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Meet This Year's New Radio City Rockettes: Kathleen Laituri, Amarisa LeBar, & Kristen Welsh

December 14th, 2017 by

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Meet This Year's New Radio City Rockettes: Kathleen Laitu...

Each year, young women's life-long dreams come true as they join the iconic, world-renowned dance company The Radio City Rockettes and bring copious amounts of joy to families in The Christmas Spectacular. Below, BroadwayBox introduces three young ladies whose lives were changed this year when they became brand-new Rockettes. Get to know Kathleen Laituri, Amarisa LeBar, and Kristen Welsh as they talk about their Rockette dreams, the sisterhood of the troupe, and carrying on this New York legacy.

Kathleen Laituri


1. When did you first dream of becoming a Rockette?
The dream of becoming a Radio City Rockette actually came a bit later for me. I have always loved and admired the Rockettes, but never thought I was capable of dancing like them! Things changed when I moved to New York City in 2014 and began studying dance at Pace University. There, I was introduced to the Rockette precision style and the Rockettes Summer Intensive. It was after my first amazing summer at the intensive that becoming a Radio City Rockette became my dream!

2. What was the biggest challenge in the audition and how did you overcome it?
For me, the biggest challenge in the audition was the temptation to constantly compare myself to the other dancers in the room. I quickly realized that thought was working against me instead of empowering me to do my best. I overcame this challenge when I talked it through with a friend between rounds of the audition. She said, "Instead of being intimidated by the talent of others, allow it to inspire you to up your game every time you take the floor."

3. What’s been the most surprising part of the rehearsal process?
The most surprising part of the rehearsal process for me was moving from our rehearsal space onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall. I learned that there is not only a show happening on stage, but there is also another show's worth of choreography happening backstage! After every number, each Rockette has a specific pathway to take and a designated place to change costumes. This is very important for safety because as you make your way off stage, props are coming in and out and stage elevators are rising up and down. It's amazing how much work and precision needs to happen backstage for the show to run smoothly and we have an amazing crew that helps us make this happen every show!

4. What’s it like to be part of such an iconic New York legacy?
I feel honored and I also feel there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being a part of such an iconic New York legacy. As a Radio City Rockette, everything you do, both on stage and off, affects every woman down the line. It takes the strength and the cohesive focus of each person to succeed. I think about this a lot when dancing during “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” because every Rockette since 1933 has performed this number. It's quite a magical feeling to know you are helping to carry on this incredible legacy. 

5. What’s your favorite holiday film?
My favorite holiday film is White Christmas. My family and I have a tradition of watching it every year. We sing and dance along with it. It's a perfect family movie for the holidays!

 

Amarisa LeBar


1. When did you first dream of becoming a Rockette?
My family and I have been seeing the Christmas Spectacular as our holiday tradition every year for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, I always admired the Radio City Rockettes. Their precision, strength and teamwork inspired me. Through all the years of seeing the Christmas Spectacular, my love for the Rockettes grew bigger and bigger. Once I was a teenager and started thinking about my future as a dancer, I knew that becoming a Rockette was something that I wanted to achieve. Accomplishing that dream of mine, and now being an essential part of other families’ traditions, is truly an honor. I hope as a Rockette myself now, I can inspire other children the way the Rockettes inspired me.

2. What’s been the most surprising part of the rehearsal process?
For me, the most surprising part of the rehearsal process was how quickly we learned the choreography for the entire Christmas Spectacular. Within the first three days of rehearsal we had already learned an entire number- choreography, formations, details and all! Once we learned an entire routine, we would continue on to the next one. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we’re reviewing everything we already learned so we remain confident in the choreography and strong in all of the details.

3. Who was your first phone call when you got the spot?
My family (my Mom, Dad & sister) were surrounding me during the exciting phone call when I found out that I had become a Radio City Rockette. After celebrating for a few minutes on our own, I knew I had to tell my grandparents. My grandma was hoping that I would receive the call, so I had to tell her right away! She was ecstatic to hear the news that I would be joining the line. She immediately started crying tears of joy and I am so excited for her to see me perform as a Rockette in the Christmas Spectacular!

4. What’s been the best advice you’ve received from a fellow Rockette about your first season?
Walking into the first rehearsals, I was both excited and anxious. I knew this was going to be an incredible experience, but it’s hard to prepare for something you’ve never done before. The returning Rockettes were so supportive and kind to me and the other new Rockettes. A few minutes before I walked into my very first rehearsal, a returning Rockette said to me, “Just remember, you’re not alone.” Something so simple, yet so powerful, calmed my nerves and reminded me that all of these amazing women have my back. I’m so thankful for them and her advice really echoes the fact that the Rockettes are the epitome of teamwork and that we are even more amazing when we come together.

5. What excites you most about The Christmas Spectacular?
I’ve seen The Christmas Spectacular so many times, but this year I’ll actually be in it! Plus, the technology has been enhanced with incredible projections that span the entire ceiling and walls of the grand Radio City Music Hall. It is an amazing experience from any seat in the house; audiences will truly feel like they’re part of the show with the Rockettes! The magic really is endless at The Christmas Spectacular.

Kristen Welsh

Kristen Welsh Rockette

1. When did you first dream of becoming a Rockette?
My family has been coming to the Christmas Spectacular every year since I was three years old. As soon as the curtain rose the first time we came, I was hooked! I was completely mesmerized by the show and at the end of the performance, I turned to my mom and said, “Mommy, I have to be a Rockette.” From that moment on, I have never wanted to do anything else.

2. What’s been the most surprising part of the audition process?
The most surprising part of the audition was, regardless of how physically and mentally demanding it was, that we were still able to genuinely have fun! I would say the same for the rehearsal process as well. Absolutely nothing beats dancing with women who share such drive and love for what they do.

3. Who was your first phone call when you got the spot?
After I got the life-changing phone call offering me a spot on the line, the first person I called was my mom. She’s been dreaming of this moment just as much as I have and I was so excited to share the news with her.

4. What’s been the best advice you’ve received from a fellow Rockette about your first season?
The best first season advice I’ve received from a fellow Rockette is to stay calm, trust your knowledge and soak in every moment because we are so lucky to be living our dreams.

5. What’s it like to be part of such an iconic New York legacy?
I can never truly find the right words to describe what it is like to be a part of such an iconic New York legacy. It is an honor and a dream come true to carry on the hard work of the women that kicked before us. It’s so amazing to perform “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” every night since every Rockette before us has worn that costume and danced that exact choreography.

See Kathleen, Amarisa, & Kristen live in 'Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes' at Radio City through January 1.