For the past five years, Lauren Renck has danced to holiday tunes with her fellow Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. This summer, though, she and her team will be kicking to a more patriotic tune.
The Rockettes have teamed up with the USO to entertain military members and their families. For the New Hope, Pennsylvania, native, who worked for years to join the Rockettes, this high-stepping tour of duty is personal: her fiance is an Army captain.
“I feel so fortunate, as my two worlds are colliding,” she said.
The Rockettes and the USO have a long history together. In the ’40s, the New York troupe traveled across the country to support World War II rallies, including a bond rally with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt at Madison Square Garden. They even performed for soldiers stationed abroad.
This year the Rockettes renewed their partnership with the USO, kicking off their national tour with a Fleet Week show last month. Their next stop will be Washington, D.C.
Renck said the choreography team worked hard to bring the show up to modern dance aesthetic by incorporating various ballet, jazz and tap moves.
“From a choreography perspective, the teamwork is there. The choreography is more focused on the athleticism,” she said.
That attention to detail was also applied to the dancers’ costumes. From stars-and-stripes-themed dresses to modified sailor suits, Renck said she and her fellow Rockettes truly get into the patriotic spirit during their performances.
Renck’s military connection has helped her to better understand the show’s audience, and how a show like this can make a difference.
“I know for my fiance … it was reassuring to him to know they and their families had some semblance of home,” she said.
The one thing that makes the performance stand out from other USO shows is the Rockettes’s New York attitude, according to Renck.
“I think the Rockettes are the epitome of team work, because the spirit of New York translates to anything we do. That speaks well to a group of service members,” she said.