Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- Becoming a Radio City Rockette was the fulfillment of a childhood dream for Kerry Margolin, a Londonderry native who is touring with the Boston troupe of the worldfamous precision dancers, her third Christmas season as a Rockette.
“I always knew this is what I wanted to do, from the time I was 6 and I saw the Rockettes in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Margolin.
She started out a reluctant dancer at age 4, said Margolin’s mom, Linda Margolin, who encouraged her daughter to find her inner dancer. After a brief hiatus, she enrolled her at Melissa Hoffman Dance Center, where she found her footing.
“I think becoming a Rockette, for Kerry, was a marriage of destiny and circumstance. You can’t be a Rockette unless you’re tall, and she’s 5-foot-9,” said Linda Margolin.
Her daughter danced competitively throughout high school, earning the Dance Masters Miss Dance New England title in 2003.
“That’s when I think she began to think about the possibilities for her future,” said her mom.
Finding her calling
In 2006, Margolin caught the Rockettes’ Christmas show in Boston, and her childhood dream of being a Rockette manifested.
She applied for the Rockettes’ summer internship program and earned a scholarship to train like a Rockette, solidifying her feeling that this was her calling.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular will be landing at the Wang Theater in Boston for a three-week run starting Dec. 3. Being part of the show connects Margolin to a proud lineage of professional dancers that started in the United States in 1925, said Margolin.
“It’s not unusual for a former Rockette to come up to you following a show and tell you their own experience with the troupe,” said Margolin. “It’s like a sisterhood, and part of what’s so rewarding about the job.”
In 1994 the popular New York version of the Christmas Spectacular was expanded to include traveling troupes that perform simultaneously around the country. In her two previous seasons, Margolin performed in Buffalo, N.Y., and Seattle, Wash. It is a treat to be close to home this Christmas, performing with the Providence/Boston troupe, she said.
Margolin graduated from Londonderry High School in 2004, and went on to the University of Arizona, where she earned a degree in dance with a minor in psychology.
She auditioned for the Rockettes in the fall of 2008 and landed a spot in the coveted troupe, which features 55 singers and dancers — including the 18-member dance line.
Margolin has also taught dance in New Hampshire, Arizona and to aspiring young dancers in Namibia, Africa, as part of an HIV/ AIDS awareness project.
A little understanding
Understanding what makes the Rockettes such a phenomenon requires a lesson in dance troupe history. The concept of chorus line dancing began in earnest in late 19th-century England, where the idea of bringing together dancers of similar height to perform steps in straight lines that extended into geometric configurations was born.
Entrepreneur John Tiller introduced his troupe to a Paris audience where the trademark high “pony kicks” associated with chorus lines debuted.
Around the turn of the century, Tiller’s dancers came to the United States and were recruited for the Ziegfeld Follies. In 1925, a 16-member dance line debuted at the Roxy in New York City as the Roxyettes.
By 1932, the Roxyettes performed for opening night of the new Radio City Music Hall, and the following year staged a Christmas Spectacular. Two particular routines from the original 1933 show, the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” and “The Living Nativity,” have endured to this day and are still part of the annual show, Margolin said.
Her heart’s still here
Although she recently relocated to Arizona fulltime, her heart remains in New Hampshire, said Margolin.
“The first time I stepped on the stage as a Rockette, it took my breath away.
It’s everything you think it will be, but there’s really no way to describe the exhilaration of it, or the rush you get the first time you look out at the audience and see the pure joy on their faces,” said Margolin. “I will never forget my first time on stage, during the final kick line, and snow started falling down around us. It was like being in a snow globe.”
Tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are on sale to the public at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theater box office, online at www.citicenter.
org or by calling 866-348-9738. Groups of 10 or more may reserve tickets now by contacting Citi Performing Arts Center Group Sales at 617-532-1116 or at groupsales@ citicenter.org