The Rockettes have magical secrets up their sequent-covered sleeves. (Credit: Getty Images ) http://www.amny.com/secrets-of-new-york/secrets-of-the-rockettes-the-kickers-of-radio-city-music-hall-1.11131006 The Rockettes kick off the holiday season this week. https://cdn.newsday.com/polopoly_fs/1.11131379.1479825573!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/display_600/image.jpg culture Secrets of the Rockettes: The kickers of Radio City Music Hall 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 Website By Meghan Giannotta and amNY.com staff Updated November 8, 2017 11:00 AM 'Tis the season for the Rockettes. All eyes will be on the women of the legendary precision dance company this month when the iconic Radio City Christmas Spectacular kicks off its nearly two-month run at Radio City Music Hall Nov. 10. Each year, 80 women gear up for the show, and get ready to kick up their heels across 200 performances. Here, amNewYork reveals lesser-known facts about Sixth Avenue's leading ladies. Credit: MSG Entertainment The Rockettes aren’t from New York, nor were they originally called the Rockettes The Rockettes may be synonymous with New York City, but the iconic dance group was created in 1925 in St. Louis, as the Missouri Rockets. The group's founder, entrepreneur Russell Markert, who leads the Rockets above, pulled the dance group together after he was inspired by the John Tiller Girls in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922. But Gotham eventually came calling, and the group was brought to New York City. In 1932, they performed at Radio City Music Hall as the Rockettes. Credit: MSG Entertainment They do their own hair and makeup You may imagine a massive glam squad tending to the needs of the Rockettes, but these women are pretty self-sufficient. "We do our own hair and makeup," Christina Hedrick, a Rockette for the past 10 years (not pictured), told amNewYork. "We have it down to a science. We could probably do a French twist in a matter of three minutes on a good day. As long as you have lashes, lips and cheeks, you're good to go." Credit: MSG Entertainment The quickest wardrobe change is 78 seconds The quickest change occurs between the "Parade of the Wooden Soldier" and "New York at Christmas" numbers, when the Rockettes dance into a double-decker bus. "It's a pretty quick change," Hedrick said. "It's done right on the side [of the stage]." Credit: MSG Entertainment Mic check: The Rockettes’ shoes contain hidden microphones Tiny microphones in the Rockettes' shoes amplify the taps during two routines: "12 Days of Christmas" and "Rag Dolls," above. "There is a mic built in the bottom of the shoe," Hedrick said. "It's under the arch. In the rehearsals, we have to be really careful about sounds because you can hear everything." Sagan Rose, who has been a Rockette for the past nine years, said the microphones used to be attached to wires that ran up the dancers' legs. Today, they're wireless. Credit: Meghan Giannotta Dancers probably shouldn’t get a haircut for the holidays Every dance number, except for one, features a hat or headpiece that has been meticulously measured to fit each Rockette's head, Taylor Shimko, who has been a Rockette for seven years, said. "Every hat fits with the French twist in place, so it has to be particular or the hat won't fit," Shimko said, explaining that the dancers need to try to keep their twists uniform each time. "Typically, people don't cut their hair during season," she added, though, any length is allowed. Credit: Meghan Giannotta The Rockettes aren't only hiding microphones How do the Rockettes' hats light up during opening reindeer segment? Magic ... and battery packs hidden in the back of their jackets, Rose said. Credit: Getty Images Retired Rockettes help backstage Many Rockettes who took to the Radio City stage in the '80s now help out backstage as dressers, Shimko said. "It's such a sisterhood to be a part of the show," so it makes sense they stick around even after retirement, Rose said. Credit: MSG Entertainment Those snowflakes the Rockettes dance underneath? They're GPS-guided In 2013, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular introduced a new finale, "Snow," which features nine inflatable snowflakes 4 feet in diameter that rise from the stage pit and into the air above orchestra seats. The ultrathin plastic snowflakes, powered by tiny motors, are tracked via GPS technology so they don't bump into each other. Credit: Meghan Giannotta They have wardrobe changes down to a science Shimko described the backstage dressing rooms as "organized chaos." There is one dresser assigned to every three Rockettes, who helps the dancers slip out of one costume and into another. The dancers also lend each other a hand. "We're very self sufficient," Rose said. "We'll help unzip and unhook each other so when we arrive [at the dressing room] all we have to do is slip on the next one." The dressing order is also very specific. While one girl puts on her shoes first, another must be putting on her dress first, Rose added. Credit: MSG Entertainment Costumes can weigh as much as 40 pounds "The Santa suit is the heaviest -- it's 40 pounds," Hedrick said of the costume. "A lot of costumes have a lot of sequins and diamonds, and they may look like they don't weigh a lot, but they do!" Credit: MSG Entertainment Sit in the first mezzanine if you want to make eye contact with a Rockette "When we do our eye-high kicks we look at the first mezzanine, but there are moments in the show when the choreography [dictates that we] look at the third mezzanine," Hedrick said. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary Yes, there is a height requirement You have to be between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10 to make the cut. It may look like the dancers are all the same height, but they're not. They're arranged on stage in height order to create the illusion, Shimko said. Credit: MSG Entertainment Only two numbers remain from the original ‘Christmas Spectacular’ The Rockettes have been kicking up their heels to perennial favorites "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," above, and "The Living Nativity" since 1933. "Everyone waits for 'The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,' " Hedrick said. "Even for me, that's what made it real for me. I'm at the back of the line, and when I see us marching on, I'm like 'OK, I'm a Radio City Rockette.' It's like an epiphany." Credit: MSG Entertainment They don’t really hang onto each other during the kick line It may appear as if the Rockettes are clinging on one another, but they're not that much of a needy bunch. During the famous synced high kick, each dancer actually rests her hands on the costumes of the dancers on either side. "So, if you're tired that day," said Hedrick, laughing, "there's no hanging on!" Previous Secret Next Secret Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.