Hannah Welsh, a spirited second-year Radio City Rockette hailing from Georgia, embodies a lifelong dedication to dance that culminated in her dream role with the world-renowned Rockettes. From her early years, dancing was an inherent part of Hannah’s life, spurred by a passion that began at the tender age of 3.
Arriving in New York City to witness the Christmas Spectacular at a later stage in life, Hannah looked up at the stage and saw 84 women kicking to eye height, and she felt a sense of joy. That was the moment everything changed for her; it sparked a deep desire within her to become a Rockette.
“I’m going to be on that stage one day,” she recalls telling her mother and grandmother after the show. Now, Hannah fulfills that dream, dancing on that very stage every day.
Becoming a Rockette wasn’t just a career aspiration for Hannah, it was a lifelong ambition.
“I’ve trained my entire life for this,” she said, having sacrificed school dances and events to pursue her dream. “I don’t have words to describe how much this means to me.”
The audition process is intense with thousands competing for a coveted spot among the select few.
“We had over 1,000 auditions this year,” she said, expressing gratitude for being among the chosen women two years ago.
The path to performing demands dedicated training: “We train six hours a day, six days a week for six weeks before the Christmas Spectacular,” she said. “It takes teamwork and relentless practice.”
Their performances demand athletic precision and camaraderie.
“It’s very athletic. We come in for a show and warm up, then after the show, we cool down,” she said. Each of these remarkable women embodies athleticism, and their commitment to nurturing their bodies is paramount.
She says that connecting with the audience is pivotal: “Their energy and joy inspire us. We’re a sisterhood, and witnessing 6,000 people smiling makes every effort worthwhile.”
For Hannah, a standout moment was her inaugural performance at Radio City for the Christmas Spectacular. It was then, in her costume, that she realized all her hard work and sacrifices had finally paid off. She was a Rockette.
The Rockettes’ iconic costumes, like the Parade of Wooden Soldiers and the Dance of Frost Fairies, hold a special place for Hannah. The Parade of Wooden Soldiers holds an extraordinary significance within the show. A tradition dating back to 1933, every Rockette, without exception, has performed this iconic number.
“These dances represent a legacy and transform the stage into a magical wonderland for the audience,” Hannah said.
The allure of the Radio City Rockettes is amplified by their meticulous makeup routine. In their dressing room shared among eight Rockettes, Hannah arrives two hours before the show to get her hair done in their signature French twist, complemented by a striking red lip, natural lashes and subtle neutral eye shadow.
“That’s when we know we’re ready for a sleigh ride!” she said.
For aspiring dancers looking to follow in her footsteps, Hannah advises you to be proficient in ballet, tap and jazz. But most importantly, she says to have passion.
“Put in the hard work, be kind while you’re doing it, and you’ll go very far,” she said.
For Hannah Welsh, being a Rockette isn’t merely a career; it’s the culmination of a lifelong dream, a testament to her dedication, and the chance to be a part of the legacy of dance.