Behind the Rockettes, a Tough Choreographer

This Oct. 18, 2012, file image released by Starpix shows Rockettes director and choreographer Linda Haberman, foreground, with Rockettes dancers during rehearsals for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York.
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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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