When December arrives it normally brings joy to so many of us with the spirit of Thanksgiving lingering in our hearts. Hanukkah and Christmas are only days away, twinkling lights are being hung, presents are being wrapped, and Santa is getting ready to jump down the chimney. This December, however, is quite different from any other December I can remember. Through the grace of God, I’ve had an extremely good life and despite enduring lupus and other health challenges, I haven’t had to live through an international pandemic (like COVID-19) in the past. This year I am and we all are living through something altogether different. COVID-19 has put a hold on all our holiday traditions and has made me truly value what perhaps I hadn’t as much in the past. Family, friends, church, work, theater, dining, vacations… so much has changed this holiday season.
One tradition that I hold dear to my heart is the annual December trip to New York City to see
the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, the windows at Sax Fifth Avenue, taking a sleigh ride through Central Park, shopping at FAO Schwarz, AND watching Santa arrive at Radio City Music Hall ushered in by the outstanding Radio City Rockettes. Seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been a holiday tradition of mine for years now. I’ve taken many family and friends to experience the wonder of this show and I’m pretty sure I know each one of the Rockettes throughout the years by sight. Thinking back, I’m kicking myself (an eye-high kick, of course!) for not auditioning for a spot in that kick line. If they had a “senior” Rockette group, I’d be amongst the first in line to audition. Back when I was in my 20’s however, I was busy fulfilling other dreams that God had in store for me like becoming a NFL Cheerleader and having a family of my own, but my goodness what I wouldn’t do to have at least attempted to audition for one of those coveted spots.
Have you seen the Christmas Spectacular? No matter how old you are it’s always a thrill. It’s 90-minutes of exhilarating toe-tapping festive singing and dancing that never fails to put a smile on your face. Here’s a brief little trip down memory lane of the Rockettes; such an iconic precision dance team that first started back in…
• …1925 in St. Louis.
• The Rockettes didn’t call NYC their home until 1932.
• In the 1940’s, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were the first entertainers to volunteer for the USO.
• They performed for the first time in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC in 1957.
• The 1960’s brought on a time of social and political change, but the group danced on.
• In the 1970’s, the Rockettes performed with Ann Margaret on TV.
• In the 1980’s, they made a commercial for L’Eggs pantyhose, singing and dancing in praise of a “great pair of L’Eggs.” (Do you remember this? I do!)
• The taps on their custom dance shoes were changed in the 1990’s to have a special cavity within the heel for a sound transmitter, so what the audience was hearing was the actual rhythmic tapping of 72 feet all at the same time.
• The 2000’s marked the 75th Anniversary of the Rockettes, with around 2,500 women having shared in the legacy by performing as a Radio City Rockette.
• The 2010’s saw the awakening of a new show, this one in the Spring, starring Derek Hough dancing alongside the Rockettes.
…this brings us to the here and now, the start of the 2020 decade, where the lights of Radio City are dim and the entire establishment has been closed for months due to COVID-19. I can only hope that by this time next year we will have developed either herd immunity or a successful vaccine, so that this annual holiday tradition can continue to live on.
Whatever YOUR situation is this holiday season, I hope it finds you safe and well and continuing to dance in the rain despite the storm. My wish for you is to be happy and to feel loved and to know that you’re being thought of no matter where you are or what your situation is. One thing I feel in my heart is that God doesn’t lead us down a path we can’t weather, so together we will weather whatever lies ahead in our future. May you have a very happy holiday season and always remember to Keep the Faith and Let December Shine!
Mrs. East Coast International 2021