AND THE DANCERS THAT THEY WANT ON THE LINE TO REPRESENT WHO WE ARE AS NEW YORK CITY. IT'S NOT GOING TO BE, BOOM, ONE DAY WE'RE JUST GOING TO SEE THE LINE BE COMPLETELY REPRESENTED LIKE WE WANT. IT TAKES WORK, IT TAKES THOUGHT, IT TAKES ACTIONS. AND I THINK THEY'RE DOING THAT. >> HAS THE CONSERVATORY CHANGED THE GAME IN TERMS OF MAKING BEING A ROCKETTE ACCESSIBLE? >> I SURE HOPE SO. IT IS COST-FREE TO THE ATTENDEES. WE BRING DANCERS IN, AIRPLANE, HOUSE THEM, FOOD, THE THINGS. GIVE THEM SHOES IF THEY NEED THEM. OUR SHOES ARE PAINTED TO YOUR SKIN COLORS. FOR A LOT OF TIME, THE FIRST TIME THEY'VE HAD SHOES THAT MATCH THEIR SKIN TONE. IT'S REALLY, I THINK, A GREAT THING. >> CULTURALLY AND TRADITIONALLY, NO, I DIDN'T SEE MYSELF REPRESENTED FULLY. AND I ALSO HAD THE DREAM AND THE GOAL AND THE DRIVE TO BE ON THE LINE MYSELF SO THAT I COULD OPEN THE DOORS FOR LITTLE GIRLS LIKE ME WITH BIG, CURLY HAIR AND WHO COME FROM A HISPANIC FAMILY. >> Reporter: AFTER PERFORMING IN MORE THAN 100 SHOWS, VALERIA SAYS THE CURTAIN COMING UP ON THAT OPENING NUMBER STILL NEVER GETS OLD. >> IT'S EXHILARATING. YOU FEEL THE ENERGY FROM THE RADIO CITY STAGE. THIS ICONIC PIECE OF FABRIC THAT IS PART OF NEW YORK CITY. >> MY FAVORITE NUMBER IS PROBABLY "REINDEER SLEIGH RIDE" THAT OPENS THE SHOW. AND I THINK IT'S JUST BECAUSE OF THE FEEL OF THE CURTAIN OPENING UP. IT'S ALL THE FEELS. THAT'S THE FIRST TIME THEY GET TO SEE US KICK, WHICH IS AWESOME. >> Reporter: AFTER ALL THIS TALK OF KICKING, THERE WAS NO WAY THEY WERE GOING TO LET ME LEAVE RADIO CITY WITHOUT GIVING IT A TRY. >> ONE, KICK, TWO, STEP THREE, KICK, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT -- ♪ ♪ IT'S CHRISTMASTIME AGAIN ♪ ♪ IN NYC ♪

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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