The holidays are a time for giving, making cookies, decorating the house, visiting Santa, and many dance traditions. The Nutcracker and the Radio City Rockettes are holiday traditions that many look forward to every year. We are lucky enough to have FDF alumni that dance (have danced) in both shows! We've constructed a few interviews with Andrea Miller (class of 2012) and Kristin Altfather (class of 1991) to tell us what it's like to dance in their respective shows.
Andrea Miller - The Nutcracker
You perform in the Nutcracker every year, who is that through?
MC Classical Productions and Ballet Prestige
How many years have you been doing it?
8 years at MC Classical Production and 1 year at Ballet Prestige
What is your part(s) this year?
Snowflake, Chinese, and Sugarplum Fairy
What has been your favorite part you have played?
What do you love about being able to perform in the Nutcracker every year?
I love being in the Nutcracker every year because you get to play the different roles and characters from year to year. You also put on a fun show that reaches out to all ages. It gives you a chance to dance to your fullest potential while still acting out a character and playing a part in a play to tell the story... and you can never go wrong with the beautiful music by Tchaikovsky!
Kristin Altfather - The Rockettes
When did you know that you wanted to be a Rockette?
It wasn't until I auditioned for the company that I knew I wanted to be a Rockette. I was actually doing a show in Las Vegas called EFX and a friend of mine told me about an audition I had to go to. She was reluctant to tell me what it was for but said "it's tomorrow so you have to fly out in the morning to LA but don't worry if the ticket is really expensive because you're going to book the job." When she finally told me it was for the Rockettes my response... "what do they do, just kick?" She laughed and talked me into it anyway. I flew out the next morning, changed in the airport restroom and hopped a cab to Debbie Reynolds Studio. It was the hardest audition I'd ever been to and I fell in love with everything about it that I had to have this job. Luckily for me I got it on my first try and the rest is history.
How many years did you perform as a Rockette?
I performed on the line for almost 18 years and I've been with the company for a little over 19 years.
What other job duties did you have with the Rockettes?
I have been fortunate enough to have a long and well-versed career with the Rockettes. I was a Choreographer and Assistant Choreographer for 11+ years for the Christmas Spectacular and other Rockette events including Rockefeller Tree Lighting, CMT Country Music Countdown, Veterans Day Parade in NYC, and the Today Show... to name a few. I was also a Rockette Swing in which I would often need to know 9 different Rockette tracks and be able to perform their entire show or event with sometimes just a moments notice, due to illness or injury. This past summer after teaching the RSI (Rockette Summer Intensive) program as a Rockette for over a decade, I was promoted to the Assistant Choreographer for the program. I've also done numerous media tours to promote the Rocketttes as a Spokesperson and more recently I am a MSG Representative for the Rockettes in which I go on a cruise ship out of NYC once a month with 2 Rockettes supervising and facilitating our events planned for that week.
There must be limited amount of people who are given these extra job titles?
Yes, I am very grateful for the career I have had and continue to have with this amazing company and group of women.
Miss Lauri did mention that you were one of those dancers who was able to keep up with great grades, varsity cheerleader 9-12th grade and danced over 4 days a week... how did all of this help you with your several job duties as a Rockette?
I think I learned early on that if I wanted to do it all then I needed to be very disciplined in order to fit it all in. With discipline came work ethic and the desire to be the best I could be. In every job I've ever done as a dancer I have tried to absorb as much as possible. These are some of the qualities that allowed me to progress with the company. While I was just on the line my first few years, I paid close attention to how things were being taught, what else was going on besides my part in the show and I built strong relationships with everyone involved. I knew that a show of this magnitude could simply not go on without all of the people involved. Everyone was critical to its success and equally important.
What was your absolute favorite part about being a Rockette/being involved with the Rockettes?
That's a tough one. There are so many aspects I love. I loved being apart of this amazing legacy and tradition, I love all of the amazing adventures I've had with the Rockettes, I love working with smart talented women, I love friendships that I've made, I loved seeing little girls dance in the aisle while I'm up on one of the greatest stages in the world doing what I love for a living.
Thank you so much to Kristin and Andrea for taking the time to answer these questions for us. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!