When I Grow Up: Dancing the Night (and Day) Away

Radio City Rockette Tina Moya tells us how it feels to be part of this spectacular tradition.
Feb 06, 2013

Why my job is awesome: I'm doing what I love to do — dance! When I go to work, I arrive at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and perform for 6,000 people who leave the theater feeling inspired, excited, and overjoyed.

 

An average day: I begin with a healthy breakfast, then head to the Music Hall where I do a full body warm-up, put my hair up in a tight French twist (with plenty of hair products to keep it neat during quick headpiece and hat changes), and then put on my costume and stage makeup, including red lipstick and false eyelashes. When the stage manager calls, "Places!" over the PA system, I make my way to the stage. I hear the overture begin and a few "good luck" whispers from fellow Rockettes, and the curtain rises.  Ninety minutes later the curtain comes down on the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and I can hear the audience vigorously applauding. Between shows, I rest up and stretch again. When I finally leave for home, I'm physically tired, but I feel great knowing I accomplished something challenging and, in the process, touched people's lives in a positive way.

 

What I love about my job: I love the sisterhood that develops among the Rockettes. We all rely on each other for our success and share in the honor and joy together. We are the epitome of teamwork, and I love being part of something bigger than myself. 

 

When I was a kid, I wanted to be: I thought I wanted to be a dancer when I grew up, but I didn't know whether that would be in a ballet company, on Broadway in a musical, or as a Rockette.

 

What sparked my interest in this job: I saw the Rockettes for the first time on television in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Seeing 36 glamorous women dance in perfect unison was the highlight of the parade for me.


How I became one of those glamorous women: I took ballet, jazz, and tap dance classes as a child, and throughout junior high and high school I studied ballet at a conservatory. I continued my training in college, and I also studied on fellowship at the Alvin Ailey School in NYC. In 2001, I auditioned for the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. The audition tested my skills in jazz, tap, precision, showmanship, and kicks. The process of elimination spanned many days, and I didn't know that I had the job until months later.

 

What I would change about my job if I could: I look forward to a day when the Radio City Rockettes have a full-length production that runs all year long. Right now, audiences have to catch us performing around the holidays or during special event appearances only.

 

Rockette fun facts:

  • When we get in position to do our famous line of eye-high kicks, we just barely touch the fabric on the costume of the woman next to us.  We don't actually touch her back or connect our arms — it just looks like we do!
  • In one performance, I change my costumes, shoes, hats, headpieces, gloves, and earrings eight times and execute about 300 eye-high kicks!
Raising Kids