When it comes to precision dancing, the Radio City Rockettes are the gold standard. But it’s nothing but disarray now that the troupe is set to perform for Donald Trump.
Some members of the 91-year-old group are refusing to perform at the inaugural. Fear and loathing are involved.
“This is a women’s rights issue,” said Mary, a Rockette using an assumed name in a Marie Claire interview “This is an issue of racism and sexism, something that’s much bigger than politics … It’s a basic human-rights issue. We have immigrants in the show. I feel like dancing for Trump would be disrespecting the men and women who work with us, the people we care about.”
Marie said the majority of the dancers said no immediately.
“Then there’s the percentage that said yes, for whatever reason — whether it’s because they’re young and uninformed, or because they want the money, or because they think it’s an opportunity to move up in the company when other people turn it down.”
Jobs are at stake, though.
“Every Rockette has the right to turn down the event — something that wasn’t clear at first when an email from the Rockettes’ union, the American Guild of Variety Artists, leaked,” said People magazine. “It implied that the women didn’t have a choice to participate.
“As Mary clarified, that email only applied to the 13 full-time, year-round Rockettes whose contracts require them be present for all gigs.”
People said parent Madison Square Garden Co. has since made an exception to that contract for any Rockette uncomfortable with the gig.
“In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available,” they said in a statement. “We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations.”
Both sides of the dance-political divide are having a field day with the situation.