Student Spotlight: Anya-Jae Brown

dancer on releve

Anya-Jae Browne

This week’s Student Spotlight features Anya-Jae Brown from the School at Steps

1.      Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?

I first became involved with dance when I was about 6 years old. I had seen the Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for the first time and I was absolutely mesmerized by how beautiful they were. After the show, I came out of the theater kicking my legs and swore that one day I would be up on that stage!

2.      What do you find you like best about dance class?

My favorite part about dance class is the environment. I am able to work with people who share the same passion for dance that I have. I also enjoy learning from other dancers in my classes. Having the opportunity to watch others dance allows me to learn from them and expand my personal style and skill set.

3.      What is the hardest part about dance for you?

The hardest part about dance for me is probably adjusting to corrections. I find this most difficult because I sometimes struggle to forget how to do something after I first learn it a specific way. Therefore, when my teacher gives me a correction, it can take a while before I apply it correctly and master it.

4.      What advice would you give to other dancers?

The advice I would give to other dancers is to never give up and always try your hardest. Nothing is impossible if you try.

5.      How has dance changed your life?

Dance has given me an outlet to better express my feelings. I have gained confidence in the studio, which allows me to perform better in school and better express myself with friends and family. Dance has also changed my life in the sense that it has given me more to do, so I am always busy.

The School at Steps is a training ground for students, ages 2-18, who are interested in exploring various dance styles, as well as for those students already focused on a particular discipline. The school offers an Academic Year and Summer Program, with classes in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, theater dance, hip hop, and Pilates. Students at the school are also given performance opportunities, and workshops on dance and career-related topics. Beginning with the Young Dancers Program and continuing through the most advanced pre-professional classes, The School at Steps provides children with an opportunity to explore the word of dance, to learn and experiment with technique, and to enrich their appreciation for the various forms of the art.


Rockettes Opener And Summer Intensive Auditions

MSG Photos/Avi Gerver Eileen Grace, Rockettes Director and Choreographer, rehearsing with students during the Rockettes Summer Intensive.

Rockettes Summer Intensive Auditions

If you aren’t already familiar with the Rockettes Summer Intensive, let me explain. It is a week-long program, running June 24 – August 3, 2012, hosted at Radio City Music Hall in the actual studios where the Rockettes rehearse for their starring roles in the annual production of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Dancers accepted into the program rehearse daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm, with group education seminars in the evenings.  This distinctive style transcends a multitude of dance disciplines including jazz, tap, musical theater, lyrical and of course the legendary Rockettes kick line.  The curriculum focuses on original choreography and formations from the Rockette repertoire that will culminate in a student showcase.  To be considered for the Rockettes Summer Intensive, dancers must be at least 14 years of age (by June 22, 2012) with a minimum of 5 years training in tap, jazz, and ballet.

Here’s the current audition schedule:

Durham, NC – November 13, 2011

Nashville, TN – December 4, 2011

Boston, MA – December 27, 2011

Chicago, IL – January 8, 2012

Orlando, FL – January 8, 2012

Austin, TX – January 14, 2012

Miami, FL – January 15, 2012

Pittsburgh, PA – January 15, 2012

Detroit, MI – January 22, 2012

Los Angeles, CA – January 22, 2012

Washington, D.C. – January 22, 2012

NYC – January 28 & January 29, 2012

For audition times and locations, as well as more information on the Rockettes Summer Intensive, please visit

Opening Night — The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

November 16th is opening night for The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, and to kick things off, they will be participating in a lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building at 11:00 a.m. that day. The lobby of the building is where this event will take place, and the holiday colored lights is just the beginning of what is t come this season!

America’s favorite holiday show is about to re-define the Christmas Spectacular featuring a new 3DLive video game adventure, new Rockette performances, new musical compositions and heartwarming songs, dazzling new costumes and state-of-the-art technology that will immerse audiences in the magic of Christmas like never before.

If you are interested in attending this fun show, you can learn more at their website.


Christmas In August With The Rockettes

If you are going to be in New York on Thursday, August 11th, take a break from the heat of summer and swing by Times Square to see the Rockettes “Christmas in August” performance.

At 11 am, you’ll be able to see the Rockettes as they unveil both new costumes–and new choreography. Join in the fun as they kick off the 2011 Christmas Spectacular season.

Can’t make this? Then why not enter the “I like Christmas” sweepstakes on Facebook and take a shot at winning $2,011 in Christmas cash and other prizes? All you have to do is “like” the Radio City Christmas Spectacular on this social networking site and you are entered. This begins on August 11th and runs until the end of the month.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, runs from November 11, 2011 through January 2, 2012. Prices range from $45 – $125. Tickets are available online at or at the Radio City Box Office (50th Street and Avenue of the Americas). Box Office hours are Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased by calling the Ticketmaster Christmas Hotline at 1-866-858-0007 or at any Ticketmaster outlets. Ticket prices include a $4.50 facility charge. Tickets purchased via Ticketmaster are subject to service charges. Please call 1-866-858-0007 for more information.


Interview With Lianna Hosein-Sarro

Today we have 5 questions with Lianna Hosein-Sarro, a high school junior who has the opportunity to participate in the Rockettes Summer Intensive program, as well as being featured on “The Rockette Summer Intensive” series, which continues tonight, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. on MSG Varsity.

Take a closer look at the experience through her eyes:

Lianna Hosein-Sarro

1. Can you tell readers a bit about your dance background?

I’ve been dancing for a total 13 years, and have been studying ballet since I was four. I started dancing at Martha Graham this year, and have been active with the School of American Ballet of the New York City Ballet Company for about six years. I’ve also been tap dancing with the Tap City Youth Foundation in the Tap City Youth Ensemble for about four years.

2. What brought you to audition for the Rockette Summer Intensive?

My mother brought me to the Rockettes Summer Intensive. As soon as she told me about the camp, I knew that it was what I wanted to be as a dancer. The precision and perfection of their dancing skills attracted me instantly. I went to the audition not expecting to get in because I was the youngest—and it was my first time trying out.  Luckily, I got in!

3. How do you feel about being able to participate in this?

I’m so excited to go back this year. I enjoyed my first time at the Rockettes Summer Intensive, but now that I know how the camp is run, I know what to expect. For me, this camp is like “the best thing since sliced bread.”

4. How have you been able to stay calm and focus on doing your best?

Most of the time, my nerves don’t get to me. It’s easy for me to stay calm because that’s my personality, but sometimes I get really shy and don’t let myself go full out.  However, at Rockette Camp, I feel like a different person. I’m more energetic and less nervous because I know that this could be my future.

5. What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself through this process?

I’ve learned to not be afraid of what other people think of me. I’m really self conscious, but when I dance, a new power comes over me and I feel important and like a star.  Rockette camp opened me up and improved my life as a dancer, a pro singer, and an actress. The Rockettes Summer Intensive is a dream come true.

Watch the second episode of “The Rockette Summer Intensive” three-part series which airs this evening, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. on MSG Varsity, channel 14 on Cablevision’s iO TV.


MSG Varsity’s “The Rockette Summer Intensive”

Radio City Music Hall

I thought this might be something fun for 4dancers readers to check out. I’ve always been a fan of the Rockettes, so taking a peek into their world is something I found especially fascinating. In the dance world, they hold a very unique place.

Plus, it’s always intriguing to experience the audition process…even as an observer.

The Rockette Summer Intensive”  is a three-part television series — part two will be airing on June 14th at 7:30 pm on MSG Varsity. This means that you can still tune in to get an insider look at the final stage of the audition process that these young high-school dancers go through for a coveted spot training with the world-famous Rockettes.

This is the first time ever that cameras have captured the behind-the-scenes moments as over 600 girls audition for a place in the Rockette Summer Intensive program. You will get to see exclusive footage and one-on-one interviews with the dancers as well as the creative visionaries behind the Rockettes, including Eileen Grace, Rockettes Director and Choreographer.

Since the program’s inception, 42 Summer Intensive alumni have become world-famous Rockettes. “The opportunity for young dancers to study with the iconic Radio City Rockettes is invaluable, and the second episode of the series captures the intensity and emotions of these young hopefuls as they strive to train with the legendary kick line,” said Michael Lardner, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, MSG Varsity.

MSG Varsity's Rockette Summer Intensive

What an audition that would have been to go on as a teenager! I think back to my high school days and believe that it would have intimidated me–but it would have been exciting as well. I’m sure these girls all bring their “A-Game” in terms of preparation, but I can bet there are some pretty big time nerves going on–both on the set and off.

I’m sure there will be a wide range of hopefuls there, and it should be interesting to see what the audition itself looks like–as well as who makes the cut. “Dancers that are accepted into the Rockette Summer Intensive all share a common thread in not only their love of dance, but also exude such passion and drive during this intense training program,” said Eileen Grace, Rockettes Director and Choreographer.

The episode will air on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. on MSG Varsity, channel 14 on Cablevision’s iO TV.

4dancers will feature an interview with one of the young ladies that is involved in the audition, so be sure and check back on the 14th to hear her thoughts on the process!




10 Questions With…Sarah Gold

Sarah Gold

Today on 10 Questions With we have Sarah Gold, who just had the experience of auditioning for the Rockettes…

1. How did you become involved with dance?

My parents have always said I came out of the womb dancing. As soon as I could walk I was dancing around the living room to whatever music was playing in the house. When I was four years old my mom enrolled me in dance classes, and the rest is history.

2. What were you doing prior to this audition?

I am about to graduate as a part of the class of 2011 from CK DanceWorks where I dance as a member of both the competitive team, DancElite, and the hip hop crew, Acworth Dance Crew.

3. What made you decide to audition for the Rockettes?

It has always been a big dream of mine to audition for the Radio City Rockettes ever since the very first time I saw them perform. When my dance instructor, Christina Wiginton, told me about the “Jump the Line” contest I was ecstatic and we began to prepare a video to send in. It’s a dream come true in itself to have the opportunity to audition.

4. What was the experience like?

It was such a great experience. Not only was it awesome to be able to skip the line and go straight into auditions, but it was just an overall incredible opportunity to be able to audition for the Radio City Rockettes in Radio City Music Hall along side all the other amazing dancers auditioning. Even though I didn’t make it through to the final cuts, I am so incredibly thankful to have had such a wonderful first audition experience and will, with out a doubt, be back to audition once again.

5. Can you tell readers a bit about how you were selected through the “Jump the Line” competition?

The “Jump the Line” competition was basically an opportunity for one dancer to be chosen, flown out to New York, and be a part of the first group this season to audition to be a Rockette. I put a video together of a few clips of my dance technique in ballet, tap, and jazz, and was chosen as one of the top four finalists by their panel of judges. My video was then published to the Rockette’s website where it was voted on by the public for their “Favorite Dancer.” After a few days of getting all my friends and family to vote, and multiple hours of awaiting the big phone call, I found out that I was the winner and would have the amazing opportunity of auditioning this season.

Sarah Gold (left) Photo by Amanda Schwab, Starpix

6. How do you think this audition has impacted your career?

It was my first real professional audition, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It taught me to be stay open minded, and remain confident in myself no matter what the outcome.

7. What is your “dance dream”?

My dance dream is to dance professionally as much and for as long as I possibly can. I would love to be a Rockette, as well as try out different outlets such as Broadway, cruise ships, commercial dancing, and whatever else may come my way. I am ready to follow my dream of doing what I love most in this world, dance.

8. Can you share a favorite piece of advice regarding dance?

I think one of the most important things to remember as a dancer is to always continue to push yourself to be stronger and better than you are. Never allow yourself to remain stagnant or focus on only one area of your dancing, but force yourself to become well rounded and trained in multiple genres and styles. You never know what you may need to do at any specific audition, and being trained in multiple styles will only make you stronger in all aspects of your dancing.

9. Do you have any advice for other women who want to audition for the Rockettes?

My main piece of advice would be to do your best and stay confident. There’s nothing better than walking out of an audition feeling that you gave your absolute best, no matter the results. Confidence is key to a great audition, and the judges really want to see you smile and give it all you got.

10. What is next for you?

My plan for Fall 2011 is to attend Oklahoma City University as a Dance Performance Major. I intend to get a BFA and pursue a career in dance, and maybe even one day have the opportunity to be hired as a Rockette!


The Radio City “Stage Door Tour”

Sometimes you get the inspiration to write a post from the most unexpected places. I was talking to someone who took the backstage tour at Radio City Music Hall and they really piqued my interest about the venue. I did a little investigating, and was impressed enough to share it with you here on 4dancers. I know if I ever get out that way, I’m going to check it out myself!

The more you look, the more you see.

As I was reading up on the facts about this particular venue, I could easily understsand why this tour is so fascinating. There are many layers to Radio City Music Hall that you might not ever notice if they weren’t pointed out to you. For example, if you look underfoot, the Grand Foyer has a carpet that features the abstract designs of six musical instruments. More examples of this theater’s hidden majesty include the gigantic Wurlitzer organ which has so many pipes that it takes 11 rooms to house all of them, and the four hydraulic elevators which can be utilized on the stage.

Other facets of the theater are so grand that you can’t help but stare in wonder. Look up and you will see 4,000 pound chandeliers floating in the air. The stage itself is enormous–measuring 66 1/2 feet deep and one full city block wide. In fact, this venue boasts one of the largest stages in the world even today.

Home to the world-famous “Rockettes,” this is the spot where the Radio City Christmas Spectacular takes place. (The holiday show draws over 1.2 million people in an 8-week time period each year.) Part of the Stage Door Tour includes meeting a Rockette in person–a fun touch that has been added to the mix.

This art-deco style theater has seen over 300 million visitors since its debut in December of 1932. It acutally closed its doors for a brief period in 1978 before being designated a landmark. In 1999 a massive restoration project began that took $70 million dollars and spanned 8 months.

This spectacular venue has been the setting for everything from “Disney on Ice” to several WNBA All-Star Games in 2004, and it continues to be an important piece of American history when it comes to the entertainment field. For more information about tickets and tours, take a look at the website.



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