The 2011 Rockettes Refresh…

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a holiday tradition in New York City, has got a new look to it. Well-known for featuring the Rockettes and their famous kick line, this year the director and choreographer Linda Haberman pulled off some technical and storytelling magic to bring the show into the 21st century. Some traditionalists may quarrel with the changes. From the sound of it, Haberman is doing for the Spectacular what Cirque du Soleil did for the circus. New look. New attitude. And what appears to be a fun new immersive experience for the audience.

The New York Times write-up about the show described some of the changes:

In “Rockettes to the Rescue” Ms. Haberman has choreographed a video game in which the Rockettes help a mother and daughter battle their way through four levels of obstacles, leading to the archvillain: the Humbug King. The work incorporates 3-D technology, paving the way for live performance and animation to interact and create the sensation, Ms. Haberman hopes, of total immersion for the audience.

In breaking away from the quintessential kick line, “Rockettes to the Rescue” also takes precision dancing to new levels; arabesques in particular mark a shift from the usual passé poses. “After a while there are only so many formations and so many ways to do kicks,” Ms. Haberman said. “It just becomes tiresome.”

In the video that accompanied the story, Haberman mentioned the use of digital mapping to create a magical experience. She said she wanted to take the audience on a journey and experience/feel something they’ve never felt before.

3D in the Mix:

The Times article mentioned how the idea to combine 3-D with live performance emanated from Ms. Haberman who, along with her creative team, conducted tests to learn whether the choreography would read through 3-D glasses.

“Everyone, I think, thought I was a little touched,” she said pressing her index finger to her head. “They still do, some of them.”

This year’s show sounds really cool.

Here are some videos from a preview event that took place over the summer.


To learn more about the Christmas Spectacular, go here .

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