By Annie Reuter
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s nearly impossible to picture a New York City Christmas without the Radio City Rockettes. Celebrities in their own right, the Rockettes are a holiday icon.
A dream career for many young dancers, Jacey Lambros is no exception.
“I think it’s every young dancer’s dream to dance on the great stage at Radio City Music Hall and to be a Rockette,” she said. “A friend who’s a few years older from a nearby town was a Rockette so everybody in my dancing school aspired to be just like her.”
Lambros said she often wondered what kept her friend auditioning year after year – for 10 years. Currently in her eighth season as a Rockette, now she knows.
“It’s the camaraderie, it’s dancing onstage. It’s the spirit of Christmas,” she said. “It doesn’t get tiresome. Being here and being part of the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, it keeps you coming back for more.”
Performing two to five shows a day, the life of a Rockette is arduous, something Lambros quickly learned.
“The most surprising thing is how grueling the show is because you’re dancing with a unit. You’re not onstage by yourself. You’re only as strong as your weakest link so, there is never a time where you can give any less than 100 percent,” she said. “I really never knew how athletic and how much conditioning, strength and training was needed to make the lineup exquisite.”
In order to become a Rockette, one must be proficient in tap, jazz and ballet. Anybody can audition as long as you’re 18 years of age so this makes competition fierce. Additionally, each Rockette has to audition every year, something Lambros works hard at.
“You have to stay consistent throughout the year [and] you have to keep your training up,” she said. “I incorporate a lot of cardio throughout the year and retraining just to stay in top shape. In addition, I stay in dance class and stay focused on my technique. Knowing the competition is great, you have to be in your peak performance shape all the time.”
Originally from Upstate New York, Lambros now lives in Jersey City but recalled her first season as a Rockette.
“It’s amazing [because] my family and friends have the chance to come and see me,” she said. “I remember my first year; it was bus trip after bus trip of friends, family and acquaintances from my hometown that would come down to see the show.”
Each day, Lambros performs for thousands of people and loves every minute of it. While she’s consciously thinking about the choreography onstage, she is also aware of everyone watching.
“It never gets old, glancing out at the audience,” she said. “Looking out and seeing 6,000 seats full of excited kids and families, it’s exciting to be able to perform!”
Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and the founder of YouSingIWrite.com.