Rockettes No Longer “Obligated” to Perform at Trump’s Inauguration
You can expect to see some synchronized high kicks in Washington D.C. come January 20. The Radio City Rockettes are
forced scheduled to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, despite one dancer voicing concerns about being “involved in a dangerous political climate.”
An administrator for the American Guild of Variety Artists wrote in an email to the Rockettes:
We have received an email from a Rockette expressing concern about getting ‘involved in a dangerous political climate’ but I must remind you that you are all employees, and as a company, Mr. Dolan obviously wants the Rockettes to be represented at our country’s Presidential inauguration, as they were in 2001 & 2005. Any talk of boycotting this event is invalid, I’m afraid.
Originally, the union representing the precision dancing troupe told full-time dancers that they were “obligated” to perform at the inauguration, according to the email obtained from Broadway World. Part-time dancers had the option.
The initial email read:
This has nothing to do with anyone’s political leanings (including AGVA’s), it has to do with your best performance for your employer, period. I will reiterate that if Hillary Clinton was the President-elect, nothing would be different, and there would probably be those who would not want to be involved because of her. It is a job, and all of you should consider it an honor, no matter who is being sworn in. The election is over and this country will not survive if it remains divided.
Everyone is entitled to her own political beliefs, but there is no room for this in the workplace.
However, it appears that the Madison Square Garden Company, which produces the Rockettes’ shows, clarified in a statement released late this morning that “it is always their choice” whether or not to perform, including the inaugural.
— Jackie Strause (@jackiedstrause) December 23, 2016
The change of heart was likely motivated by online outrage encouraging dancers to boycott the performance, as well as the outspokenness of some dancers on social media.
Rockette Phoebe Pearl expressed her contempt for the incoming president in a now-deleted Instagram post of herself performing underneath a hand-drawn speech bubble that read: “Not my president.”
The photo was captioned:
I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed. The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts #notmypresident
Ani Maeme also tweeted out a scathing open letter from an unknown former Rockette, that contained contact information for the show’s producers.
— Animaeme (@animaeme) December 23, 2016
The former Rockette wrote:
The Rockettes are not just leggy, happy showgirls. They are dedicated, highly-trained, ridiculously hardworking WOMEN. I love what they stand for. And for them to be paraded in front of a man who has demonstrated a complete lack of respect for women (and has been accused of even worse), flies in the face of everything the women of The Rockettes actually are.
President-elect Trump hasn’t had the easiest time securing A-list performers for his impending inauguration. According to Vulture, Elton John, Céline Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Kiss, and others have all turned down invitations to sing. Aside from the Rockettes, confirmed performers include the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho, who was the runner-up on 2010’s “America’s Got Talent” competition.
Sounds like this is shaping up to be one snooze-worthy show.