"As a choreographer, you're always playing with formations, especially with the Rockettes. Thirty-six is a great number because you can divide it by two, you can divide it by three," she says. "Different choreographers like different numbers. I love 36. It becomes a math project."
The Rockettes, some 500 applied last spring, come from different backgrounds — some are Broadway dancers, some are Pilates instructors — but they must stand between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-10 1/2. That's simply due to Haberman's attempt to arrange her dancers to make a "pleasing effect."
Over the years, Haberman has helped hone the increasing strength and physicality of the Rockettes. The requirement to tap dance is the one that makes most stumble, but they often return the next year having nailed tap.
"I look at the line now compared with when I started in the '90s and they've just changed. These women train like crazy, they are all so strong and so tough and such good dancers — it's great," she says. "Now I can choreograph anything. I'm not limited."
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