Four attractive young women were kicking around Wichita last week. And they've got a job that many dream of.
Mary Capellas, Christina Cichra, Kate Vallee and Jessica Osborne are Rockettes.
They were in Wichita promoting their Radio City Christmas Spectacular that will be in Wichita at Intrust Bank Arena in November.
Not only are they pretty and they can dance, but they are also so fun to talk with that it was difficult to keep the interview to an hour.
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Mary, originally from Warren, Ohio, who has been a Rockette since 1999, said she has several funny stories, but her favorite is the tuba story.
"We were doing the rag doll number, and we were wearing the cute little shoes with green bows. I'm kicking, my shoe flew off and went in the orchestra pit and into the tuba," she said. "It was like a three-point shot in basketball!"
All four have been dancing since they were 3 years old, and each decided they wanted to be Rockettes before the age of 10.
"I saw the show when I was 7 years old and I said, 'I will do that,' " Jessica said. She is from Scranton, Pa., but like the others, she now resides in New York City or nearby. She's been with the Rockettes since 2008.
Kate, from Rochester, N.Y., saw the Macy's parade when she was 5 or 6 years old and loved the tap dancing so much, she knew what path she wanted to take — straight to Radio City Music Hall.
The mention of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade where the Rockettes are featured every year brought big smiles. "It's wonderful! It's freezing cold, and you don't even care," Mary said.
It's also cold when they perform at the holiday tree lighting in Rockefeller Center in early December, but that doesn't bother them either. "It's packed just like Times Square on New Year's Eve, and everyone is in the holiday spirit," Christina said.
All four say they're proud to be Rockettes because of the fine tradition and reputation the troupe has.
"It's all about precision, beauty and glamour, fun and family traditions. People go to the show and years later, they bring their children," Mary said.
It's definitely generational. Rockettes carry on the family tradition, too. "There was one mom and two daughters who were all Rockettes," Kate said.
They describe the group as not just family but as a close-knit family, where competition doesn't enter the picture. "I have friends everywhere now who were Rockettes, and we keep up with each other," Mary said.
The group has an alumni association and an official historian.
The job gives each dancer an opportunity to travel and to make a whole troupe of friends, but there has to be at least a down side. They agreed that if they can't be with their families on Christmas Day, it's not easy. "That's when you go with your 'Rockette family,' " Christina said. She is from Texas but moved to New York from Alachuca, Fla. "You'll go with one of the girls to their family, but you won't be alone," she said.
Wooden soldiers in the Christmas Spectacular have been marching and tapping since 1933. But that doesn't mean once you learn it, you've got it forever. "The numbers are constantly changed, and one year you might be on the right side, then the next year on the left, so everything is reversed," Christina said.
Like so many little girls, I wanted to be a Rockette and did what I thought were high kicks all through school. I guess before we try to sign up to be a Rockette, we should take note of a few restrictions.
You have to be at least 18 years old.
Check. (There's no limit to how old you can be!)
You need to be between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10 1/2 tall.
You must be congenial and supportive of the other dancers in the Rockette Family.
You have to be able to dance really well, smile big and be pretty.
And the kick. It's got to be "eye high."
Okay, never mind.
The famous kick line is precision plus. These dancers explained that if everyone in the line kicks eye high, no matter how tall you are, it looks like everyone is kicking the same height because the tallest dancers are in the middle.
Well, all right, I may never be a Rockette, but I know the secret of the kick line, and now you do to.
The Rockettes will dance through 25 cities on the Christmas Spectacular Tour, and each says they're looking forward to it.
And after their visit to Wichita last week, we're looking forward to those eye-high kicks when they return.