Rockette: 'We're athletes wearing heels.' 'And rhinestones.'

The Radio City Rockettes will star in the 'Radio City Christmas Spectacular' as the holiday production makes its Southwest Florida premiere at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall November 11-28 for 38 performances. Courtesy Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

The Radio City Rockettes will star in the "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" as the holiday production makes its Southwest Florida premiere at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall November 11-28 for 38 performances. Courtesy Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

Radio City Rockettes demonstrate moves

Radio City Rockettes will star in the ...

What: Ticket sales for "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular"

When: 7:30 a.m. Friday, May 14

Where: Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, 13350 Edison Parkway, Fort Myers

Cost: $39-$125

Information: Call 481-4849 or go to bbmannpah.com

Something Else: The first 100 people in line by 7:30 a.m. get a special Christmas photo taken with the Rockettes.

— When the famed Radio City Rockettes kick into town on Nov. 11 for 38 performances of "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular" at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, two Florida girls - Brittany Lents and Ashley Dezeeuw - will be there with them.

And despite the glamor - 144 costumes, 200 pairs of shoes and 300 eye-high kicks per performance, don't mistake these girls for anything but trained professionals.

"We're athletes wearing heels," cracked Orlando native Dezeeuw, who's been a Rockette since 2005. "And rhinestones," added Lents.

"The Radio City Christmas Spectacular" is a 90-minute high-energy, high-kicking dance revue that draws more than a million people a year to Radio City Music Hall during the holiday season.

"It's one of a kind. There's nothing else like it," said Orlando native Dezeeuw. "It sticks true to tradition. We still do two numbers that have been there since 1933."

Famed dance numbers featured in "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular" include “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity,” both of which have been performed in the show since it debuted in 1933.

"(Wooden Soldiers) has been around as staple since 1933. We're actual soldiers - starched pants, our lines are very clean," Lents said. "It just really shows the precision of the Rockettes in that number."

Beyond traditional favorites, the stage will come alive with newer scenes including sizzling Rockette tap number “The 12 Days of Christmas” and high-kicking “Christmas in New York.”

"Christmas in New York is like a little scene from New York," Dezeeuw smiles. "The lyrics and the song gives you that feeling of being in New York for Christmas - which is the best place to be on Earth for Christmas."

On-stage, the show is a high-intensity dance that moves with intricate precision. Offstage, Rockettes train up to seven hours a day, six days a week to prepare for the grueling schedule. The same 18 performers will be on stage up to four times a day in Fort Myers. At 90 minutes per performance, that's six hours of kicks and an estimated 600-800 calories burned per show.

Lents said the hardest part of the schedule is just getting through it physically, but credits her fellow performers and support team for their efforts.

"We're surrounded by all these women that are going through the same thing, so you really use each other to get through it," Dezeeuw said. "We feel so blessed to have the job. When we see people clapping and smiling, it keeps you going throughout the day."

Tickets for "The Radio City Christmas Spectacular" go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday at the Barbara B. Mann box office. Ticket sales are in-person only for two hours. Phone and web sales start at 10 a.m.

Members of the Rockettes will be at the box office at 7:30 a.m. Performers will speak with ticket buyers, pose for Christmas photos with the first 100 people in line and join with the public to create Fort Myers' longest kickline.

Prices range from $39 to $125. For groups of twenty or more, call Lois Soscia at 239-489-3033, x3122. Season tickets to the Barbara B. Mann's Broadway series range from $136 to $398. For more information or for tickets, call (239-481-4849 or online at www.bbmannpah.com.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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